As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Ferris was a wise kid—so wise, in fact, that his thoughts on life can be applied to a business’s web presence too. Businesses need to stop and look around every once in a while to make sure they’re not using old strategies that are leaving them behind in the digital dust.
2017 is upon us. The new year is a time for resolutions, and rethinking your web strategy is often a big piece of that. You know your website needs to be responsive and that you need to be thinking about your SEO and your social media strategy. Maybe you’re even thinking about revamping your business blog, utilizing Google AMP, embarking upon a live-video content marketing campaign, or focusing more on mcommerce.
We asked a number of our favorite web experts what they thought businesses should be thinking about in 2017. Here’s what they had to say.
What are essential website strategies for businesses in 2017?
“Your website needs to provide an excellent user experience (UX) so it can stand out from the crowd and build a lasting connection with your audience. Much like your favorite mom-and-pop local business, it should be easy to navigate, understand its customers, be informative and clearly knowledgeable, and not too pushy. Visitors should be able to easily find the products or services they want, but a website should be more focused on being a resource than forcibly closing the sale.
And don’t overlook security. There’s no worse experience than visiting a website that is down or, even worse, infested with malware that makes it look like you don’t take the time to properly maintain your own reputation.”
-Frank Petroski, Web Strategist, Midlothian Web Solutions
“My number one advice is to leverage your content. So, we write two 500-700 word PropellerHeads articles bi-weekly and send them to our print publication partners. About two weeks later, we send them out as an electronic newsletter. Then, we post it on our website. About two weeks later, we turn it into a LinkedIn post and cross post to Twitter and Facebook. We encourage our staff to “like,” “share,” and “comment” to increase reach.
Don’t neglect your website. Treat it like a garden. Water a bit every other day instead of flooding it periodically. While SEM may not be a good investment for all, SEO is. Concentrate on SEO via relevant, rich search keyword content. It may be a tweak to a page, a press release, improved menu and page titles (H1’s…), or adding image alt-tags. Every little bit helps.”
-Mark Creery, President, Data Directions
“I suggest companies take a look at their customer retention approach in 2017. Specifically on the digital side, how they interact with their customers, what if/any information they are sending them on a periodic basis and identifying opportunities to obtain additional revenue from existing customers through more services and/or product offerings. Staying top of mind with existing customers should be a key strategy for companies to increase retention rates and revenue enhancement opportunities.”
-Howard Deskin, Director of Strategic Accounts, Web Strategies
“An essential web strategy in 2017—know your customer. Regardless of your industry, the better you are at anticipating your customer’s needs, the greater the likelihood your business will be successful.
In the coming year, I expect we will see a continued evolution of digital analytics tools that help companies identify customer behavior that is predictive of purchase behavior. Heat mapping tools, predictive analytics tools like Mixpanel, testing suites like Optimizely or Unbounce, and analytics platforms like Tableau or PowerBI will continue to proliferate beyond large enterprise-level companies. The businesses that learn how to leverage the greater insights to connect with their customers will be the ones that win.”
-Shade Wilson, Director of Digital Strategy, Elevation
“The best strategy is consistency and focus. An essential web strategy in 2017 needs to be directly aligned with your other marketing efforts. Too often a company’s web strategy doesn’t have the same brand and voice as other marketing channels. Focusing on the end need of the customer and utilizing digital channels to speak to that need will deliver the best results.”
-Andrew Rountree, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Addison Clark
“There’s a big difference between creating content that is just rich with long-tail keywords and content that is written with the human audience in mind above all else. Whether your brand’s voice is clever or straight-forward, casual or full of industry-jargon only your audience understands, take the time to know your voice and use it well alongside your SEO strategies. Search engine algorithms are beginning to use artificial intelligence (AI) like never before, and well-crafted writing is one factor that enables a website to stand out amidst the digital crowd. Quickly thrown together content doesn’t help your company’s cause if it’s sloppy or unclear, even if you spend time on other SEO factors.”
-Kris Spisak, Content Specialist, Midlothian Web Solutions; Author, Get a Grip on Your Grammar: 250 Writing and Editing Reminders for the Curious or Confused (Career Press, 2017)
When you think about everything you want your website to accomplish, the list might be long, but whatever the tasks are that you undertake, do so with a knowledge of the latest tactics and strategies in hand.
Ferris Bueller didn’t know much about the Internet—the World Wide Web hadn’t yet been invented in his day—but his “stop-and-look-around-once-in-a-while” perspective is essential. You’ve got to look around. You don’t want life or web innovation to pass you by.
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