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Five Basic Features Visitors Expect From Your Website

Having a website is one thing, but having an effective website is another matter altogether. In an era where being online is not a luxury but a necessity for large and small businesses, Myron Salant, web services product manager at Webafrica, outlines five top features that visitors expect from your website.

Myron Salant

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1. Page speed/loading time

A slow-loading website and slow-loading pages are some of the greatest detractors to your site and will harm your conversion rate before you start.

Visitors don’t have time to hang around waiting for your website to load. The simplest thing for them to do is click the back button and go to your nearest competitor’s site even if they are below you in search rankings.

By minimising your load time by just a second you can increase your conversions, boost your reputation and increase your page ranking.

Related: Mobile Friendly Vs Mobile Responsive Websites: What’s The Difference?

2. Website design/call to actions
Web-design-layout

The next thing that grabs the attention of the visitor is the layout and web design. If your website does not look professional, has pop-ups all over the place or seems to be somewhat complicated to navigate, it will deter even the most loyal customers.

When visitors visit your website they expect it to:

Organised

It should provide users with a quick and clear understanding of what the site is about. It should display all of your most important selling points and it should guide the users with easy to see calls to action. Remember, direct visitors where YOU want them to go.

Easy to navigate

A navigable website is the essence of creating a well-organised and user-friendly website. Your website should allow visitors to explore further, while still being able to find their way back to where they started. An easy-to-navigate website will keep your visitors there longer and increase the chance for conversion.

Offer value

If your users come to your site for your product or service, then make sure you deliver. Craft your website around those products and services and present them in a way that the user knows exactly what you are offering. Most times visitors search for specific topics and keywords, so if you have specific topics make sure the relevant information is there. 

3. Self-shot images

The use of stock images on websites, gives it a somewhat more ‘professional’ look, but that is not a true reflection of YOU or YOUR business.

When visitors land on your website, they want to see the people behind the brand.

By revealing yourself and your business you build rapport that will result in lasting relationships. Another significant aspect of self-managed photography is that it shows willingness to go the extra mile, which to a potential customer is GOLD!

Related: No Money, No Problem: 17 Free Ways To Boost Your Website’s SEO

4. Images over content

website-images

It is sometimes hard to find the balance between content and images. But it has been proven that people prefer image-heavy websites over content-heavy websites. It is not always possible when you have intricate products or services, but the use of diagrams and infographics can be beneficial.

These image-heavy tools convey complex products in simple ways, offering enough space and area for text. We are not saying ditch content completely, because at the end of the day content is key when it comes to website ranking and for those Google bots to pick out keywords. The key is to find the balance.

5. Control

Visitors expect a guided user-friendly experience, while still being in control of their experience.

This means creating a website that does not force users to go to certain pages, does not have pop-ups, auto-play videos or links that activate when hovered over, does not direct and redirect your visitor to various pages, does not expose them to more of your brand or tell them more about your business.

Related: Breeze Website Designers’ Bongani Gosa On Learning From Mistakes

These things actually cause visitors to leave because they come looking for specific information, and only if you have their attention will they navigate further. Visitors seldom mind advertising and videos on your websites if they are not placed in the middle of your page where your important content is.

Somewhere towards the side is usually the ideal place, because there it will be caught in the visitor’s peripheral vision and he/she will have the option to click and view.

Myron Salant, is the web services product manager at Webafrica. Webafrica is your one-stop web shop: we bring you to the web and the web to you, from web design to world-class internet (ADSL and Fibre, business and home, prepaid and post), to easy hosting and water-tight security. Everything we do is characterised by excellent service and Mzansi-friendly prices.

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Online Marketing

Crisis Management: Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail

The secret to a successful reputational risk management programme depends on leaders’ ability to move with agility as they respond to the immediacy and uncertainty of social media-fuelled crises.

Jordan Rittenberry

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The always-evolving communications environment has intricately linked reputation management with the digital world, and executives must now realise that brand perception functions more like a real-time trading desk with 24/7 news, social media and online conversations shaping brand perception without the participation of organisations.

Put simply, managing your reputation must be an active, ongoing strategic investment that starts well before any risk or crisis begins. Plans and procedures will prove useless if introduced as a crisis erupts. Preparedness planning needs to start at executive level with reputation management practices being built into the fibre of every business at every level.

The secret to a successful reputational risk management programme depends on leaders’ ability to move with agility as they respond to the immediacy and uncertainty of social media-fuelled crises, which cannot be overstated as social media gaffes are occurring faster than we can write case studies to learn from them.

Establishing a preparedness programme

Handling a reputational challenge or crisis effectively starts with recognising the warning signs early. With an established programme, guidelines and procedures in place, your organisation can keep its finger on the pulse of conversations. This allows you to begin what’s known as the OODA loop (observe, orient, decide and act), quickly and nimbly during a crisis.

Recent data shows that 28% of crises spread globally within one hour. The very action of participating in a crisis exercise helps build “muscle memory” and organisations that effectively navigate a crisis are ones with detailed crisis management plans that they are familiar with.

Establishing protocols and systems ahead of a crisis, and then testing and training on them provides discipline and structure.

If the first time you’re reading through a crisis plan is during an operational or reputational crisis, you’re going to be behind the curve and with the pace of today’s digital age, it will be hard to recover.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

Building a digital foundation

In times of crisis, reaching out to those who count the most to your organisation is critically important. This goes beyond determining who has the most followers on social media as people often confuse influence with reach. The former can be defined as the degree to which someone can inspire others to do something.

To prepare, first identify core groups ahead of time: loyal fans, industry influencers, key opinion makers such as journalists and bloggers, and those who aren’t fans. Knowing potentially negative influencers such as those who might be sceptics or critics is equally important as knowing positive influencers.

Consider online monitoring to be your first line of defence to gauge messages about your organisation. When set up in advance, this monitoring provides an understanding of your overall perception and it allows you to adjust quickly to conversational trends.

There is no “one size fits all” content strategy for a crisis. The sooner you can identify and engage with those who matter, the sooner you can begin tackling the situation directly.

Taking control

When you’re at the centre of an unfolding risk, you must demonstrate a strong voice to counteract the forces of social and traditional media that will quickly shape the narrative. Press releases and news conferences are insufficient to meet expectations for content that exists online.

Leveraging strategic content within the context of a crisis forces you to question how you are engaging your key stakeholders and audience beyond a simple text response.

Your owned media properties, particularly your website and social channels, serve as critical tools to provide information that frames the issue from your perspective, addresses misinformation and, if necessary, apologises for a situation with a clear action plan.

Related: Why Your Business’ Social Media Marketing Strategy Is Probably Wrong

Our goal, as a leading communications marketing agency, isn’t to teach an organisation how to simply tweet through a crisis. Rather, we expect our clients to walk away with first-hand experience of working under rapid-fire crisis conditions that mimic an accurate scenario.

There’s a great deal of nuance around effective crisis and reputation management, including what corporate responses are suitable for different crises. Don’t go it alone. Invest in a partner, which has a deep understanding of the complex variables that have a long-term impact on the public perception of your organisation.


Five variables to address ahead of a crisis

  1. Who have we maintained consistent relationships with? You must make friends before you need them. Develop a list of important online and traditional stakeholders and maintain steady communications with this group during the quiet times.
  2. What is your threshold for who is influential? Be aware of the fact that there are people who reside outside your list of key stakeholders who are nevertheless influential and could have an impact on your business.
  3. How quickly does a conversation need to build up steam to warrant a response? The internet and social media now reflect thousands of smaller voices who can find each other and amplify a message. Recognising how conversations gain critical velocity is imperative to gauge when to respond and a crisis partner can help in this scenario.
  4. What is the timing of your response? You don’t always have all the answers and that’s okay. Often, a community just wants to know that you’re listening to them.
  5. Where will you publish a response and notify stakeholders? Sometimes, a response on Twitter, or Facebook proves sufficient, although other platforms such as a website or a blog helps to frame issues more comprehensively. A crisis partner will help determine the best way forward.

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Online Marketing

Why You Should Sort Your Social Media Policy (Like NOW!)

Strong social media policies are needed to prevent such behaviours and should always be considered when setting up and expanding your business.

Entrepreneur

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With 2 billion active users on Facebook alone, sharing our toils, tribulations and triumphs online is becoming second nature. There are, however, downsides to the rise of social media. Habits online have the potential to affect your work and your business if not monitored appropriately.

Recent research combining a survey of 2,000 UK respondents and analysis of work-related Twitter posts has highlighted the behaviours of employees online that could lead to damage for the businesses who employ them. Strong social media policies are needed to prevent such behaviours and should always be considered when setting up and expanding your business.

Related: 5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

The Risks of Social Media

Lost Working Hours

The average person now spends 25 hours a week online, with almost two hours a day (116 minutes) being used to browse social media platforms.

With so much time being spent online it’s almost inevitable that people will habitually reach for their phone to check Facebook during the working day. The survey research suggests the average person spends 52 minutes procrastinating every day, with most of this time being spent on social media.

Across the working year this amounts to 225 hours lost per employee, a total of 7 billion lost hours from the UK working population of 32,344,000. Failing to set clear boundaries of when employees can use social media in the workplace may cost you a lot in the long term.

Employee Posts

15% of employees say that they have previously shared something negative about their work online, and a further 5% said they would do so in the future. This means that one in five workers think it is acceptable to take to social media to air their grievances with their company.

The volume of tweets found in Twitter analysis that contain negative work-related phrases illustrates how widespread the problem of employees complaining online is. In 2017, 8,186 tweets containing phrases such as #ihatemyjob, #worksucks and #hatework were sent, a 43% rise on the volume of similar posts in 2015.

Related: Make Sense Of Social Media In 60 Minutes

It is not only negative posts from employees that pose a risk to your business – they might also be inadvertently sharing confidential information. Off-hand comments on social media about what they have done with their day may lead your employees to unintentionally reveal information about a client, future plans or other information that you would not want in the public forum.

This could result in lost business if a client feels their security has been compromised or may give your competitors important insight into your working practices, which they can use to their advantage. A clear policy on what is acceptable to post in relation to work will help prevent these risks.

bad-tweet-2-redacted

How Can a Social Media Policy Help?

Social media policies should be issued and explained to all employees. Their purpose is to ensure proper usage of social media, in a way which will not negatively impact on your business.

A social media policy can set out when usage of the platforms is appropriate and what employees can share with regards to your company. The policy may not guarantee adherence, but it does allow you to set out proper practice to all your workers in a clear, accessible format, which can be regularly consulted.

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Online Marketing

Is Your Content Golden Enough?

Take a breather for a while and read our ‘gold-to’ guide for best digital practice in business.

So Interactive

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Leading digital researcher, GroupM, suggested in their annual ‘State of the Digital’ report that marketers should convey a brand message “within the first second” of every social video. Not to take the shine off your expectations, but if today’s CMO’s don’t level up and grab consumers’ attention on-play, your video is going straight to the dump heap. No stickiness, no interest, no shares no thumb stopping. Nothing. Nichts. Nada.

Golden content is what we strive for: Videos, podcasts and solid written content with that Midas touch; content that will seize that first second and shake the shares out of it. Take a breather for a while and read our ‘gold-to’ guide for best digital practice in business:

1. Hold it Before You Load It

You know what you want to sell, and you have a strong message to go. Stop right there. Before you dive for the upload button, do the 5-point sense check first:

  • Is this post too long, too short, too strong, too soft?
  • Will the post deliver better results on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or YouTube?
  • Do I want audience engagement or audience awareness
  • What do I want to get out of this post?
  • What do I want my audience to feel and/or do with this post?

When you’ve answered these questions, and you’re clear about the what’s and how’s then, by all means, take that upload button and give it horns.

Related: How Content Marketing Adds Real Value To Your Customers’ Lives

2. Get off The Island: Let Video, Audio & Lit Work Together

One of the great benefits of digital is the opportunity to collaborate your communication in the same post, using audio, visual and literature, to get your message across. When you create a podcast, use your literature platform to support the podcast, with a strong rationale, call to action or written article.

Same applies to video: You should have a transcript or article supporting that video, to better land your message. And if you’re featuring written content as the star attraction (blogs aren’t dead, yet!) it will benefit greatly from keywords, images and diagrams that grab attention – or better yet, a throw forward to a film piece that adds juice. Golden content is not an island, it doesn’t need to live alone in order to make an impact.

3. Get The Experts On Board

From your social media to your online video it is vital that your brand is authentic and in a way that fully represents the values of your business, brand, and offering. Choose the right agency to help you create content that is truly Golden and help streamline that content to ensure it works holistically in delivering your brand message to your target audience.

Working with the right team can make all the difference when it comes to creating above average content that connects with your audience. Choose an agency with experience in creating content that is Golden. Speak to So Interactive for expert advice on creating golden content for your brand.

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