Are you guilty of neglecting your website and online presence? According to a web credibility study done by Stanford University, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on a website’s design. Moreover, there is mounting evidence that brands with little to no social media marketing are more likely to suffer from poor online conversion.
Is your website slow? Not mobile-friendly? Unsecure? Beware of these digital follies—they will lead to poor user experience and destroy your business credibility faster than you can click refresh.
1) Lacking Social Media Presence
If you think not having a strong social media presence doesn’t negatively impact your bottom line, you’re wrong. Though measuring ROI for social media marketing and brand promotion can be ambiguous, there is a strong correlation between social signals and conversions.
Customers are becoming increasingly reliant on social proof, i.e. testimonials from their trusted circles, as well as general public opinion from aggregate review ratings on sites like Google Reviews and Yelp. If consumers look to social media channels to learn more about a brand prior to making a purchase decision and find insufficient social information, the chance of conversion drops dramatically. According to HubSpot, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
2) Poorly Designed Website
Even if a company’s website was well-designed five years ago, it’s likely outdated now. Sometimes users are willing to slog through a website if it has the necessary information, but if the overall user experience is frustrating, the bounce rate will increase and Google will penalize the site by decreasing its index status.
A visitor’s likelihood to convert to a paying customer is heavily influenced by their experience on the company’s website. In particular, users appreciate easily navigable sites, clean design, clear calls-to-action, and obvious ways to contact the company—including an email, phone number, and physical address. Appropriate use of key terms, good site maps, and proper grammar are also factors.
3) Slow Site Speed
If a webpage loads like molasses, it will become irrelevant. Google offers site speed tools and suggestions on how to increase speed because fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. UX Magazine published a study done in-house by Walmart.com, which found that for every one second of load time improvement, the site experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions.
4) Non-responsive Design
Is your website designed to work with mobile devices? Smart Insights reports that in 2014 conversions from tablets outgrew conversions by desktop and this trend is expected to continue. In an algorithm update last November, Google started factoring a site’s mobile-friendliness in search rank. Meaning if users are having a bad experience on a website because it hasn’t been updated to work with a smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, etc., a company could expect to see a directly related drop in traffic.
5) Unsecured Site
Users have long been wary of websites that are not secured—those lacking data encryption—but now Google has taken action by flagging sites that do not employ secure data transmission, regardless of a site’s industry. Whether it’s Wikipedia or a business portfolio site, it needs to be secured. Users can tell if a site is secure by checking to see if an s follows the http in a site’s URL (https) or looking for the padlock icon in the search bar. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise given all of the recent massive hacking attacks. This week Google built a feature into its Chrome browser to warn users about websites that do not scramble their data during transmission in order to protect their users from identity thieves and even Uncle Sam.
Making these items a priority will improve a website’s technical integrity with Google and will increase user experience, which will also augment a site’s index. Tackling these aspects will not be an incredibly complicated undertaking,but will take time. Reputation investment is critically important to a company’s success so addressing these five influencers will certainly increase a brand’s wealth and preserve its credibility.