New year, new you. Or that’s what I hear. For business owners, the laundry list of resolutions is often inseparable from their business. “Reorganize the filing cabinet.” “Paint the ceiling.” “Be a little more hands-off this year.”
While sorting out all the things you want to tackle in 2017, don’t forget about your business’s digital presence! With the turning of a new year, we see new trends in websites, social media and technology on the whole. Fortunately, you have Sterner Stuff. I’m keeping up with it all, so you don’t have to. Here are some digital resolutions that I’ll be helping my clients with:
Create a Trustworthy Digital Presence
Every year, Edelman Insights publishes their Trust Barometer. 2016 started with trust in the four institutions of government, business, NGOs and media at new highs since the 2008 recession. After a tumultuous year, however, that trust has fallen precipitously. The world over, two-thirds of surveyed countries are now what Edelman classifies as “distrusters”, with a total trust level under 50%.
I’ll be publishing a more in-depth review of the findings and what you can do to respond, but for now, take this as a broad suggestion for 2017: Eat, sleep and breath trustworthiness.
Meet Your Audience Where They Are
Everyone is going to tell you to flex your social media, but today, that’s a no-brainer. Instead of a spray-and-pray strategy, consider your target audience. Men? Women? Young? Old? Start pushing your social media efforts where that audience is more likely to be. Find women on Pinterest, young people in Instagram, older folks on Facebook and your B2B customers on LinkedIn. Publish content on these channels specific to the corresponding audience.
Appear Active and Legitimate
More and more people are visiting your website before engaging with you in-store or calling you. The last thing you want is for them to find a site that looks like it could be abandoned.
Combat folks going to a business that is more “with it” by giving your site a facelift. If you’re on a platform that advertises itself on your site, consider moving to something else to make your brand more cohesive and your site more professional. If your shopping cart is PayPal, consider investing in an eCommerce solution that lives right on your website. And if your site is still built using tables, well, you might just scrap the whole thing…
Content is another great way to look active. Keep up your blog and post regularly to social media. Fortunately, this has lots of added benefits like improving your SEO—Google likes fresh content!
Believe it or not, I still see sites that aren’t responsive. Mobile usage is still rising, even in B2B as people work more from their phones and tablets on the go. This year, mobile traffic actually overtook desktop. It goes without saying, but 2017 is another opportunity to stop treating mobile users like second-class citizens. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Depending on your audience, you might even want to spend more time on your mobile site than desktop! Businesses like restaurants are seeing even more mobile traffic than most from back-seat travelers trying to find a pit stop.
Refine Your User Experience to Stand Out
There was a time when having a website that looked “nice” was enough, but recently we’ve seen a continued surge in services that make a “nice” website affordable for everyone. Don’t settle for nice—shoot for effective. By improving your user experience and reducing the effort required from your users, you can capitalize on engagement and interaction. A great user experience will set you apart from your competition and push conversions through the roof!
Start Automating the Little, Tedious Things
A bit of a departure from your traditional website, try to embrace technology in some new ways. Identify places in your day-to-day where you’re losing time to tedious, automatable tasks. Track down software you use that’s frustrating and inefficient. Figure out why the faucet is leaking. Call a plumber about the last one, and talk to Sterner Stuff about building something to ease the struggles of the rest. Custom web-based software is built with you in mind, can be used by your employees on the go, and should save time and money for your business.
If you don’t see anything in front of you that looks like a good candidate or that stands out as a time sink, talk to me about a consultation. A lot of people don’t realize how much you can do with the web, and I love to make recommendations.
Stop Trying to Do It All
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m working January through December to keep my clients at the head of the pack, and I can help you, too. Reach out to Sterner Stuff today for a free digital consultation. Learn how I can help you improve your digital presence and give you the peace of mind that comes with Sterner Stuff’s worry-free web development service.