3 Surefire Ways for Your Website to Become a Digital Frontrunner

February 22, 2022

Over the past several years, we have learned from hundreds of hours working on websites that there are few things digital marketers can count on in ever-changing and quickly evolving trends that lead to digital marketing success.

Thankfully, there are several trends that never go out of style. Here are 3 ways to ensure your website remains an attractive representation of your economic development organization.

Focus on Navigation
A website that fails to direct a user to the information they’re looking for in less than 15 seconds is likely to see that user abort their session, according to Tony Haile, CEO of data analytics company Chartbeat. But with a little intentionality and foresight into how users will interact with your sitemap, web developers can easily capturer a user’s interest.

When DCI enters the discovery phase with a client to determine what they want their website to accomplish, one of the first things we dive into is the users and how they will want to interact with the site. Yes, we know what corporate executives want, but every place has a unique need when it comes to additional stakeholders and how you communicate with them. We construct our sitemaps with your users in mind, what information do they need and how will they use your site to find that information.

The sitemap allows your website to have a hierarchy, so people know where to go on your website. Too often we see that after we launch a site, pages are uploaded afterward without a thought to where they should live and instead are just attached to the homepage. This then becomes a problem for the user and Google as having too many pages attached to a homepage is overwhelming for both.

To solve this problem, many clients request search functionality on their websites. This is seldom the golden ticket, however, to a website’s success, mainly because economic developers aren’t in the business of search marketing. Leave the search marketing to Google we say and instead focus on developing a website that is well-organized but offers internal links to drive users deeper down the rabbit hole is much more likely to drive your conversion rate.

Multilingual is Critical to an Inclusive Website 
Did you know that 52 percent of websites are in English, but English only reaches 25 percent of users? In an increasingly globalized world, this can significantly cut off your list of prospective customers. And while some industries require more multilingual support than others, it is best to consider your audience — especially in economic development.

There are two ways a developer can go about updating a website for multilingual access. The first and best way to not alienate users is to translate the website in its entirety. While this is less than ideal in terms of hours spent, it is the most accurate method, and therefore the best option. WordPress offers a multilingual communication tool that indicates the different languages for proper SEO tracking and analysis by Google.

A second, though less thorough, route to creating an inclusive website is to leverage an AI translation tool. These tools require sitewide installation, involve an annual licensing fee and typically only have around a 90% accuracy rate — which necessitates manual grooming.

Bringing You Up to Speed
For all its cleverness for teaching small children about the value of intentionality, the turtle could never beat the hare in the modern cyber world.

According to World Advertising Research Center (WARC), 72.6% of users will use only the mobile web by 2025. Google recognizes this and has recently made certain changes to their algorithms to consider page experience as a core ranking factor, even going so far as to give preferential treatment to a stripped-down mobile view of websites via an open-source HTML framework plugin known as AMP.

Whether Google continues to require website owners to pare down their mobile presences or not, site speed will always be essential to ranking well on search engines. Websites that fail to address slow loading speeds—especially for mobile—will begin to see a heavy impact on their organic rankings (non-sponsored Google search results).

At DCI, we have found that most brand-building websites have less-than-desirable mobile speed scores. While we don’t feel this means every website needs to have a pared-down mobile experience, we do like to talk to our clients about how important mobile speed is to their overall strategy. If you’re interested in seeing how your website performs, there are many free site speed checkers available — including Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

We are also here to help. Looking to build an economic development website that is responsive, offers easy navigation and captures your entire market through multilingual support? A website revamp with effective SEO is a great way to incorporate this new normal. Get in touch with me to learn how we can get started in achieving your new goals.