Making your website a success with Braid Consulting

DigitalCity is proud to work with some of the best in the tech industry, one of which is Braid Consulting. With over 20 years’ experience of building, delivering and managing digital strategies, the digital consulting service knows several tricks of the trade when it comes to digital success.

Co-founders, Brain Schur and David Ranby recently joined us to share their expert tips on one of the most important elements of a digital business – websites. Find out some of the most common website mistakes, what websites need to be successful, why design is so important and more…

So, you’ve been involved in building, promoting, and managing websites since 1999. Over the years what are some of the main website mistakes you’ve seen?

From a technical perspective, the regular issue are:

  • Web agencies fitting clients into the website the agency is used to building. This results in clients being given platforms and tools that are not always appropriate for the job; and often without the functions needed.
  • So many times, new websites are commissioned with inufficient thought given to the content; the words, pictures, legal statements etc. Good content generation can take as long as the website build. Agencies either don’t prepare clients for what’s needed, or the client fails to plan the delivery. Either way, it damages the impact of the website.
  • Website design and functions are determined by the person paying the bill and based on “how I would use it”. Which is ok if the client is also a perfect mirror of their customer. Which is rare. If the client is not intimately familiar with their ideal web visitors’ habits, then style and functions can be wrong. Our classic example was the older (55+) business owner who was adamant the way he used websites was  how his customers (17-year-old girls) bought fashion online.
  • Limited thought is given to the objectives of the website; generate leads, give information, sell products – and the expectations of the client. Understanding what a “good result” looks like?

From a marketing perspective the common error is a lack of appreciation of the basic rules applied to websites by Google;

  • quality content
  • using the correct method of marking up pages
  • recognising efficient page load is critical.

When clients are not aware if this, they are in the total control of the agency, who in turn use efficient (i.e. cheap, quick) methods to “answer” the issues. Website owners need to have a grasp of the basics to ensure they demand a “belt and braces” approach to their website build.

What are the most common reasons for businesses losing website visitors?

Failing to maintain content/product developments on the website. Without change, customers and Google get bored of the site and pay it less attention. That results in declining engagement. In addition, search engines rank more actively changing sites above the static one. So organic traffic is lost.

Poor communication; failure to respond swiftly to enquiries, ensure dispatch is fast, send appropriate and usable email promotion, conflicting and unnecessary discounting. All these factors will annoy existing and potential customers and result in a move away from the business by customers.

Poor website transition. When a new site is built, ensuring all old web pages are repointed to the new website (301-redirects). We have seen many website projects where this has not been done well, and hence organic traffic, and bookmarked traffic no longer hit live pages.

Database management. Companies need to be familiar with how to build databases in this GDPR-ruled world. Get basic permissions and record them. Just as important, communicate with the list and develop knowledge of the recipient actions/interests (what links they follow/what happened) Failure to do these things means lost repeat visitors/customers and lost databases when it transpires the list was built illegally. 

What would you say are the 3 key things a website needs to be successful in the digital world of today?
  1. Page speed; page load and functions.
  2. Content clarity; provides benefits and direct actions.
  3. Mobile first approach; get to the point, fast.

Why is the design of your website so important?

Potential customers don’t walk into, or stay in shops they don’t like, unless it’s through absolute necessity (post office, chemist). They certainly don’t go back to a place they thought looked/felt wrong. Websites are just the same! The design has to recognise the visitor’s needs, not just shout what the website owner considers the key point (i.e. BUY!). The design needs to entice, provide reassurance, and make access to the actions easy.

What are your key recommendations for improving website conversion, retention, and engagement?

Test. Test colours on buttons till the one that drags the most clicks is arrived at, till the position of the CTA (call to action button) on the page reaches optimum click through, until the layout of those huge images, or smaller ones, result in people staying on the page/scrolling further for longer.

Develop worthwhile content additions to market and remind customers of your products so when the time is right, the target buys from you. It’s not all about a sale today, but also about developing the future customer.

Communication. Develop ways to have worthwhile conversations with customers to generate repeat purchase and/or advocates that build your new customer base. Email and social are the usual avenues but do it right; it’s a conversation not just shouting “I’m here”.

If you have a digital project in development or already underway, get in touch to find out how we can support through our Digital Assist Programmes.