While it’s true that setting up a website is far easier today than ever before, making something worthwhile still takes a significant amount of effort. You need to figure out everything from your unique branding to the content you provide, after all, making tweaks until you’re content that your regular visitors will be satisfied.
That effort is just the start, though, because you also need to factor in the context of your competition. Ticking basic usability boxes won’t get you far if rival businesses are going above and beyond with their development processes. You need to keep an eye on the competition at all times, planning updates to keep up.
It’s no wonder that so many websites stagnate. Companies gather their core audiences and guard them zealously, desperate to protect what they already have, and they stop experiencing any growth. If you’re going to expand your business, you need to get your website to the forefront of your niche, giving it the potency to reach new audiences. Here are some tips:
Configure and draw upon social media integrations
If you’re not already taking full advantage of social media, what are you waiting for? It’s absolutely vital for everything from reaching your existing customers to finding new prospects, allowing you to reach out to people throughout the world with ease.
Consider the remarkable stat that the average social media user spends two hours and twenty-five minutes on social media each day. That’s a huge chunk of time: not yet surpassing TV time, but likely to surpass it in the near future. And while much of your social media work will indeed be carried out through the relevant platforms, you should still adapt your website through configuring social media integrations.
There are two things in particular you should focus on. Embedding social media posts and graphics to make your brand seem more vibrant and popular, and including social media sharing links to make it easier for visitors to let their friends know about you. Thankfully, both are fairly simple due to easy plugins for most content management systems — and if you’re using a custom CMS, you can easily find the custom code you need to drop in.
Invest in thorough translation for international markets
When you think about new audiences, do you factor in those that don’t speak your language? International shipping routes have become remarkably efficient, staying strong even through a pandemic, and there’s a lot of money to be made through selling overseas. It might sound a little intimidating, though. The language barrier is a stubborn obstacle. Isn’t it easier not to try?
Well sure, it’s easier to stick to your native language, but it isn’t actually as tough as you might think to expand your digital horizons. Just as there are plugins for social features, there are plugins for website localization, meaning that adapting your original website to accommodate other languages needn’t take up too much of your time.
Automated translation has come a long way: yes, it’ll need some correction afterwards, but there’s a decent chance that you can effectively cover your entire website with a plugin and some last-minute input from a freelance translator. Why not give it a shot? Even if you don’t want to operate in China (despite the huge global influence of the Chinese language) due to the complexities of its regime, you could use Spanish as a test case: almost 8% of internet users speak it, and it’s relatively straightforward to translate from English.
Fully refresh your general design aesthetic
I noted in the intro that many businesses concentrate on keeping their existing customers, and that’s perfectly sensible — but it doesn’t mean they approach it correctly. Instead of thinking about how they can better meet their needs, they opt to simply leave things static so they don’t rock the boat. In truth, changing up your design aesthetic is unlikely to bother your existing customers (provided there’s a core of navigational continuity), while it could appeal to those who previously paid little attention to your business.
Refreshing your website design allows you to revisit every part of your brand identity. You could bring in a new color palette, try a new font, radically alter the layout, and even change the type of content you focus on (bringing in video content instead of always offering blog posts, for example). If what you’re currently doing isn’t interesting enough, mix things up.
One note about your palette, though: you should only change it if you’re certain that it’s a problem, and you should look to retain your core color. Having a consistent signature color has been found to increase brand recognition by 80%. Think about the red of Coca-Cola, for instance: the company can switch up the palette, but it needs to retain that red core.
Carry out a comprehensive technical SEO audit
SEO, or search engine optimization, should be a high-level concern for everyone running an online business. This is because most website visits come from search engines. If you’re not appearing prominently in searches for relevant keywords, you’re going to struggle to get noticed by people who aren’t already familiar enough with your brand to visit it directly.
And while it’s only one part of the puzzle (with content marketing to build links being the most prominent element), it’s inarguably important to ensure that your website has a strong technical SEO foundation. Minor technical factors can prevent websites from ranking well or even being indexed at all. Ahrefs found that 90.63% of websites receive no organic traffic whatsoever, and though it’s hard to rank well, that’s only possible if indexing problems are rampant.
Carrying out a full audit of your site will allow you to spot everything from broken links to duplicate content, giving you a clear set of actions to take. You can do it yourself (there are some great guides out there from sites like Semrush) or hire a company to do it for you.
Overall, adapting your website to reach new audiences is chiefly about bolstering its connectivity, adjusting its content, and polishing its technical foundation. Provided you’re still meeting the needs of your existing audience, you should pull out all the stops to expand the appeal of your website.