How to unlock the potential of your website

By Fabio Torlini

How to unlock the potential of your website in three simple steps

The rise of social media and mobile devices has built an ‘always-on’ society. Information hungry, and not restrained by business hours, the modern customer will now likely interact with a brand digitally before any human communication takes place. So the pressure is on to ensure that every digital experience counts.

As such the role of the website has evolved. Slow, clunky and difficult to navigate sites are now major liabilities. Businesses need to refresh their approach of using the website as their shop front, and fully consider it as an extension of the business – and in many cases it is the entire business. How? The answer lies in creating, developing and maintaining a site with the digital customer front of mind. But, in today’s connected world where requirements can change rapidly, the platform must be simple to use, flexible, reliable and offer individuality.

Any business owner should question whether they have the capabilities to accommodate this, and seek to follow these three steps to success, to ensure they can get the greatest return from a website.

Ensure the website is scalable and reliable

Diminishing tolerance levels towards a web experience mean that the modern customer has little patience for downtime and page errors. Irrespective of audience, a website must be 100% reliable. At the same time it should provide all information needed in a simple and easy to use manner, regardless of the channel used. Fail to achieve this and brands will find their traffic is heading straight to the competitor’s website.

In any business there are always periods of fluctuating traffic – whether from seasonal peaks and dips, media attention or due to a product or customer campaigns. Regardless of any planned or unexpected surges in traffic, the brand must be able to provide a stable web experience that can cater to heightened levels of visitors.

To avoid a situation whereby surprise traffic can be detrimental to your business’s success, the key is to have a platform in place that can be scaled up and down at the click of a button. This can ensure that no matter the increase in traffic, businesses have the capabilities to adapt quickly and meet the demand, without risking potential downtime.

Plugin your brand personality

Regardless of sector, the website is the public face of your brand, so it’s critical that it accurately represents your business. It’s the first and lasting impression, so it should be customized to fully depict the brand image whilst remaining secure.

In the quest to ensure the website reflects a brand personality, the priority should be on identifying where the most plugins are available, that allow for heightened levels of customization and security development. As a benchmark, WordPress has over 43,000 plugin options to choose thanks to the vast developer communities that exist. These tools can help businesses support security, SEO, maps, live chat, and countless other features on their website.

One common myth is that businesses running the same platform will have the same website structures, and therefore are limited to expressing brand identity and individuality. Such an array of plugins means that businesses can create unique-looking websites that are open to change as and when the business, customers and the wider landscape calls for new functionalities. In turn the website is your oyster to help a brand grow and develop.

Become a publisher

The website is an important extension of the business – and in some cases represents the entire business. So a crucial aspect is for the organisation to ensure that it is constantly evaluating the content and information that it promotes and showcases on the website.

It should not be about broadcasting content for the sake of it, but instead checking that each piece is engaging to key audiences and where appropriate the copy is personalised to the individual. In the age of the customer, brands are increasingly taking publishing into their own hands and out of the IT department. This is often because timing is critical and necessary to form stronger relationships with key audiences.

The availability of straightforward and flexible platforms that don’t require a level of technical know-how is spurring the drive to a publisher revolution. WordPress for example has its origins in blogging so is ideally built to host the greater diversity of content being shared online. In turn this allows firms to focus on applying customer insights to continually build better content.
In a fast moving industry, many businesses still lack clarity in how to make their website a true extension of the brand. Quite simply, the answer is to build an online platform that is secure, engaging and reliable. Applying these three short steps will help your most valuable access point be the gateway to developing brand loyalty and improve sales in an increasingly digital era.

Fabio Torlini is MD at WP Engine


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