Websites still considered vital to users

The September issue of Wired magazine declared that "The Web is dead" - and sent many communications pros on high alert.

The September issue of Wired magazine declared that “The Web is dead” - and sent many communications pros on high alert. But rest assured. While the trend is turning from browsers to apps, websites still remain an integral part of a digital presence.

Now that we've cleared that up, it's time to take a good look at your current site and determine whether the design is helping or hurting your bottom line. Not sure? Here are four easy ways to figure it out:

1. Your business goals and/or product offerings have changed. If your business has outgrown your current website, it's time to realign it to reflect new needs and user expectations. Remember, website redesigns are more than changing graphics and layout - usability is key.

2. You don't own top spots on Google for your company name or target keywords. Sixty percent of Web traffic comes via search, so securing top spots ought to be a high priority. In the redesign, sprinkle (and link) key terms to relevant content and make sure your code is squeaky clean.

3. The site looks dated. Like it or not, users will judge you based on appearance. An outdated design can erode user trust in mere seconds and cause an early exit.

4. Your site doesn't work on mobile. In Wired's look at the Web, it noted that the number of users accessing the Net from mobile devices would surpass the number accessing it from PCs within five years. And while apps may ultimately facilitate the majority of transactions on mobile platforms, your site still needs to be accessible from mobile devices with basic functionalities intact.

And remember to keep redesigns in the communications plan. While technology has changed the way we consume and use information, websites remain locations where users expect to get real services and complete essential tasks. So go ahead and design that app - just make sure your users can get what they need from your website, too.

Dan Solomon is CEO of Virilion.

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