It’s the Age of the Smart Site and CEOs Need to Catch Up

Businesses today are operating in a climate of ever-increasing customer expectations. For the majority, their website will be the first meaningful brand interaction with a potential customer.

According to Richard Pilton, Managing Director at Kayo Digital, this first touch point could be one of the most valuable moments in your customers relationship and with careful development, your website could offer much more than the usual company details and contact information and become your most vital business tool.

What is a smart site?

If designed, developed and optimised correctly as part of a wider web strategy, a smart site has the potential to constantly gather information about your customer, actively drive business growth and quickly adapt and respond to new channels, technologies and customer preferences.  This in turn enables businesses to effectively meet whatever the future holds as well as stay ahead of agile competitors.

A poorly planned and executed website ultimately means businesses are not getting anywhere close to the added value a website can and should provide.

A poorly planned and executed website ultimately means businesses are not getting anywhere close to the added value a website can and should provide. 

In this article we explore some of the common stumbling blocks companies face whilst trying to develop an effective website and highlight key steps needed to achieve a smart site.

Where does web development often go wrong? 

It is important to remember that your website is a business tool and should not be treated as a vanity project.  Whilst it needs to reflect your brand and appeal to your customers, a sole focus on visuals helps no one but something many businesses are guilty of.

Frequently businesses approach web design purely from their own perspective, but to create a site that resonates with your customer; it must be built with them at the forefront. Understanding your customers reasons for using your services is key to developing a successful site. Having the right colour palette, visuals, layout and font are of course important elements, but the design must sit alongside relevant content, functionality and messaging to be useful.

So often businesses make the mistake of believing once a website is live, the job is done and the budget ends. However, it really is just the beginning and the site must be continuously optimised, evaluated and developed.

A website is just one part of a comprehensive web strategy, which should meet your company’s goals and should enable you to measure the success of any sales and marketing campaigns you are running that drive traffic to your site.

Steps to achieve a smart site

The pace of technological change and customer demand is only set to accelerate, so before embarking on a web project, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

To avoid the cost and commitment of redoing your website every few years, it is important to put in place a strategy that can be agile enough to change with the times.

The following steps can achieve this:

  • Do your research – Take the time to thoroughly research your customer base before embarking on any project. Use solid research to enable a good design partner and build a website that combines this insight with fitting aesthetics and functionality.
  • Consider a bespoke solution – An off-the-shelf web solution may seem cost effective, but in the long run will cost you more as it simply won’t have flexibility to evolve as your business does.
  • Optimise at all times – In order to drive maximum value from a website, businesses need to continuously look for ways to optimise it. Understanding how the site is used and performing is key and budget should be set for this.
  • The future is smart – Having a website strategy that can quickly adapt and respond to new channels and customer preferences, is hugely important for staying ahead of the competition no matter what the future holds.

Any website has the potential to actively drive business growth but with expert support and a bespoke strategy set in place, your site can do so much more. In the same way that you would invest in training and developing a business manager, you also need to invest in making sure your website is performing at its best.

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