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Yogi SchulzBusiness leaders often think about using the web to advance their business plans. While web strategy is hardly a new topic, recent developments and the surprising persistence of horrible bad practices suggest a little management engagement in a web strategy makeover can produce practical benefits.

Here are the topics to consider as you improve your web strategy:

Engaging design

Is your website visually appealing? Is it easy to find information?

Achieving an engaging website design is difficult. When is a minimalist page layout appealing, and when is it dull? How should navigation be organized to reduce the bounce rate and increase stickiness while avoiding complexity that confuses visitors? What content creates value without overwhelming visitors?

For a quick view of what design concepts to absolutely avoid, spend a few minutes at this website: Breaking Bad: 21 Bad Website Examples. You never want to be featured on this website.

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In my experience, simpler, visually pleasing layouts build reputation and interaction better than overly colourful and flashy ones. Web content is more engaging if displayed as a short paragraph with a discreet ‘More’ link for detail rather than as a vast, long web page.

An investment in professional design almost always produces a superior product.

Smartphone apps

Should you offer a smartphone app?

In recent years, many companies have felt they need a smartphone app in addition to a website to convey their message and build their audience. A well-designed app supports personalization, extends engagement and builds loyalty. However, that only happens after a person has been persuaded to install your app.

It’s become essential to offer your smartphone app for both Android and iOS. While that adds to the cost, you’ll miss a significant audience if you provide only one.

Website design for mobile devices

Have you struggled to view content and navigate desktop-oriented websites on a mobile device?

Websites have to look good and work well across various devices with different display sizes to avoid this problem.

Support for many display sizes has taken on more importance as website traffic that originates from mobile devices recently reached 50 percent of the total. Companies can support many display sizes by using either an adaptive or a responsive design.

Most companies have abandoned the alternative of operating a separate mobile website alongside their website oriented to larger monitors.

Social media presence

It surprises me that many companies don’t maintain a company page on social media and post regularly. Perhaps companies prefer to stay away from the craziness on social media. Nonetheless, a social media presence is an effective and low-cost way to drive traffic to your website and build followers.

You can promote your company’s products and services better and accelerate the process of building followers by paying for advertising and Google Ads.

A brilliant website that no one has ever heard of or seen won’t help you much.

Simple contact

How difficult is it for prospects and customers to contact you?

Some companies make contact amazingly complex with long forms to complete.

Not displaying telephone numbers appeals to some companies because phone calls are more expensive to answer than emails. On the other hand, many customers prefer human contact over email threads.

Many companies insist on annoying customers with too much on-hold music and complex telephone menus. Considerable advances in software to better integrate customer relations management systems, call centres, and integrated voice response systems suggest that many companies should review the adequacy of their customer contact strategy. SPLICE Software is a Canadian supplier of such software.

I like a mail-to button because it’s cheap to implement, simple to use and automatically provides you with the sender’s signature block. Displaying your address and a map that illustrates your location builds customer confidence.

Relevant content

Has your website become increasingly irrelevant with declining page views?

Many companies start their websites with terrific content and then gradually lose focus as other priorities push new content creation to the back burner.

Most companies are full of great stories and content. Unfortunately, the employees are often too close to see it. Outsourcing content creation is a viable strategy for some companies to keep content appealing. Here’s what to consider when outsourcing.

Most people think they are great writers. Unfortunately, that’s mostly a delusion. Here are some tips for writing great content for websites.

Content management

In my experience, using a content management system (CMS) to handle content for your website and maintain a consistent brand is key to containing cost and maintaining sanity. Please read this article if you’re unsure which CMS is best for you.

These ideas will help your web presence grow your business.

Yogi Schulz has over 40 years of information technology experience in various industries. Yogi works extensively in the petroleum industry. He manages projects that arise from changes in business requirements, from the need to leverage technology opportunities and from mergers. His specialties include IT strategy, web strategy and project management.

For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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