And How to Find a Custom Website Design Company That Puts Your Best Foot Forward on the Internet
If you’re like most people, you give yourself a little check in the mirror before heading out to the store or hopping on a Zoom call. Most of the time, you’re good to go. However, there are those rare times where you’ve got a hunk of salad in your teeth or an overgrown nose hair. Or maybe there’s a mystery stain on your shirt collar that won’t make for the best first impression.
Whatever the case may be, it’s better to catch it yourself rather than someone else doing it. That’s why the quality assurance, or QA, process is so important.
We check ourselves before going on a date.
We check our kids before sending them off to school.
Oh, and we definitely check our websites before taking them live.
In the modern era, websites are the proverbial face of a business. It’s the reason why companies are investing so heavily in website design with a focus on the overall user experience. Just think about the last time you shopped for something, looked up a new restaurant, or searched for a movie theater near you. You more than likely Googled what you wanted, which ultimately led you to a website. According to recent statistics, roughly two-thirds of a customer’s shopping journey starts online.
What does that mean? It means the storefront is no longer what’s making the first impression. In the digital marketing world, the website is how customers get acquainted with your company.
That begs the question: How does your website design stack up against the competition? A big part of the answer comes down to quality.
Quality Score – Why Website Design and Functionality Matter
Chances are, you either built out your WordPress website design yourself or hired a custom website design company to build everything out for you. Whatever the case may be, there’s one common element that all websites are judged on – quality. We’re not just talking about how your site visitors perceive you. Search engines also judge your website design and functionality using a quality score. You can almost think of it like a FICO score for your website. The higher your score, the more relevant and trustworthy your site is in the eyes of the search engines.
The two main metrics that are used to measure the quality of a website are site health and authority. The sites that utilize well-designed website design that provides an optimal user experience tend to score high. The sites that are full of errors, broken links, low-quality content, and pages that are slow to load tend to score low.
Spoiler alert: low scoring sites have a difficult time making a good impression on site visitors and search engines.
Fortunately, there are ways to get your site health back up to acceptable levels. One of the core methods to ensure that your website design and functionality are up to par is by performing regular audits. Even if a custom website design company professionally built out your site, you still need to put in the work to maintain it. This is where the process of quality assurance – or QA – comes into play.
Quality Assurance Leads to a Higher Quality Website
To achieve (or maintain) a high quality score with search engines, your website needs to deliver a high quality experience. Google has gone on record that they consider E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) as core attributes when gauging the quality of content. Additionally, we know that Google rates ads with a quality score based upon overall user experience and the quality of landing pages. Keeping that in mind, it stands to reason that search engines judge domains based upon their overall website quality.
Noteworthy fact: Google filed a patent regarding Site Quality Score back in 2012.
Although there’s no black-and-white explanation of which attributes affect site quality the most, our experience as a custom website design company leads us to believe that functionality, security, responsiveness, and website design all play a factor. This is what makes the process of QA so important in relation to your domain’s quality in the eyes of search engines. Additionally, sites that are clean, responsive, and functional prevents revenue loss and minimizes the chance you’ll make a bad online impression with visitors.
Here are our top five reasons why you should regularly QA your website as part of your digital marketing strategy.
#1 – You Could Be Losing Half Your Visitors Due to Site Speed
Slow site speed and page loads are huge pain points to the average site visitor. In fact, roughly half of mobile visitors will abandon a site if the page takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a lot of potential business to lose over a small fragment of time. Furthermore, slow load times may potentially hurt your Google ranking factor. Bottom line: slow load speeds lead to people bouncing from your site to your competition’s.
Our advice? Run a website speed check. This will give you an idea of how long your site is taking to load for customers. Anything longer than two seconds is a concern.
#2 – Your Site Might Have Broken Links
Broken links are like your site having lipstick on its teeth. It’s not a good look, and it’s incredibly conspicuous. Keeping that in mind, it’s always a good idea to go through your site from time to time to confirm that all your links are working. If you created a small business website design with a low page count, you should be able to conduct this yourself.
If you have a more complex Squarespace or WordPress website design with numerous pages, it might be best to get it professionally checked. Sites with an ecommerce function with lots of product pages have a tendency to have broken links. You can contact the digital marketing pros at iFocus to help you ensure that your website is ready for visitors.
#3 – Your Site May Lack Responsiveness
Although your website might look okay on the Dell desktop computer you set it up on many years ago, you need to account for all the different devices out there and how your audience uses the Internet. We’re talking about laptops, desktops, and smartphones – both Apple and Android and everything in between. Even if your target market is niche, your website should have mass appeal.
Making sure your website is mobile responsive is probably the most important thing. Over 60 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices. If your site doesn’t look good on mobile, you’re likely to lose that visitor forever.
#4 – Your Site Might Not Play Well with Certain Browsers
Most people use one browser day-in and day-out. It can be kind of easy to forget that other browsers are out there. However, your customer base is diverse. They use Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. They may even use browsers you’re less familiar with, like Edge, Seamonkey, or Tor.
The point we’re making here is that every browser uses a different rendering engine. What does that mean? It means your website is likely to look different depending on the browser being used. As a company that’s well-versed in digital marketing and small business website design, we can tell you that the more consistent your site looks and works across different browsers, the better.
#5 – You May Have an Outdated Website Design
Hairstyles, clothing, music, and websites. What do they all have in common? They’re all styles that eventually go out of fashion. Although we do appreciate a nice shot of nostalgia every now and again, the verdict on website design is that people prefer a more modern look. Trust us, we’ve tested this theory out. As a custom website design company and marketing agency, we have a ton of data points that illustrate what works and what doesn’t.
So, if you happen to be rocking the same website template from six years ago, or if your design looks like something you coded on GeoCities in 1999, it may be time for a fresh coat of paint. Like it or not, digital marketing is one of those things where looks do matter.
Looking For a Custom Website Design Company That Knows Their Stuff? We Should Chat
If you read this, and it suddenly hit you that your site may be a bit dusty, clunky, or otherwise not very pretty, the good news is that iFocus Marketing can help. Our award-winning agency can take a small business website design and elevate it to something remarkable that gets customers to take notice.
We can also run a battery of diagnostic tests on your site to work out problems like slow load speed, broken links, and other common errors. Additionally, because we’re a custom website design company, that means we can get your site looking exactly the way that you want it, right down to the last pixel. Our agency always keeps up with the latest website design trends and technological advancements to ensure our clients make a positive impression on search engines and site visitors.
Our team will gather some info about your current site along with your core concerns and goals. We will then run a thorough audit and deliver a plan that addresses your site’s issues that includes recommendations for website design updates.
The goal is to get your site error-free and optimized so that your visitors will have high-quality interactions with your company. Kick things off by contacting the iFocus Marketing team today.
Brandon Tietz is a senior digital copywriter at iFocus Marketing with close to a decade of marketing experience. He has written for clients in retail, real estate, automotive, education, manufacturing, healthcare, consumer goods, and several other spaces. In addition to copywriting, he has authored books, published short stories, written for several online and print publications, and was named “Best Local Writer” by The Pitch for his debut novel. He’s currently living the dream in the ‘burbs with his wonderful wife and their two dogs, Dr. Croutons and Professor Pickles.