Your website doesn’t have to be Top 100.
It just has to work for you, be effective for you and the mission of your business or organization.
But it needs to be effective. Lord knows, websites of the 20th Century just don’t work any longer (even though many are still around). Websites even two or three years old don’t work any longer. It’s a whole other ballgame on the internet of 2017 and, let’s face it, a whole new ballgame will begin in the coming years, too.
Website design continues to evolve – and quickly – and it’s amazingly easy for a website to get out-of-date, old in a very short time.
Put bluntly, here we are in 2017 and roughly 90 percent of all websites two to three years old are simply out of date, not current enough to be as useful as they could. And, maybe, not useful at all. Websites have to be dynamic today because of the rapid changes in search algorithms, the creation of advance website tools and analytics, design and functionality changes.
Does your website work for you?
Is it, for example, converting simple visits into some form of action? Is it selling your product? Is it bringing in new customers? Is it selling tickets to your events? Is it drawing supporters and donors. Is it doing anything to advance your over all digital efforts?
Or is it simply an electronic billboard, noticed but then forgotten by digital travelers on the information superhighway?
While we can all be hyperactive and all sexy and stuff on the digital channels, the social channels, email and all the other tools and platforms available today, all that activity and effort is wasted if we’re not getting traffic back to our base camp – our website – and once there getting those visitors to take some action.
After all is said and done your website is the only place you actually own in the digital spaces. It is the only place over which you have control. It is your storefront. It is your place of business. It’s where your cash register resides.
The company, Receiptful, which is the business of helping online stores convert site visits into actual sales, published a study last year in which it found only 7.91 percent of visits to sites engaged in ecommerce (stores, mostly) resulted in actual sales.
This means 92 percent of all visits to ecommerce websites resulted in only a passing glance. The site visitors moved on without conducting any business.
Landing pages are the front door
There are lessons here for all online marketeers, even if ecommerce isn’t your primary focus.
The lesson is websites are very different today than they were only three or four years ago.
For quite a while, now, we’ve been preaching to our clients the importance of content marketing and, even more to the point, the importance of landing pages on a multi-dimensional website.
It’s actually a difficult lesson to teach. The vast majority of us are stuck on the notion that our website’s home page is the most important page. That’s just not true in the digital spaces of today. The most important pages of any website – the places to which most visitors initially arrive – are those pages where your actual content resides. And, even deeper, those pages on which your call-to-action resides: sales, tickets, donations…whatever is the primary goal of your website in the first place.
Nearly all traffic to any website these days comes to the website from links noticed and clicked on from the vast array of digital channels – and, yes, even search queries.
“Indeed, the homepage is not what it used to be,” Receiptful’s Danny Wong told Venture Beat’s Stewart Rogers. “Shoppers increasingly enter stores through everything but the front door. Product pages are no longer just a mid-funnel milestone in a shopper’s journey. In some cases, product pages are the first point of interaction a customer has with a brand (case in point: product listing ads). Therefore, stores may want to ensure their product pages are engaging, standalone assets.”
So, okay, that may be a bit of jargon but the point is this: traffic comes to your landing pages (in this case, product pages). It is your landing pages which deserve the most attention to detail, the most thought. They need to be helpful, moving the customer or supporter to take action quickly and with as little fuss (extra clicks) as possible.
We worked a few years ago with a restaurant scaling up into multiple stores on a regional basis. The restaurant hired a fancy web design firm for the site design and hired us for the digital marketing. It didn’t go so well. The web design firm created a beautiful website. It was really pretty; nice, alluring photos. Made one’s mouth water just looking at them.
But the only opportunity for any action by a website visitor was to make a lunch or supper reservation. That’s all well and good but self-limiting because the site had no opportunity for the restaurant to engage with customers through content marketing, merch sales or any other form of direct ecommerce. Make a reservation. That was it.
All the digital marketing had to be built into the site as an after-market creation, kinda like after-market loud mufflers on your new Cadillac – and you can image that didn’t really work very well.
Websites have to be workhorses today. Sure, they must still be pretty, alluring – compelling, even – but they also have to be put to work.
Without a hard working website as a primary tool businesses and organizations are limiting themselves.
The Top 100 websites
So, okay, those Top 100 websites? Well, you might guess what they are: Google, of course. It’s sister site, YouTube, comes in at No. 2 and Facebook is No. 3, followed by Baidu, the leading Chinese-language search engine, Yahoo and Wikipedia.
All this according to user stats compiled by Alexa, the Amazon company (and, yes, the home voice robot).
Using the Alexa figures, Singapore web-hosting company Vodien created a nice infographic displaying the universe of the Top 100 sites.
“We’ve grouped websites into categories based on what is the most likely reason their traffic is so high,” explains Vodien. “For example, Indeed.com is a business-oriented website, but it is most often used as a search engine for job listings. Yelp could be called a business or social media site, but we’ve categorized it as an informational database because we believe that most visitors probably use it as such: a database of reviews.
“Each circle’s size indicates how highly ranked within the top 100 a website is. The largest circles are within the top 10, the next largest are within the top 20, and so on.
“You can also see which websites are connected as businesses. For instance, Alphabet Inc. owns Google, YouTube, and a few other sites. These websites are grouped together and included in a larger bubble labeled with the organization they fall under.”