Web Design Savannah: Opening Things Back Up

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Web Design Savannah: After COVID-19

nonprofits and coronavirus

Let’s face it… getting through the past few months, with all that Coronavirus: COVID-19 has thrown at us, has not been easy. Nearly every business in the country (the world) has struggled to find a place where they can remain viable while protecting employees and customers. Unfortunately, many have met a dire fate that no one could have predicted, even in January. Conversely, many have thrived by pivoting to a model that has sustained them while also conforming to the regulations put in place by various government agencies. And, there have even been some businesses — by luck of the draw — that were not impacted at all, simply because there business model allowed them to operate business-as-usual.

One thing we’ve noticed in our local (Savannah) landscape is that businesses that were already positioned for online operation — online ordering, e-commerce, online scheduling, and other online automation — have either continued operations without a major impact, or they have thrived in the midst of many of their competitors simply not being prepared.

Why Is Web Design Savannah Important?

Nobody Wants To See Another St Pat's Like This

Many would say that web design is a trivial concern after all we’ve been through. Yes, and no. Businesses that invested in their online capability prior to COVID-19 were prepared. They were prepared to transition their customers to a slightly different way of thinking. And, maybe more importantly, they were able to get the word out quickly because their SEO was already humming along, so people who went looking for alternative ways to buy goods and services found these companies who had already made the investment.

If you just started making an effort to improve your online footprint, in light of COVID-19, good on you. It won’t help you a lot in this moment, but you will be prepared for next time — and there will be a next time. If you haven’t yet considered how to improve your online capability yet, here are some things to consider going forward. 

Get Your Business Listings Up-To-Date

Having consistent business listings on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, and others is fundamental to your business being trusted and found online when prospective customers go searching. Each listing should contain current and accurate information on your business, your location(s), and how to contact you. None is more important than Google My Business (GMB). If you’re not sure what that is, check out this article on how to get GMB set up. Also, scan the other listing sites to make sure they have accurate information on your business — mainly, name, phone number, and address.

If your number or address has changed, and is not correct in various online citations, Google will degrade your listing and search engine ranking because it will determine that it can’t trust the accuracy of the information. This is critical!

Does Your Web Design Serve Your Business?

I realize that you may not know the answer to this question. Many deem web design to be a subjective, art-based, opinion. It is not. Sure, web design aesthetics are subjective, but far from the most important element of your web design.

Web design should do a few things right. Miss the mark and no matter how good the site looks, it may never be found by a single person online. What should your web design entail? here’s a little checklist to go by.

  • Website Goals Are Defined

    To be successful online, this is the first step when setting out to plan and design your website. The goals of the website should align with the goals of the business. Every element on the website should have a purpose (in the perfect world) and visitors to your website should never be left wondering what they should do when they land on your site. Effective calls-to-action should guide them and the content should answer their questions.

  • Flawless First Impression

    This entails a number of things, but remember that your website may be the very first encounter a prospective customer has with your business. If it takes a long time to load, you lose. If it doesn't render correctly in their browser, you lose. If it doesn't work on their device, you lose. If they have to spend more than a few seconds to find what they are looking for, you lose. It literally takes 0.05 seconds for a visitor to your website to form an opinion about your business. Fail that initial test, and you lose.

  • Clean, Crisp, Clear Content

    The content on your website should answer the website visitors' questions. Believe it or not, your website should not just be a self-promotional billboard. Most of your prospective customers don't care anything about you or your business. They want to know if you can solve their problem or answer their question. That may be something as simple as telling them what's on your menu and making it easy to find. Or, letting them know whether or not you have a part in stock without having to call and wait 10 minutes.

  • Get Found With SEO

    There is no doubt that there are many good looking websites that never get any attention. You may have a beautifully-designed website that is just gathering internet dust because it was not designed with SEO in mind. Granted, SEO requires skill, time, and patience, but why have a website if no one can find it? Many factors impact SEO — page structure, content optimization, site host performance, backlinks, page authority and age, and much, much more. SEO is worth the investment, even if it's a basic start. Websites do not get found online without it. There are over 1.7 billion websites in existence. That's a very big haystack.

  • Stick To Convention

    Think you have a great idea for a website design that no one else has? That is a losing proposition right out of the gate. Consumers are accustomed to certain conventions on the web and they don't like trying to figure out your grand idea. Make sure your contact info is readily viewable on every page, your navigation is near the top-right, your pages consist of clean HTML that renders in every browser, and keep the animation and fireworks to a bare minimum.

  • Social Proof Is Like Gold

    If you have a service or product, and customers have reviewed it, make sure those reviews are visible on your website. Converting website visitors to customers is a trust-building process. If you can prove to them that others trust you, that makes it easier for them to trust you. Pure human nature.

  • Use Quality Media

    If you have photos of your products or relevant images that demonstrate your services, make sure they convey the same quality you want your business to invoke. Out-of-focus images, pictures taken on a polaroid, and hokey clip-art do just the opposite. Your website is a view portal into your business and everything matters.

  • Mobile First

    It's very likely that most visitors to your website will see it on a mobile device first. If your website is not responsive (meaning that it doesn't render properly on a mobile device), you will likely lose any chance to win that customer. Consumers are extremely picky about online experience. They form opinions quickly, and choices are usually endless. Don't miss what may be your one chance to pull them into your funnel.

Are You Ready For Savannah Tourists?

Surprisingly, we find that many businesses in Savannah still have a local mindset when it comes to their online presence. Savannah, by many measures, is still a small town, and it has a lot of small-towness about it. Everyone knows everyone, or at least someone they know. Just because you have a local business that has good word of mouth doesn’t mean much. It may be sustaining you, but the smart businesses in town have figured out that reaching visitors that flock to Savannah is where the big bak for your buck happens.

Savannah enjoys an inordinate number of tourists for its size. With over 6 million tourism-related visits annually, Savannah’s economy thrives on the influx of dollars. Notice the number of hotels that continue to be built in downtown Savannah? They’re not doing that for fun.

Your Savannah web design is critical in getting your piece of that tourism pie. Think you’re business doesn’t rank because you are located in midtown or Southside Savannah? Think again. Uber has created a tourism economy that brings tourists to the islands, even south to places like Sandfly and Bona Bella. Midtown neighborhoods like Thomas Square, Ardsley Park, and Habersham are all enjoying tourism-related business because it is now very accessible by Uber and other ride-share companies.

The reason your web design matters is because that’s where tourists are finding destinations. If you are advertising on restaurant placemats, printed brochures, or radio/TV, you are not getting the max return on your ad budget. A good SEO implement on your website can run circles around all of these ad platforms. Digital advertising is king and the businesses who invest there are winning.

Don't Get Complacent Now?

It would appear that COVID-19 — relevant to Savannah — may be on the downside of the curve. With all of the politics injected, it’s difficult to find any real truth. But, we are inching towards opening the city. People are back out on the streets in the city, and tourists are sure to follow.

If you survived, that’s awesome. The caution is to not become complacent. If you haven’t yet taken steps to shore up your online presence and capabilities, now is the time. According the “experts”, this will not be the last event we see like this. In fact, many point to the coming fall and winter as another potential outbreak. As we begin to open back up and your business starts to see customers come back, you should start thinking ahead to how your online capability could better sustain you if, and when, we find ourselves back in a similar predicament. 

If we can be of assistance to your business, please contact us at (912) 388-1440 or hello@delegaldigital.com. You can also reach us here.

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