Nineties nostalgia may be all the rage right now, but thankfully our love of the decade that gave us Tamagotchis and Bill Nye doesn’t extend to the internet.

These days you don’t have to unplug your phone in order to dial up the internet, you’re not asking Jeeves, regularly updating your MSN messenger status or checking your Yahoo email account (hopefully).

Indeed, like the world we live in, the internet has evolved beyond recognition over the past three decades. In fact, it’s still changing – every day there are new tactics, technologies and tools for organizations to utilize online.

But it’s not just the technology that’s changing, the people using it have too. As a result, it’s vital that your web presence evolves alongside them, otherwise you risk getting left behind.

Your users are changing

Today’s audiences are more tech literate than ever before. They have grown up with the internet, embraced its potential and use it as an integral part of their everyday lives.

Perhaps most importantly, they also know what a good website looks and feels like. Thanks to websites like Airbnb and Apple, audiences have a barometer by which they measure all of their digital experiences, and if your web presence fails to match up then they’ll have no problems closing their browser and taking their attention elsewhere.

Good websites are like an amazing waiter – they subtly enhance the overall experience you’re there for – and just like bad service at a restaurant, a substandard user experience will leave a bad taste in your audience’s mouths.

The point is that modern consumers don’t just understand what a great online experience is, they expect one.

 

So what exactly do modern customers expect?

Think of it like this – you wouldn’t develop an advertising campaign, a product or a service without knowing who your target audience is, so why would you build a website without understanding who is going to use it?

You’ve got to give your customers the consideration they deserve. That means understanding what they want, need and expect from your digital presence and delivering it to them.

Just some of the key things to consider when it comes to your website include:

Performance

Poor performance is a turnoff for audiences online. Modern consumers don’t have time for slow loading pages just to get to the information they’re looking for. Your website simply has to be speedy, no matter what platform or device they are viewing it on. You can easily check whether your pages are loading within the recommended 0-3 seconds in Google Analytics.

User experience

Alongside functionality, user experience (UX) is a vital part of the modern web experience. After all you could build the most stunning website on the planet, but if your customers aren’t able to use it then it is going to go to waste. That’s where UX comes in. By taking the time to get to know your customers’ behaviour through web analytics and speaking with them directly, you can map out their online experience and ensure that your website meets those expectations exactly.

Design

There are more than 1.24 billion websites in the world, so it’s vital that yours stands out from the crowd. As we’ve already mentioned your digital presence has got to be easy to use, but it’s also got to be brilliantly designed. Great design doesn’t just look nice, it brings brands to life creating an emotional connection with an audience online. Your website is often the first interaction customers will have with your brand, something that speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for. When you look at your current site, what is it saying about you as a brand?

Interactivity

With the constant bombardment of information, modern users have short attention spans. As a result, it’s vital that your website engages with them in order to grab their attention – and keep it. Interactivity is key to creating engagement. It could be through play, social media, chatbots or one of any number of tools and tactics available to designers and developers. The key takeaway is that interactivity doesn’t just grab your users’ attention, it keeps it, helping you to form deeper connections with your customers.

Content

Content is king. Whether it is through copy, images or video; a constant stream of up-to-date content is important for both your customers and your Google ranking. That means your site has to be fresh, up-to-date, and filled with relevant information. After all, no one likes visiting stale sites with out-of-date information. The same is true of the quality of your content. If it isn’t valuable or interesting to potential customers, then no-one is going to care about it.

Does your website deliver?

It’s clear your customers are evolving but is your web presence keeping up with them?

It’s a crucial question and one that you need to ask honestly about your organization. All too often we see phenomenal brands whose digital presence simply hasn’t kept pace with their customers. At best it means that they risk losing out to their competition -at worst it means they simply stop being relevant.

The problem for many companies, however, is that in today’s ever-changing digital landscape it can be difficult to identify what your customers expect right now, let alone in the future. On top of that, updating your digital presence is a big decision, one that requires investment both in terms of time and resources. It’s essential then that yours is going to stand the test of time. After all, no one wants to invest in a new web presence that will be redundant in a year’s time.

We encourage you to think strategically about your web presence, to ask you to put your customers’ evolving needs at the centre of your decision-making process so that your digital presence doesn’t just serve them today, but well into the future.

If you’d like to find out more about how your audience has evolved, or how your digital presence can stay ahead of the curve, get in touch with our experts now.