Does making a website, a Facebook page or an Instagram account guarantee digital success? Not necessarily! Had this been the case, we would have never seen any defunct website or a failed online business.
Establishing digital presence is the first step but continuing with it for a long term is an enduring yet essential task. Taking lessons from some successful and unsuccessful websites, here are a few tips that can be used to build a strong digital identity:
Regularity in Activity
To establish an online presence is the not the end but the starting point of establishing a long-term association with the online audience. It is crucial to have a website with regularly updated and dynamic content. An inactive website is a huger disappointment than no website at all. Nupedia, famously known as the predecessor of Wikipedia is one of such classic examples of inactivity. Nupedia aimed to establish itself as a professional encyclopedia but with a seven-step rigorous peer to peer review process it could publish only near to 20 articles in its first year. The readers could not retain their interest in the website due to slow activity.
The speed at which a visitor is able to access the content of the website, hugely determines its success. Studies have shown that 47% of the visitors expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Google aims to do it in under half a second. The Financial Times uses Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for quicker retrieval of its webpages. Cookies and Cache must be stored locally for allowing browsers to load static content offline so that the server only needs to send in fresh information thus, improving the speed of loading a webpage.
Cross Platform Consistency
With multiple electronic devices at their disposal, the consumers frequently switch from desktop sites to mobile sites to tablets to applications. A seamless switch would encourage the visitors to access the website or app at their convenience thus, increasing the number of visitors. Personalisations help to store the visitor information and provide similar content across multiple platforms. Facebook gives different yet steady interface over its desktop website, mobile website and app.
Upgrade to Stay up to Date
To ensure the website is more of an asset than a liability to the business, it is important to make regular expenditure on the upgrades of the website. From improving the scalability to adding new features and applications, enhancement of the website keeps the visitors engaged as well intrigued with newer additions.
Also, what goes on behind the scenes while updating a website or an application might be of little interest to most of the users. That is why some applications like Netflix prefer to have microservices (a structure wherein the application is broken into smaller independent services that communicate through gateways). This structure allows to make changes in one or more services without disrupting the whole application or the user experience.
Many successful websites and applications have their ‘lite’ versions which let users with slow internet connections access their content. This is very advantageous in a country like India where 4G services may not be fully functional in all regions. Amazon Kindle Lite (currently available for only Android users) is only 2MB large and lets the users access the basic features along with letting them track the data used by it. This also allows people with limited data packs or limited storage space on their devices use Kindle’s services.