Creating a website that you’re proud of — that truly represents your business, and engages customers, and also ranks well with search engines — is difficult. For some of us, it’s an ongoing struggle. And an expensive one. Few companies have helped more people navigate the process than Wix.
Approachable, builder-friendly and affordable, Wix is a globally popular web development company for all sorts of reasons. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface empowers people who possess no tech skills to create a good-looking, functional website. Its free templates and easy back-end e-commerce management allows individuals to become online merchants without relying on Etsy or Amazon. Its ADI helps small business owners expeditiously create an online shingle with better branding and messaging than the competition’s. Though it’s not the largest of web builder companies, it’s an exciting and innovative company that’s helped thousands of people take their business or personal brands to the next level.
Thus, it was with great excitement to get perspective from Shelly Cohen, Head of Business Development at Wix.com, about web design trends and topics of significance to small and medium-sized business owners.
Read Shelly’s notes (shown in the block quotes below) for popular themes for today’s content marketing, based on her experience at Wix.com.
1. Merchants are moving to mobile.
What we’re seeing is that managing your business on the go is becoming more and more important. We know that buyers are moving to mobile. The number of mobile transactions has doubled since 2009. But it’s not just the buyers using mobile; it’s also the merchants.
Merchants have less time. They like to multi-task. Wix makes it quite easy to manage all aspects of business either on mobile or desktop. But we see merchants using mobile applications to manage their stores on the go. They do everything from chatting with customers (at all times) to managing inventory, bookkeeping, and even marketing activities like creating coupons.
2. Your brand story is essential.
Buyers today are already trained in comparing online offers. They need something unique – an experience or message that touches them – in order to buy from a small or medium business. This is even more important for small business owners who really need to stand out. Of course, your prices need to be competitive, but I would recommend also to show why you are unique.
For example, if you’re a farmer, highlight the fact that you sell locally grown products, to draw people with an awareness of sustainability. If you’re a clothing shop, tell the story of a shirt’s design; explain the qualities and origin of the fabric. What’s so special about your products?
3. Creative portfolio websites to tell your story visually.
Among creative agencies, we see more use of advanced design like parallax scrolling, more videos, more animation – not just the use of images. We also see use of text in design. Different fonts are unlimited with Wix, and one nice thing is that a designer can upload their own fonts.
Typically, agencies would have more technical skills than the everyday person. If that’s the case, the person building the site can use Wix Code components to create something really customized.
4. Store assets in the cloud for a visually rich, quick-loading website.
We were speaking about crazy designs, custom code, and video elements for websites. Many websites are slow to load because people upload all those elements directly to their site. What you need to do is use Wix Galleries or Wix Video so that images and video don’t load directly from your site, but from the cloud.
Also, create a landing page: a one-pager with less content, yet very focused on the brand and target audience. This shortens the loading time. If you’re a blogger, at least minimize advertising so it isn’t on the first page that users would reach. Have it on the secondary pages.
5. Remember that keyword clouds and blurbs are yesterday’s SEO news.
In the past, people thought they could just blurb something or create a keyword cloud somewhere in the footer. This is totally old news. You have to create really good quality content that is unique and accurate. You cannot just simply copy and paste portions of content. It needs to create value for your buyers and audience. This quality content is going to serve you in multiple ways: It will create interest for your store and site. Also, search engines are now trained to understand where there’s quality content rather than a cloud or blurb of words.
We discussed earlier that websites are becoming more visual – more graphics, more video. What’s important in optimization of these elements is alt text. It is basically a description of the images that search engines can read and understand what the visual element is. Any visual element on your site, add the alt text.
6. Know your target customer and personalize the message accordingly.
The first thing for any business, including a creative agency, is to really research who the buyer is. Who is your target audience. Fit the message and design to them.
When reaching out to your database, segment as much as possible. Don’t send bulk emails. When you know a group’s needs and characteristics, create different email marketing for that group, highlighting what would be important to them.
7. Non-techies, you can DO this! (Or get it done.)
The first feedback we usually hear from new users is, ‘Wow it’s stunning, I didn’t know I could do that myself.‘ The second most common is, ‘Oh wow, I can also do that!‘
We have an ambassador program that operates globally, in many cities from LA to Rio de Janeiro. Meetups for our entire community are hosted by Wix experts. They’re so passionate about Wix — and sometimes these meetups draw up to 300 or 400 people.