Remember Internet cafes? There are still a few around, but it's not that long since there were a lot of them, and for many people they provided the only opportunity to experience the World Wide Web. Dial-up access, paid for by the half hour, with a cheap cup of coffee and surrounded by other geeks all watching a small screen take ten minutes to load up a website was once all the rage.
If that sounds like another world, it's because it pretty much is, although it's only about ten to fifteen years ago. Our use of the internet and its functions and capabilities has since exploded, and today it’s hard to think of many aspects of life that don’t have some form of online activity involved. Ten years ago the concept of website design was pretty much unheard of. A website was a simple collection of images and words, with perhaps an email link for making contact.
The Rise of E-Commerce
Things started to change when the penny dropped that a website could be an effective way to sell things to people. As the capability and potential uses of a website started to improve, and as more people started to get online and connection speeds improved, website functionality started to improve dramatically, and websites became something to sit and browse. The concept of online selling and e-commerce emerged, and many sites became online catalogues of products for sale, with analytics starting to be used to capture basic data about who was visiting the site.
Data Defines Design
Fast-forward to the present and the internet plays a major part in our lives. Whether booking a holiday or booking a doctor's appointment, buying a car or buying your week’s groceries, the design, function and capabilities of a website are sophisticated and efficient.
As well as this sophistication and efficiency in design and functionality, there is now a very sophisticated industry capturing data from website users like never before. So for businesses in all sectors, whether the business is a website design agency in Hampshire or a school uniform supplier in Edinburgh, a website is a major part of their growth strategy.
Evolution not Revolution
It’s fair to say that the development of internet functionality has reached a plateau after two decades of constant development. Businesses have had to update and redesign their sites a number of times during that preceding period, but now we are at a point where website design improvements are more about evolution than revolution. It now about optimisation.
Websites drive customer engagement, identify prospects, forge relationships and seal deals. They are a strategic tool, gathering user data like never before. Split-testing tells us which version of a website customers prefer. Cookies let us know they’ve visited before and the content they prefer. Bounce rates tell us if a page is popular or a waste of time. Combined with social media and intelligent use of email, a website is a crucial part of the sales development process, and visitor analysis now delivers data to refine functionality and user experience almost at an individual level.
Today’s website is a vitally important way to win trust, make more sales and delight the customer.
We are experts in all things digital! If you would like to discuss your website and digital marketing strategy, why not get in touch with us! Atelier is an award winning web design agency in Hampshire