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By Swyft

In an age of disruption, entrepreneurs have to constantly be on the lookout for technological change that will upend their business model. While the disruptions that garner the most attention tend to be sudden and radically transformative, just as important are the gradual changes that take place over an extended period of time, slowly eating away at those who refuse to evolve.

A great example of this phenomenon is website design. In some important ways, websites haven’t changed much in the last 25 years. In other ways, they’re dramatically different. Standards of design, speed, and content are constantly changing.

Here are a few things to consider as you look to make updates to your website in the New Year.

Mobile Matters More

Anybody who is alive and conscious is aware that people are hopelessly addicted to smartphones. And yet, far too many businesses still rely on website designs that aren’t mobile-friendly. Considering that smartphones and tablets generate a majority of global web traffic and over a third of U.S. retail sales, a web strategy that doesn’t target mobile users is as silly as a telemarketer only calling landlines.

A mobile-friendly site is not one that is merely able to function on smartphones or tablets, but one that is optimized for mobile devices, making it as easy as possible for mobile visitors to navigate the site. Sites that aren’t optimized are penalized in Google rankings. Google has a handy tool to check whether your site is mobile-friendly: it takes about five seconds and it should definitely be your first step before making any changes.

Load Speed

Once upon a time, people were willing to wait five seconds for a website to load. Now users begin getting impatient after two seconds. Low load speed not only drives users away, but it prevents you from attracting new visitors due to its negative effect on SEO. There are multiple factors influencing load speed, including the types and sizes of images, the presence of unnecessary query strings, broken links and parsed JavaScript, among many others.

Whether you designed your site ten years ago or last week, it’s worth checking out how your site compares to others in terms of load speed. GTMetrix offers a free tool that quickly analyzes your site and creates a report showing how your site compares to others on various metrics that affect speed.


There’s nothing that will scare customers away faster than pre-Y2K web design. Even if your website isn’t nearly that old, it could easily appear outdated if it hasn’t been redesigned in the last few years. Take a look at your competitors’ sites and be honest with yourself: does yours look as good? Try to get some objective feedback from customers, colleagues or a focus group.

It’s important to recognize that even if your website looks decent, the design may not align with your brand identity and it may lack some design flair that could boost its productivity. Adding video, for instance, offers a completely different form of media that may broaden your website’s appeal.


Visitors to your site need to be able to quickly understand exactly what you’re offering and how they can take advantage of it. While content that describes your values is important, it should not distract from the concrete product offering.

Your content needs to be crafted to align with your overall brand identity, whether that means youthful and spunky or conservative and button-downed. There’s no simple formula for writing blog posts or white papers. The proper tone and wording depends on your audience, so it’s key that your content reflects the culture, interests and, above all, reading habits that are characteristic of your buyer persona.

Above all else, your website content needs to be written and edited by a professional. Entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of the written word, but it can make or break a business. Just as a well-crafted sentence can turn a visitor into a customer, grammatical errors, typos or sloppy writing can instantly discredit a business.


It’s important to identify what types of conversions matter to your company and orient your website toward driving those conversions. SaaS companies tend to optimize their website for free trial subscriptions, while managed service providers might lead with a free demo request. Regardless of the business model, you will want to optimize for initial top-of-funnel opt-ins like newsletter offers or free resource downloads. These easy call to actions should be strategically displayed, such as above the fold on a landing page or at the end of a blog post. Visitors should not have to think about how to get in touch with you. Just as important, you need to make the conversion process as easy as possible for the users. The amount of information you ask of them must be commensurate with the value the gated content you are offering them in return.

If one type of conversion isn’t generating interest, you may need to rethink how you’re pitching it on the site. Are people not finding it? Is the call to action unclear or the button color not attention-grabbing? The key is to review your website’s backend data to see how visitors are engaging with your site.

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post by Swyft