Web Insights 2024 - How to Ensure Your Website is More Than Just a Digital Brochure

Jon Kennett
9 February 2024

Do you see your website as a simple online brochure for your brand? Something you probably “should have'' but don’t have a real strategy behind its existence? We’re digging into the importance of your “digital shop window” and how to make your website stand out in 2024.

As many of you will know, your website is your 24/7 salesperson, your brand's ambassador and your most engaging storyteller. It’s an extension of your brand's heart and soul. However, in truth, many businesses still view their websites as nothing more than static brochures. This perception could do with an update. 

With the rapid emergence of new technologies, the pace in which new content can be created with tools like Chat-GPT, and the shifting plates of SEO, those that understand the importance of their web presence are likely to leave their less invested competitors trailing behind. 

For both B2B and D2C brands, consumers are researching products and services online before reaching out or making a direct purchase. In a recent study (Jan 2024), B2B buyers are 57% - 70% likely to do their buying research before contacting sales. Nine out of ten B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions. Sixty-seven percent of the buyer's journey is now done digitally. Similarly for D2C brands, 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying. The overwhelming majority of retail consumers start their journey with online research (Source: GE Capital Retail Bank).

The digital-first approach, undertaken by the large majority of our prospects, underlines the vital importance of a website that captures and retains the attention and interest of its user base. 

website example - design files

I often chat with businesses that invest tens of thousands on their physical footprint - elaborate window displays, custom graphics and the latest fads in interior shop design, but have set aside minimal investment for their web presence. With footfall on the high street in decline, our website needs to be the online advocate for our brand. It should inspire confidence and champion our cause like any good salesperson. Our digital presence must drive interest, whether that’s physical footfall, online sign ups, getting in touch or making a purchase. 

So how can we make our website more than just a basic brochure for our business? (say that 5 times quickly in a row)

Your Brand Identity
is More Than Just A Logo

Branding is the art of creating a visual identity to match your ideology. Aside from traditional advertising or social media, your website is likely to be the first place your audience sees your brand come to life. It's where colours speak louder than words and every font, image and line of copy weaves your unique brand story. Your brand should look amazing of course, but looks can be deceiving. A fancy logo and palette with no real strategy behind it fails in its core objectives - connecting with your audience, setting the tone and distinguishing yourself from the sea of competitors. 

Think of your branding, messaging and unique value proposition as a digital handshake - warm and welcoming, firm and memorable. These elements should be sincere, confident and reassuring. Does your branding convey these sentiments? Would it stand out against your rivals by comparison? Take a look around and see how you stack up. Talk to your audience, get a feel for how they perceive you - do their interpretations align with your vision? 

Another point to consider is whether your branding represents where you are now, or where you would like to be in the future? The old adage, “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” springs to mind. If you're an aspirational brand with visions of taking your business to new heights, perhaps it’s time to update your wardrobe! 

Nike UVP

At Bozboz, we follow a meticulous approach to branding - ensuring all of our design decisions are rooted in strategy. First impressions count, and we as providers only have a few seconds to capture attention, convey our proposition, and demonstrate how we solve problems for our audience. Great branding incorporated into a meticulously designed website plays a powerful role in shaping perceptions and inspiring action. Check out our latest case study with Rhodes Music to see how we've interwoven their branding throughout the website.

Rhodes Music Branding

Engaging With Your Audience
is Easier Than Ever Before

Websites are no longer mere information portals. Today, they're interactive experiences with a multitude of clever features to engage audiences in real-time. They are platforms that not only tell your story but also listen to your audience's responses, adapt to their preferences, and converse with them. That's the power of a modern website. 

With CRM platforms like Hubspot becoming more integral to brands who want to work smarter, not harder, those that are stuck in spreadsheets or out of date tech are missing out on a plethora of integrations that could save them time and money, whilst at the same time providing users with incredible customer service and experiences. 

Hubspot desktop image

Technology should work harder for us and it is more than capable of doing so. If you have lots of manual processes, or you find yourself doing the same laborious digital tasks day in and day out, you may not be aware of just how much time could be saved with a modern, and sophisticated tech stack.

It’s also likely that your rivals are developing systems and processes that enable them to engage with their prospects almost effortlessly with automation, AI Tools, and personalisation. From automated lead nurturing sequences to personalised landing page experiences, the opportunities are vast and becoming more accessible every day. 

Take some time to think about repetitive tasks that could be handled by tech, or consider initiatives that you’d like to be doing but don’t have enough time to reach. Better yet, share your frustrations with a specialist. You may be surprised at what’s available.

Don’t Let Your Tech
Limit Your Output

An advanced Content Management System (CMS) can make such a big difference to the hard working marketers and web admins who are responsible for keeping your site up to date. And those who are actively in charge of content need autonomy to be successful in their roles. If you want to attract, engage and retain website visitors, they need a reason to keep coming back to your site. Offers are great, but value added content creates advocacy. “How to” guides, insightful podcasts, talking head videos, thought leadership content - these are the things people want to see and share. However, if you need a developer to update your site every time you want to publish a piece of content, your audience might lose interest because of technical bottlenecks, or worse, never find your site in the first place. 

WordPress image

The beauty of a modern CMS lies in its simplicity. The days of tangled code and complex back-end systems that only a developer could navigate should be a thing of the past. Today's CMS platforms must be configured with the user in mind – intuitive, user-friendly, and accessible to all. This simplicity means that updating your website, adding new content like blogs and landing pages, or tweaking the layout no longer requires a deep dive into the world of CSS, PHP and Javascript. Even the most non technical of us can manage our website content efficiently, ensuring it remains fresh, relevant, and engaging without constant technical support. We speak with brands on a daily basis who share a single common pain point; content limitations resulting from out of date tech. Bozboz’s central messaging now centres around this very specific issue - “Our goal is simple - to liberate visionary founders, marketing mavericks and digital trailblazers from the shackles of outdated technologies”.

Your site also needs to be responsive across all modern devices and it should load very quickly. We’ve all experienced a website that takes forever to load because the images are too big, or there’s a million pop ups to exit before you even get to the home page. On the first page of Google search results, the average page speed is 1.65 seconds. One in four visitors would abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load (BrowserStack). The takeaway here is to invest in performance, because if your site is slow, chances are it will either struggle to be found, or people will leave before you get a chance to “wow” them.

Google lighthouse score image

Embracing a flexible and sophisticated CMS will transform your site into an adaptable and responsive digital space, simplifying content management and making your website a true asset to your business.

Keep learning and evolving

The continuous improvement methodology or growth driven design approach, recommends leveraging real data and user insights to inform ongoing design and development decisions. If you want your site to be more than just a basic brochure for your audience, it’s important to understand how users are engaging with it. 

If we know that visitors are getting stuck in the funnel and dropping off before they take a desired action, then urgent action needs to be taken. 

We also need to know how people find us, what devices they use, what content they engage with most frequently, what’s working, what isn’t working, so that we can make an informed decision about where to invest our marketing, design and development budgets.

Google Search Console image

Whilst data is the north star, experience and digital expertise can also feed into the continuous improvement process. At Bozboz, we provide managed support that factors in data alongside proactive advice and strategic consulting. As digital specialists, we’ve likely tried and failed more often than we care to admit, and there’s a lot of value in that for our clients. We’re able to make recommendations and provide advice based on our real world experiences working with hundreds of clients over the last 15 years.

A site should never sit still, it should continuously evolve to keep up with the technical and competitive landscape. Our rivals will be looking for ways to gain market share, so we need to have our finger on the pulse. 

Take a Strategic Approach to Digital Transformation in 2024

In my experience, embracing a strategic approach to web design and development can transform businesses. We've helped client's evolve their websites from online placeholders to powerful growth engines. Check out our ESTAS case study to read more about their transformation journey.

Estas case study

We recommend several core steps in any digital maturity journey:

  • Commission a brand strategy phase - uncover your strengths and weaknesses, review your competitors, conduct audience research, establish your position, define your tone of voice and cement your unique value proposition. Build your brand on solid foundations! 
  • Create a visual identity that aligns - choose a partner that understands the science of branding - someone that can find creative inspiration from the strategy to become your brand guardian. This will ensure that all of your digital platforms are cohesive and impactful. 
  • Invest in a website discovery - this is the single most important aspect of any successful website project. Without a meticulous discovery phase, the project could go off track, or worse, off budget. Set aside time to work with a partner who understands the functional and non functional elements of your project. Create user stories that clarify expectations for each user type, figure out browser and device compatibility, ponder the depths of accessibility. These types of actions will lead to a site that is engaging, robust and scalable to meet the needs of your brand. 
  • Ensure you have great hosting - often an afterthought, but not all hosting providers are created equal. You may think your £5 per month hosting fee is fine for what you need, but what security protocols are in place to keep your data safe? What happens in the event of a cyber attack? Can you have a separate staging site to test and iterate? Can your site be requested and accessed quickly by users? We have explored multiple solutions over the years, including having our own dedicated servers, and it’s clear that by investing in robust hosting, you get peace of mind. 
  • Embrace a consultative approach to ongoing support and maintenance - many agencies will be reactive to your needs, and that’s fine for a lot of businesses, but if you really want to scale, and move away from having a basic brochure site, partner with a proactive agency who gets to know your business and takes a genuine interest in your success. This is a win-win scenario for everyone. Meet up regularly, discuss your priorities, map out your growth plan, get advice, seek input, learn from the data. Your digital partner should have a solid understanding of all things digital, including SEO and marketing. At Bozboz, we have a dedicated Account Director and Project Management Team who are deeply invested in the growth and success of our client book. 

Other notable recommendations:

  • Implement a CRM like Hubspot to handle your sales pipeline, prospecting, marketing automation, customer service, personalisation and reporting. Keep everything in one place to avoid data silos and inefficiencies that can be costly. 
  • Build a marketing and communications strategy that aligns with your growth plans and drives engagement with your brand. Simply having an Instagram Account or paying for Google Ads without a clear set of goals can be a drain in time and money. Agree KPIs (key performance indicators), set targets, map out the objectives of your campaigns e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy. Measure, test, learn and always improve. 
  • Develop an SEO strategy to increase your brand's visibility. SEO is an ongoing activity that requires time and attention to be effective, but is a crucial component in your digital maturity journey. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right dedication, approach, and support, you can begin to gain more search engine real estate, which will lead to higher levels of site traffic, better qualified enquiries and greater sales.

Is 2024 time to revisit your digital budgets? Do you want to make a website that stands out? If so, book a call with us to see if we’re a good fit to help!

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