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3 smart websites that do it best

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Life may offer few guarantees, but here's one I can offer: I guarantee there are company websites providing a better user experience to their customers than your current site is providing to yours. Don't be too disheartened, there are few perfect sites that do it all correctly. And even if there were, it's only momentary as sites are getting smarter every day.

So when is a website more than a website? When it transcends from being utilitarian to becoming the very best reflection of a company. In essence, it shows products and services in a better light and provides an experience in which people want to engage. This is online "nirvana," and it's something that's rarely achieved. 
3 smart websites that do it best

When you don't evolve, you quickly get left behind

With online experiences evolving at a blistering pace, what was considered a best practice just 18 months ago has dramatically changed. Websites that haven't been touched since 2010 "look and feel" dated, and sites that are more than four years old are absolute dinosaurs. All sites lack something, whether it's quality content, the latest technology, or thoughtful interactions. In reality, when it comes to websites, today's best practices are tomorrow's MySpace or AltaVista, depending on how old you are.

If your website isn't your No. 1 sales channel, it will be soon

It's one thing when you don't know that your company website is underperforming, but to know and do nothing is detrimental to your business. A recent study conducted by Demandbase and Focus reported that 80 percent of all websites are not effective at servicing their customers. Progressive companies are always enhancing their sites and making iterative adjustments. These companies test subtle changes to small online segments before anything is rolled out to the mass market.

These sites take advantage of advanced UX technology and can be identified by key interactions, such as intuitive search or responsive components. The best sites are providing customers with a better user experience, relevant content, personalized recommendations, or innovative features. Those that are leaders in the industry bundle all these factors for an extremely effective site.

Prioritize your marketing budget

Budgets have become too far skewed in the wrong direction as companies are fixated on increasing traffic and opening up the top of the conversion funnel. It's a short-term strategy to buy more traffic to increase conversions and it's very likely that you'll corrode your conversion rate. Additionally, you'll hit a ceiling where increasing your costs will result in diminishing returns. Smart companies follow a long-term strategy focused on the middle of the funnel where there's always opportunity to optimize conversion rates through a superior user experience. The result? You'll build the equity of your digital channel, which is one of the best ways to balance your digital spend.

Sites that get it right

So ask yourself this, of all the sites you went to today, what percentage of them left you with the feeling of "wow!" this company really hit it out of the park? Take a look at my three picks for smart sites and see how the core features are their most identifiable and memorable elements.

 

Comments

Gus Horvath
Gus Horvath March 27, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Very insightful article that delivers a very strong message.....you can never stand still when trying to understand what motivates your customer or potential customer.

Andrew Dixon
Andrew Dixon March 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Excellent spotlight on 3 sites that created a great user experience.

Grace Nasri
Grace Nasri March 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Great article. It's so true that sites that aren't frequently updating/optimizing their UI/UX start to look dated really quickly. FindTheBest relaunched its site in December for just that reason. Our initial design looked more like an Excel spreadsheet. With our redesign, we've improved our UI and UX--helping our users see and understand the data presented within a context.