Having a website is one thing, but having an effective website is another matter altogether. MYRON SALANT, web services product manager at Webafrica, outlines five top features that visitors expect from your website.
1. Page speed/loading time
A slow-loading website and slow-loading pages are some of the greatest detractors to your site and will harm your conversion rate before you start. Visitors don’t have time to hang around waiting for your website to load. The simplest thing for them to do is click the back button and go to your nearest competitor’s site even if they are below you in search rankings. By minimising your load time by just a second you can increase your conversions, boost your reputation and increase your page ranking.
2. Website design/call to actions
The next thing that grabs the attention of the visitor is the layout and web design. If your website does not look professional, has pop-ups all over the place or seems to be somewhat complicated to navigate, it will deter even the most loyal customers.
When visitors visit your website they expect it to:
- Organised: It should provide users with a quick and clear understanding of what the site is about. It should display all of your most important selling points and it should guide the users with easy to see calls to action. Remember, direct visitors where YOU want them to go.
- Easy to navigate: A navigable website is the essence of creating a well-organised and user-friendly website. Your website should allow visitors to explore further, while still being able to find their way back to where they started. An easy-to-navigate website will keep your visitors there longer and increase the chance for conversion.
- Offer value: If your users come to your site for your product or service, then make sure you deliver. Craft your website around those products and services and present them in a way that the user knows exactly what you are offering. Most times visitors search for specific topics and keywords, so if you have specific topics make sure the relevant information is there.
3. Self-shot images
The use of stock images on websites, gives it a somewhat more ‘professional’ look, but that is not a true reflection of YOU or YOUR business. When visitors land on your website, they want to see the people behind the brand. By revealing yourself and your business you build rapport that will result in lasting relationships. Another significant aspect of self-managed photography is that it shows willingness to go the extra mile, which to a potential customer is GOLD!
4. Images over content
It is sometimes hard to find the balance between content and images. But it has been proven that people prefer image-heavy websites over content-heavy websites. It is not always possible when you have intricate products or services, but the use of diagrams and infographics can be beneficial. These image-heavy tools convey complex products in simple ways, offering enough space and area for text. We are not saying ditch content completely, because at the end of the day content is key when it comes to website ranking and for those Google bots to pick out keywords. The key is to find the balance.
Visitors expect a guided user-friendly experience, while still being in control of their experience. This means creating a website that does not force users to go to certain pages, does not have pop-ups, auto-play videos or links that activate when hovered over, does not direct and redirect your visitor to various pages, does not expose them to more of your brand or tell them more about your business. These things actually cause visitors to leave because they come looking for specific information, and only if you have their attention will they navigate further. Visitors seldom mind advertising and videos on your websites if they are not placed in the middle of your page where your important content is. Somewhere towards the side is usually the ideal place, because there it will be caught in the visitor’s peripheral vision and he/she will have the option to click and view.
Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults
An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.
By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.
These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.
Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:
- The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
- The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
- The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
- The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
- The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
- The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.
The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been.
“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured. The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.
“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’.
“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves. Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).
“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”
For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.
How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals
Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.
MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down.
“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.
However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding
An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries.
“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.
Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.
“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”
Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.
Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.