Communication in corporate websites is expected to leap into the future during 2018, in terms of the technical capabilities. Topping the list of changes are page load speeds and internal search engine functionality, which are both in need of updates. On top of this, there will be an increase in visitor interaction through 'chatbots' and other artificial intelligence forms.
From last year, page speed has more than doubled as an area of emphasis according to the respondents in the Web Management Survey – 26% in 2017 to 59% in 2018. Internal search engines overall are usually considered less relevant than page speed; however, both received the same attention from survey respondents. Content management systems are also an aspect that has spiked interest since the previous survey year.
Internal search engine
Internal search engine
Content management system
Content management system
Source: Comprend’s Web Management Survey 2018
Statistically, 25% of users will abandon a site that has not loaded within four seconds. When considering the user experience (UX) and quality of a corporate website, page speed is now an important component of consideration. In the Web Management survey, 63% of respondents answered that they monitor page loading speed regularly either for all devices or desktop and/or mobile only. 16% plan to start monitoring page load speed soon. The results show that only 36% of respondents had no page speed monitoring process or were unsure if they did.
Due to the increased digitalisation and online awareness, speed is expected to work harmoniously with a corporate website and aid in building a professional and reliable business reputation. It is a coalition that puts the digital specialists in a corner – how will page speed change over time and what can companies do to optimise their landing pages in the best way possible?
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) is a collaborative project from Google and Twitter designed to create fast mobile pages. It is created with an HTML page designed to be 'lightweight' and therefore load quicker than average. Google are now marking their pages with an AMP symbol on the results page when mobile searching to advise users of quicker than average webpages.
Speed of a website can be managed manually through a range of websites such as Google PageSpeed Insights, Dynatrace and Webpagetest (which allows testing from international locations and different internet browsers). Furthermore, there are companies providing ongoing reports on webspeed, including UpTrends which sends regular reports to the business on speed of the website, while solving the root cause when downtime of speed occurs.
Source: Comprend's Web Management Survey 2018
Page speed can drastically affect whether stakeholders dedicate time on corporate websites. Performance is a key component to the overall brand of a company, therefore there are major reasons to increase, or keep a consistent page speed.
Onsite searches provide a plethora of information, giving insight to details buried within the corporate site. In general, people will use an internal site search engine when on a website. Currently, browsing through webpages – banners, drop bars, etc – is the most common navigation method, however as websites become more intricate, uncovering desired content can prove to be difficult. Interestingly, research has shown that women will more likely navigate a website, whereas men prefer to search for finding the required information.
Coming into the newer era of technology, 55% of millennials use search engines (mainly Google) to learn about companies and their products. Off-site search engines play a key role for increasing web-based popularity. The graph below adapted from SmartInsight data shows the percentage of population over eight years that use search engines – 2018 onwards is a projection of future trends. By 2019, over half the worldwide population will be using a search engine to find online material. This increase in behaviour means corporate websites must make themselves available through all platforms; at the risk of losing online visibility.
Graph representation of the projected percentage of the population whom will use search engines when online:
Through 2018, a crucial stage of development will be work on internal search engines within corporate websites. Through years of results from the Web Management Survey, there is a notable increase in the usage of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by companies; rising from 56% in 2015 to 78% from this 2018 report. With search engine functions now being integral for a website, to further the development and stand away from competitors, companies must make the experience more fluid through SEO.
Below are three tips on how to optimise the user experience of your search engine:
Dig into the statistics of your corporate website and learn what users are searching for.
Put the internal search engine where users can find it easily and to help with good user experience UX on the search result page.
Work with meta information and key words on all your texts to make them easier to find.
Chatbot is a computer program that can conduct a conversation via audio or text. Gartner, a technology research firm, predict that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their business engagement without human interaction. Currently, this form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predominately found within customer-centric websites and apps – such as Facebook, Starbucks, Spotify, etc – to automatically react to a user's request. However, the general changeover to chatbot on corporate websites seem to be occurring slower. Within the 2018 Comprend Web Management survey, just under 50% of respondents were planning to improve potential chatbots. Below is a quote from one respondent:
[we are] trying to see if we can utilise chat bots as a website assistant for corporate stakeholders
For businesses, chatbots can help bridge the communication gap between companies and their audience. One area of corporate websites seeing a rise in AI and chatbots is recruitment. Chatbots can ask potential candidates questions, compile a database, plan interviews and get the work ready for start dates. The company FirstJob debuted their recruitment automation bot called Mya; which they believe can automate up to 75% of the hiring process. Within their clientele, companies such as Fitbit and Evernote are included. The purpose of the bot is to allow hiring managers to "focus time on interviews and closing offers". Bots are considered extremely new technology, that has potential to expand within the corporate market. Right now, companies are in the testing phase, however none are fully functioning on a corporate website. To learn more about AI and how it could affect communication within a business, read one of Comprend's archived articles.
By Rebekah East