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With UK online spending set to top £60bn this year, it is evident how crucial digital revenue is for businesses today. Capitalising on the rich vein of online opportunity is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s critical for business revenue.

However, view any sector and you will be sure to find websites well past their sell by dates – slow to load, not optimised for mobile, confusing to navigate and so on. Websites will lose customers within seconds of them arriving if this is the case.

Sound familiar? It is time for a change, refresh your business with a stunning website using a platform like Wix.com. Think about how it looks but also take into account page speed, mobile-friendliness, original imagery, quality content, simple checkout processes and clear brand messaging. Your website can be as beautiful as ever but, if it takes long to load 40% of visitors will leave your site. Additionally, if design and photography leave much to be desired, even the best marketing spiel of all time can’t help you.

As you build your new digital presence, tap into mCommerce potential, which is becoming a principal part of a buyers’ purchasing journey. Your overall online experience needs to be fluid across all platforms: desktop, tablet and mobile. Having a mobile-ready site, that makes browsing and buying as easy as uploading a status on Facebook, will help your business cash in on the £53 billion expected to be spent per year on mobile devices by 2024. According to recent research, 43% of consumers will visit a competitor’s site after a negative mobile shopping experience[4]. If you are yet to go mobile make it a priority this year.

Overall, think about the customer journey, especially if you are a product retailer. Encourage customer to buy from your site by offering plenty of payment options. Don’t forget to allow a ‘guest checkout’ option as 23% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they have to create a new user account. The same applies for contact details. If you are a service provider, make sure your contact details are visible on every page. Why not try a promotion, offer, or added value incentive to get clients to connect?

Now you’ve perfected your site, how do you drive people to it? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the first step in bringing organic, quality traffic directly to you. This doesn’t have to be costly and there are a wealth of SEO tools available that will help identify the best and most cost-efficient keywords. Inbound tailored content, such as blog posts, are another way to boost quality traffic. Demand and lead generation are now the top reasons global companies are engaging in content marketing (88%), suggesting inbound techniques are a great way to bring traffic to you.

The influence of social media also should not be underestimated for business development. Empowering brand evangelists with easy sharing buttons on your website will help grow your reach but rather than trying to conquer every social platform, decide which channel suits your business best. Video content is an increasingly important promotion tool in connecting your brand with customers – it is also extremely shareable. If you have only been using text and images thus far, consider including video content this year.

Boosting customer retention is another step towards a successful 2016. In an ever-competitive world, businesses need to wow customers with first-rate service and outstanding support. Online customer service is paramount: customer experience is set to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. With the cost of getting a new customer seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one, continuing to develop customer relationships online with relevant material such as newsletters and personalised emails/offers is a sure-fire way to becoming customer centric

Finally, it is important to get a much deeper insight into every aspect of your business by measuring core performance metrics. There’s nothing better than using site analytics to monitor, measure and evaluate what’s working. Knowing which communications channels work best, who your buyer personas are and where your web traffic comes from puts you in a strong position to identify what actions need to be taken this year. Whilst business fundamentals like accounting, planning, financial control, and product development are vital in the general scheme of things, online capabilities are now more and more important for businesses looking to thrive this year.

By Vered Avrahami, Head of Global Communications at Wix.com