Is your website browser compatibility tested? If not, then you could be losing valuable website traffic..


In February, following years of fierce debate, Microsoft finally accepted a ruling by the European Commission that it had abused its dominant position by forcing customers to use the Internet Explorer browser with its Windows operating system.

Microsoft’s decision to start fairly promoting other mainstream browsers means that, for the first time in a decade, millions of Windows users across Europe now have a choice of up to a dozen alternatives.

It’s good news for Web users of course but for businesses reliant on their website, it’s thrown up a dilemma, writes Nick Towers of Sagittarius Digital.

In the good old days you only had to worry about your company’s website being compatible with the big two browsers – Internet Explorer (still used by around 80% of Web surfers) and Firefox – but now there’s arguably a big five, a following pack of a dozen and then the myriad of mobile and smartphone browsers that we all use day in, day out.

What it effectively means for businesses is that if your current website went live before the start of 2010 then there’s a good chance it’s not ready for this latest wave of browsers. And in an age when an increasing amount of business is done online, that could prove costly.

There’s never been a wider range of ways for potential customers to connect with your business. So fierce is the war for custom among browsers that Internet Explorer 8 and new-kid-on-the-block Google Chrome have even turned to TV advertising to grab market share, a relatively unprecedented move for seemingly ‘free’ products.

When you combine the mind-boggling choice of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Netscape, to name just a few, with the many and varied mobile browsers available, it’s increasingly difficult for businesses to ensure that visitors to their websites are getting the best experience of their brand, products and services.

Your website might look fine on Internet Explorer 5, but how does it look on Safari, or Firefox, let alone on Google Chrome, or the lesser known Sleipnir and K-Meleon?

You might think that because your server log shows only a small percentage of your Web visitors using Netscape, for example, it’s not worth making minor changes to improve their experience. But it’s not just Internet Explorer users who buy goods and services online. And what about Apple Mac customers? Are you willing to turn them away too?

Even if you do decide to target your site to a particular brand of browser, you still need to contend with different versions of that brand. Web pages can look totally different between one version and the next.

Unless you try out your website using different browsers, your Web visitors could be experiencing a whole range of problems that you’re simply not aware of. These can range from your site looking unprofessional, with poor alignment of images and content areas, to being totally unusable, with visuals missing or in completely the wrong place.

Ultimately, if a visitor has a bad user experience then, at best, they’ll try one of your competitors’ sites instead and, at worst, they won’t bother visiting your website again and you’ll lose them for good.

The answer is to tailor your website for cross-browser compatibility. It might seem daunting but it’s actually quite simple, if a little time-consuming. We regularly carry out browser testing for clients to make sure their customer experience is as sharp as it ever was.

The benefits are obvious: by ensuring you’re getting your key message across to as wide a customer base as possible, you could ultimately secure extra sales and make a real difference to your bottom line. For many businesses, it’s worth the effort for happy customers and better placed search engine rankings.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Nick Towers
Nick Towers
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
Co-Founder, CEO and self-confessed massive geek, Nick has been in digital since graduating from law and moving into technology many years ago. Through a combination of building awesome client relationships, crafting a formidable team of digital experts and consistently delivering results for our clients Nick has taken Sagittarius from being a successful small agency to the global digital customer experience consultancy and Sitecore powerhouse that it is today.
Nick Towers

Nick Towers

01 Jun 2010 - 5 minute read
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