Having a strong web presence is considered a fundamental part of running a business these days, but accomplishing this in a way that is truly effective for both you and your clients is harder to do. It’s often easy for business owners to articulate the ways in which they want their business to represent their services – the not-so-easy part is turning your vision into a site which will actually meet your prospective client’s needs.
Think about how you seek out information and services on the Internet; while sifting through pages of search results there will be some instances where you instantly dismiss a website. A single glance and you already know to hit “back” or “close tab”, because the site is (or at least appears to be) of no use to you. What exactly is it about those sites that give a less than satisfactory first impression, and how can you avoid those missteps? This should be your starting point when thinking about the design of your website.
How often should you redesign your website?
Probably more than you think. It is common for people to suggest you should redesign your site every 2 or 3 years to keep your business and marketing fresh. Think of it this way: Websites are NOT a product, they are a process. Your website is the process of updating information that you are serving to your clients or to the public. Your website should grow with you and your business, not be left behind.
Who is the customer?
Do you like the way your website looks? If not, who does? And are they who you are trying to attract as a customer? Only you know exactly who your target clients are, and if your website doesn’t appeal to you, there’s a decent chance it won’t appeal to them either.
How important is it to convert business from your website?
When your homepage loads, what do you think it is communicating visually to prospective clients about your business? If the website doesn’t look up-to-date, users will assume the content isn’t fresh. The visuals may seem secondary to making sure your content is useful, but a huge part of making a good first impression online is having a website that looks modern and well maintained – a clean, well-organized shop-front suggests a well-run business. If you’re worried your website isn’t doing all it can to invite clients in to take a look around, maybe it’s time to consider a redesign.
Is your website… ugly?
If your site was built 3 or more years ago, the design is most likely dated. Are you proud of giving people your domain name or are you embarrassed? Most website redesigns are initiated because the site just doesn’t look good. Compare your site to your competitors, do most of your competitors have a better site than yours? Are you comfortable with how your website is representing your business’s image?
A slickly designed website isn’t worth a great deal if people can’t find any useful information on it. How easy it is to navigate your website? Pinpoint what it is users will be coming to your website for and make sure all roads lead to that information. On the Internet every second counts, and clients won’t spend more than a few seconds looking for the info they need, so make sure they don’t have to.
How functional is your website?
There are more ways than ever for clients to connect with your business, so ensure the website is up to the task. If it only renders properly in some browsers, you’re losing potential clients. Can you view it properly on a smartphone or tablet? Do images display correctly? Are there elements not supported by certain platforms, and if so, how is this dealt with? If these are things that you feel need to be addressed, it’s probably worth considering a redesign.
Is your site’s content engaging or interesting?
Are you providing your clients with the right information? The information needs to make a compelling case for the use of your services above others, and if a potential customer comes away from your site still unsure about what exactly it is you offer or why they should choose your business, you may find yourself losing them to competitors. Additionally, relevant content means people will be able to find your website easily. If your search engine placement isn’t what you hoped, redesigning for optimization may give you the boost you need.
Can your site grow as your business grows?
As your business evolves, your website needs to as well. If your website isn’t easy to expand and change as your company does then it simply isn’t designed to meet your needs. Make sure your web presence is showing customers what your business is right now, and not what it used to be.
Building an effective website throws up a lot of questions. If you think your website needs a redesign it can seem like a daunting task, but with the right help you can make sure that your business has an online presence that looks and works exactly the way you want it to.