While we are still in the midst of the winter season, it is not too early to think about doing some spring-marketing-cleaning. For business owners, now is the perfect opportunity to evaluate where you are right now and where you would like to be in the near future.
One of the obvious places to start is with your company’s online presence and ways to improve your current online reach.
Your website design can have a huge effect on how your customers view your business and is a crucial tool in building trust in your business, products, and services.
In fact, 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company based on the company’s website design.
If you are underperforming in this area, you should consider some of the potential advantages of redesigning your company’s website.
Now is a great time to start making the right impression on your audience.
Why Redesign Your Website?
Just as a fresh new coat of paint can bring an old house back to life, a well-conceived redesign of your website can revitalize your online presence.
As Google’s algorithms are continually updated, it is very likely that your pages could be improved with an overhaul. This will allow your website to be more up-to-date in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capabilities and to stand the best chance of attracting and maintaining traffic.
Maybe your products and services have changed, and your website no longer accurately addresses how your day-to-day business functions?
Perhaps you have a solid website, but upon reflection, you notice that much of your content is outdated or no longer fits with the direction your company is moving?
Redesigning your pages to reflect the content that you feel most appropriately represents your brand will represent your business to new customers more effectively.
Keep in mind that at least some of your competitors are seeking to optimize their websites and many companies in your niche may have done so recently.
It is important not to miss out on potential business simply due to problematic user experiences with your website.
To get you started on the path towards website redesign, here are five steps that can help to make the process efficient and effective.
1- Know What Is Already Working
One of the most important steps is to identify what you are already doing right with your website.
While it may be the case that your pages are not performing as well as you would like, it is unlikely that everything is terrible.
Save yourself the trouble of starting completely from scratch and do a systematic analysis of your pages.
Google Analytics is extremely useful for this task and can help you to identify which of your pages bring in the most traffic. Beyond that, there are several other web-based tools, which can be helpful when analyzing your site.
At this stage, it is also important to do a content audit to ensure that your pages are still relevant and reflect where your business currently stands.
This is your chance to make a great first impression on your customers and since first impressions are 94% design-related, it’s critical that you put your best foot forward with both your design and the content you are presenting.
Make sure to also check all of your links and repair any broken or outdated ones. The credibility of your website can be greatly affected by having numerous dead links from old sources, so it’s important to keep them up-to-date.
2 - Investigate What Your Competition Is Doing
To succeed in tight or even moderately competitive markets, it is important to remain unique and at the forefront of your niche. Having said that, sometimes it can pay off to know what your competition is up to.
In this regard, you should not aim to copy outright from your competitors, but simply consider the basic structure of their pages. This can help you to be better aware of what is working in your industry.
Spend some time clicking through their work and look for patterns and similarities. If you find that there are general features and content themes that you have not considered before, you can consider adding similar materials to your own website.
It is also worth looking into who is linking to the websites of your competitors. Knowing this information will allow you to get in contact with them and to potentially ask them to insert links to your own page.
This will allow you to attract more interest in your products and/or services from an organic source and may even guarantee your business a larger share of the market.
3 - Consider Your Overall Branding Strategy
It should seem straightforward that your online presence and website should reflect your overall brand and marketing strategy.
If your branding strategy has substantially changed in the recent past, your website may not be up-to-date with your other marketing formats.
To keep things consistent, it is important to develop a company style guide. This should specify what the official logo, colors, fonts, and other aesthetic characteristics are for your company.
Having an established rule like this goes a long way to maintaining consistency across platforms, both online and print advertising.
Remember that branding helps you to stand out from the crowd in your industry and it also creates a connection with your customers.
Many websites from similar industries tend to look quite similar. It is important to develop a distinct and unique website so that your customers will remember your company when they require your products and services.
Keep this in mind during the redesign process. High-quality image and video posts related to your business can go a long way towards making your website memorable.
Connecting your website with your social media pages should also be a component of your website redesign plan. The greater your social media presence is across Twitter, Facebook, and the like, the greater your opportunities are for building engagement with your customers.
4 - Create Consistently Solid Content
It is often said that content is king and this is a sentiment that remains true today.
In fact, studies have shown that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive, which is something you certainly want to avoid.
While the nature and subject matter of your business’ content will depend on a number of factors, there are certain characteristics that it should have in order to optimize your website redesign efforts.
Make sure that any new content that is published on your pages is original and provides real advice.
Nothing is more off-putting than visiting a good-looking website only to discover that the content is little more than fluff and meaningless information.
Engage with your customers to elicit some common questions or problems that they encounter while using your products and services. Also, why not consider asking your particularly loyal or satisfied customers to provide testimonials for the site to add more credibility?
Nowadays, it is increasingly common for businesses to feature a blog on their website. If you have not done so already, maintaining a regularly updated blog can significantly help in building your brand and connecting with your customers.
As with branding in general, online content that contains video and images tends to generate much more traffic than content without these additions.
Keep this in mind and make sure that your content is updated regularly so that your customers know you are attentive, reliable, and contactable online.
Regarding this last point, it is usually a good idea to include contact information for your business on every page. This simplifies the experience for both your potential and existing customers who may only be looking at your page to find a phone number or email address.
Finally, remember that your website is a medium for you to convert your visitors into paying customers. With this in mind, be sure to include a call to action (CTA) on your homepage.
70% of small businesses fail to include a CTA on their homepage which can result in missed opportunities and visitors to your website becoming frustrated and ultimately, seeking what they need elsewhere.
5 - Ensure Compatibility With All Devices
One of the more commonly overlooked aspects of website redesign is compatibility. While the website might look great and function perfectly on whichever browser or device you tested it on, this may not carry over to other platforms.
Make sure to test out your website with different devices – especially mobile – to make sure there are no bugs or awkward displays before you launch it.
Consumers are accessing websites from mobile more than ever before and 85% of adults think that a company’s website, when viewed on a mobile device, should be as good or better than its desktop website.
If your website fails to meet these expectations, your customer’s may go elsewhere.
Another important component of compatibility is to ensure that the user experience of your website is smooth and efficient.
88% of users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience, so be sure to take steps to ensure your business is not another victim of poor website design.
It can be difficult to see the bigger picture if you have immersed yourself in the website redesign over many hours.
Try to imagine your website as if you are unfamiliar with your company and you are just visiting it for the first time. Everything should be intuitive, easy to find, and aesthetically pleasing.
While in the past their usefulness was limited, these days artificial intelligence has advanced enough to allow chatbots to be highly useful.
These automated customer service representatives can assist users with common questions and concerns.
Consider adding one of these to your website during the redesign process. AI can save you valuable time and money, as your staff will be freed up from handling a high volume of customer service requests.
Results Are Not Immediate, But Will Come
After putting in the work to get your website redesigned, it’s important to be patient to see tangible results (such as an increase in traffic and conversions) after you launch the site.
Among other things, Google takes time to update its rankings and customers may need time to re-discover your updated site.
Nevertheless, a well-conceived and well-executed website redesign is sure to boost your online presence which will ideally lead to increased traffic and increased sales.
If your company has stakeholders, be sure to consult them with any design changes before you launch your new site. It is important that the decision to change something as major as your primary webpage is run through the proper channels first.
Once everyone has agreed to the idea of a website redesign, you can get started on putting together a great website that will help to get a leg up on the competition and take your business to the next level.