Four Reasons Why Your Website Needs a Redesign
Website design is an important part for the future of your local business. If you have a dated site and in needs of a redesign here are four things we look at and why your website might need a new look.
1) Structure of the site
Have you ever been cooking something, only to realize you forgot to add a crucial ingredient to the mix after what you were cooking has been in the oven for a half hour? I have. It is no fun.
The same thing can happen when you don’t incorporate strategic structure in a website redesign. Deciding how you’ll structure the site is critical to the new website — it saves money and time, cuts down on changes, and most importantly, sets up the site for success upon the new re-launch.
2) Content Creation
Content creation is very important of any company’s website, and most companies start (smartly) with an internal blog. And anyone who has started blogging knows there’s no time like the now to begin. Search engines can take a while to index website pages, so the sooner you can get new pieces of content up, the more likely the search engines will index your site more often.
Don’t wait until the site launches to begin blogging — start as soon as possible.
3) User Experience
Structuring a website for user experience is no easy task — it takes research, planning, and careful consideration to create web pages that are suited to different audiences.
Not everyone is ready to buy when they land on your websites homepage, so tailoring the content, creating a great structure and making an solid user experience helps to foster a high visitor to lead conversion rate.
It may seem like more work up, more time and more money, but it pays off. Trust me, I’ve been there.
4) Responsive or Mobile Sites
With the growing of smart phones, we have found that sites being search by a mobile device are around 35% and growing rapidly. It is important that your site have either a responsive design or a mobile friendly site so it can be not only found but also read from a mobile device.
Building a Search Friendly Site
You don’t need a website redesign because it will impress your friends or whoever else. You don’t need a website redesign to look cool, or awesome for it’s own sake. You invest when it will affect your bottom line. Sometimes the right aesthetic can be an important piece, but it’s not beauty, or cool for it’s own sake. It all goes back growing credible relationships, telling stories, and growing clients and customers for life. This doesn’t happen through merely communicating facts, it’s about engaging and inspiring belief.
At the base level, your website is like great gift wrapping of a present. It’s not the gift, but it sets the tone: it’s not the story, but it delivers the story in a way that can best be received. If your brand is cutting-edge tech, your website needs to reflect that. You get the gist.
For some companies, you need to jump because it is not a perfectly good airplane. For some, it’s obvious (you know who you are.) For others, this takes going back to why. Why do you have a website? Is yours meeting your goals? Could it do more for you?
A mobile world
We are at a unique period in time, In the last three years we’ve seen an unprecedented advance of smartphone website access. When people want to find something, they use their phone. The solution was building a Mobile version of your website. The limitations to maintaining two different versions of a website are painfully clear.
Back in 2008, Aaron Walters wrote a book, Building Findable Websites, which introduced me to the concept of a ubiquitous web (which was a conversation that started back in 2005 in the World Wide Web Consortium). Yes, I had to look ubiquitous up. It means universal, or everywhere content.
“…focusing on technologies to enable Web access for anyone, anywhere, anytime, using any device.” –WC3 (w3.org)
To break that down: Your content is in one place, and one place only. You have a central hub — your website content — which is delivered to each different device in a way tailored for optimum experience. Your branded site is awesome, no matter what device you pull it up on, whether, iOS or Android phone, any of the different tablets, and any size laptop or desktop monitor. What was an interesting discussion in 2005 is now becoming reality. The only hitch is this; it’s not automatic. You have to program and design for each device, often rebuilding or at least correcting, to make it work for each resolution, browser and operating system.
This is the Web today. It is work, but this is now the standard. Why? Because it’s the way your customers want to interact with you. That’s a good reason why.
Not just another pretty website
Winning your marketing battle is often not very pretty. Having an effective website is not about just being pretty. Don’t get me wrong, our roots are in the principles of good graphic design and building outstanding web sites, but we know that design technique alone won’t get you there.
A boxer with great footwork and technique isn’t going to win a single fight, unless he (or she) has got some muscle behind it. Similarly, a well-planned, well-executed digital marketing strategy built around a strong message is more beautiful than a pointless pretty web site or clever but irrelevant social media posts.
We started Create the Movement to help small and medium-sized businesses stand out and win in the marketplace. The world has changed. Once upon a time, all you needed to do was throw money at the big publishing hubs to grow your business. But disruption has come with the web, social media, and mobile. Instead of floundering in the aftermath, isn’t it time to get aggressive with making that disruption work for you?
Get ready to scrap.
Most of our clients are in the ultra-competitive legal marketing space. Trial attorneys succeed by out-researching, and hustling to over-prepare, so they are not caught flat-footed, because at the end of the day, it’s is all about winning against their opponents. But where do you begin when all of the rules have changed, and nothing in your training has prepared you to succeed in the arena in which you now stand? You need someone that knows the rules, is willing and able to fight for you, and will coach you how to take advantage of the marketing disruption.
Don’t fight fair.
Guerrilla marketing is the name of the game.
Ok, that’s great. What does that mean, really? I find that many organizations that we work with just really wish the Yellow Pages still worked. A good yellow pages add does not a good social media post make. It’s time to shed the tired old methods, and get to work building connections with real human beings that are looking for you. The measurement of success is how much it actually costs to get a new client. Simple math.
How do you go guerrilla?
- Focus on telling your brand story in a way that means something to people. Keep it easy to digest, easy to understand, and easy to act upon.
- In building your message, always give value first — way before expecting a return.
- Get lean and mean with the way your web site delivers content. Start with the right message, and build your site with simple communication as the standard.
- Make it easy for people to respond and connect with you.
- Broadcast in the right channels — find the medium that fits the message, and hit it hard.
- Constantly improve your site and advertising with real user data.
It’s because of our experience with attorney marketing that we are confident that we can create a strategy that will both simplify and strengthen your web presence, measured by a lower cost per actual client relationship.
Website Design Done Right
It’s fair to say that if your company doesn’t have a website, it might as well not exist. Like it or not, this is the reality of the digitally permeated age we live in. What used to be monopolized by Yellow Pages has now been abdicated to the hands of the world wide web.
Today business owners have two choices, deny the new rules and slowly become antiquated or embrace the changing landscape. The second choice is obviously the wiser of the two and those who choose this path should be aware of a few key points.
- A website is an investment- Finding a reasonable price for a quality website isn’t always easy. The web design industry is by no means immune from price gouging and low balling. Business owners need to be aware of this so they can be cautious of unethical companies. That being said, a website is an investment. So if you’re planning on building one, make sure you’re ready to pay for a high quality, high performance site.
- It’s not all about looks- Competition on the web has exploded in the past five years. Today a pretty website isn’t much use if no one can find it or easily use it. Good web design is equally beautiful and functional. SEO is big business and a key component that is often overlooked is the layout and original design of the site. Make sure your website is focused on making conversions and keeping visitors on the site.
- It’s never one and done- Too many companies want a “set it and forget it” website. The point of a website is to let your customers and clients meet you without ever shaking your hand. Make sure they meeting the you of today and not the you of 1995. Be prepared to update your site with fresh content and pictures at least once a quarter.
- Don’t be a wallflower- This website you’ve spent time and money to create should be an accurate representation of you and your brand’s personality. Flaunt your branding and let visitors know who you are and what you’re about. Don’t be afraid to go outside your normal comfort zone.
Websites are as necessary to the growth of a business as accounting, HR, and any other department of your company. Make sure it’s done right and be ready to make the proper investment.
For more insight, I will refer to the amazing Seth Godin, who has compiled a comprehensive list of questions you must answer before starting your website project. Did I say comprehensive? I meant comprehensive.
- What is the goal of the site?
- In other words, when it’s working great, what specific outcomes will occur?
- Who are we trying to please? If it’s the boss, what does she want? Is impressing a certain kind of person important? Which kind?
- How many people on your team have to be involved? At what level?
- Who are we trying to reach? Is it everyone? Our customers? A certain kind of prospect?
- What are the sites that this group has demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?
- Are we trying to close sales?
- Are we telling a story?
- Are we earning permission to follow up?
- Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?
- Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?
- Are we building a tribe of people who will use the site to connect with each other?
- Do people find the site via word of mouth? Are they looking to answer a specific question?
- Is there ongoing news and updates that need to be presented to people?
- Is the site part of a larger suite of places online where people can find out about us, or is this our one signpost?
- Is that information high in bandwidth or just little bits of data? Do we want people to call us? How many times a month would we like people to come by? For how long? Who needs to update this site? How often? How often can we afford to overhaul this site?
- Does showing up in the search engines matter? If so, for what terms? At what cost? Will we be willing to compromise any of the things above in order to achieve this goal?
- Will the site need to be universally accessible? Do issues of disability or language or browser come into it?
- How much money do we have to spend? How much time?
Things We Look for When Building Websites
- A clean, well-designed site aesthetic.
- Mobile-friendly responsive design
- A guided user experience directed toward conversion.
- Create multiple keyword-based entry points.
- Clear call to action and contact through contact forms.
- CMS is easy to maintain and expand content.
- Testing for compliance with all modern browsers.
- Web site hosting and maintenance services
Many companies have spent thousands on websites with reputable firms, as recently as three years ago, only to find them outdated in this new environment. If you provide a service or sell a product, most likely, people are looking to find you on their phone, or at least a tablet. Do they have to wade through your site built for a desktop?
As of 2013, every site we create is built using responsive technologies, starting with the mobile experience, and building from there.
Contact us today to see how we can help.