First off, great websites don’t always start out that way. Many websites go through dozens of revisions before they even get launched. Many internet-savvy businesses keep their site updated and redesign every year or so, adding little improvements each time. On the other hand, some companies rush to get something out on the web, then they neglect it with the attitude ‘build it and they will come’ (regardless of the content and design!) Don’t make this mistake!
Websites are like fruit – people like them best when they’re fresh
An old tired website says a lot about your business, at least to the visitor who only knows you from their first visit to your site. After all, first impressions leave lasting memories. It can make the difference between a valuable customer and a lost lead.
After a site has been up for a while, you are certain to hear some feedback (good and bad) from your customers. Listen to them with an open mind – not that you have to rush to change every little thing one person doesn’t like, but if you hear the same complaints over and over again, you can be pretty sure it’s worth changing. And likewise, listen to the compliments and be sure to maintain the things people DO like about your site. How many times have you used a program or website that was updated and now lacks some convenient feature the old version had? Those people probably weren’t listening to their customers!
If you let your site just sit on the web and don’t tend to it regularly, it will become stale and your search ranking will plummet. Search engines like fresh content too.
The Web Redesign Process – Where to Start?
So where do you start? If you don’t do this everyday, a redesign may seem like a daunting task. Never fear, it just takes some planning to put the right pieces together. First, assess the current site and find the strong and weak aspects.
Site Assessment Top 10 List
- Instant Site Identification on Every page
- Good use of whitespace – not cluttered and crowded looking
- Navigation is clear and intuitive
- Site displays on various browsers and screen sizes
- Contact info is prominent
- Overall design caters to target audience
- Fonts are sized and styled to fit the design
- No reliance on 3rd party plugins or extra software to view site
- Strong ‘call to action’ used (prompting user to do something)
- Pages use consistent design and format throughout site
These are the simplest of issues we want to look for when assessing a site’s design. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg in terms of evaluating a site, but many of the key improvements in any redesign can be traced to one of these 10 items. Keeping your list simple will help keep the redesign effort focused and help prevent things getting bogged down in details that may not add value to the project.
Old Sites Are Like Closets
Sites that have been up and running for years without a full redesign can be like old cluttered closets or garages – things are added and piled up, but never taken away. A redesign is a great opportunity to clean out the junk that accumulates over time. Users like simplicity and clear layout, not a maze of clutter. When doing your site evaluation, find which pieces are essential and lose the rest. It probably won’t be missed!
To sum up, it takes some planning and tough decisions to make a redesign project work, but it is essential to do this regularly. Just letting your site sit on the web will do very little for your business and the ROI can be great. It also shows your customers or visitors that you care about them and their experience on your site.
If you need some help getting started, contact me today and I will make sure your site stays fresh!