Seven Sign’s It’s Time To Redesign Your Web Site
By Anna Precht Traylor One of the many benefits of doing business online is the ability to quickly respond to customer needs and changing industry trends. Offline, you may have to wait until your current stack of brochures is used up before you can shift the focus of your marketing materials. Online, you can redesign your messaging and format any time you please. Or, so is the theory at least. As with all business decisions, you can’t simply make modifications on a whim. You need a good reason—with evidence to back it up. The seven most compelling reasons small businesses redesign their sites include:
Whether it’s stock photos circa 1990 or trendy programming, don’t allow your site to be a timestamp of days gone by.
1. Your site looks out of date.Just like fashion styles, Web sites look dated too. Whether it’s stock photos circa 1990 or trendy programming, don’t allow your site to be a timestamp of days gone by. Flash introductions, for instance, were a hot feature a couple of years ago—until site owners realized that customers didn’t want them and wanted to get straight to the guts of the site.
2. New technologies have arrived. As you know, Web technologies age in dog years. By the time you get comfortable with one, the next version hits the shelves. Small businesses don’t have the budgets to remain on the absolute cutting edge, but let your technology get dusty for long and you’ll pay in other ways. Keep an eye out to see how new shopping cart, design, and site software functions.
3. Customer feedback is negative. Sometimes site owners are blind to their Web site problems because they’re so intimately acquainted with the design and layout. It’s harder to be deaf to negative feedback. Whether you conduct actual polls of your customers or have a feedback link directly on your home page, listen to what people have to say. Find out what’s frustrating them and fix the problems.
4. Sales are down. If you’re getting the traffic, but not seeing results, it’s possible your design is to blame. Look at your site analytics to determine if drop-off is happening in a common spot. Maybe your “Buy” button isn’t prominent enough. Perhaps the checkout process isn’t simple enough.
5. Search engine performance needs improving. If your Web site can’t be found easily in the search engines, you won’t get the boost in traffic you need. From title tags to page copy, make sure you’re doing everything you can to bring in visitors.
Make sure your design shows the identity and ideals of your company today—and your goals for tomorrow.
6. You’ve grown and are changing directionYour site is a reflection of your company. Make sure your design shows the identity and ideals of your company today—and your goals for tomorrow. Once you’ve worked out your strategy and learned about your clients and competition, you have the groundwork ready for a successful site overhaul.
7. It’s simply time to freshen-up the look. Sometimes you know when it’s time for a visual makeover. If the site is boring, or if its colors are dark and drab, it may be time to do the equivalent of adding a fresh coat of paint and a new set of curtains.Important Redesign Tips
Try making small changes over time, subtly, if you have a laundry list shifting design elements. If you have a lot of site traffic, an overnight complete overhaul could be disastrous. Faced with unfamiliar surroundings, customers could be shocked off your site. Try making small changes over time, subtly, if you have a laundry list shifting design elements. Transition your site from the old to the new, giving customers time to adapt.
Although you shouldn’t be redesigning every other week, give yourself the flexibility to find what works best for your business and customers.Lastly, once your redesign is complete, ask for user feedback. Read all the comments and consider incorporating additional slight changes. Your Web site is an ever-changing part of your business that grows with you. Although you shouldn’t be redesigning every other week, give yourself the flexibility to find what works best for your business and customers.