Tag Archive: website redesign

  1. How Long Should Your Website Last?

    website redesign

     

    Change – it’s often referred to as the only constant in life. While I don’t claim to be a philosopher, I can speak to the validity of this concept when it comes to the longevity of websites. Many businesses are under the unfortunate misconception that once a website is complete, they can toss up their hands in victory, pop the champagne and never concern themselves with their website again. That is, until it becomes abundantly clear that a website redesign and/or redevelopment is not only recommended but a requirement to maintain a proper digital connection with customers and prospects.

    How do you know when the time is right? Especially if you are not a designer or a programmer. For many, it is difficult to know what looks desperately outdated and what appears to be fresh and new on the web. It is even more difficult for the layman to understand the complexities of back-end code that acts as the wizard to your website’s Oz, pulling the levers behind the curtain.

    That said, reasons to update may vary, but a few key warning signs let you know when the time is right for a fresh take on your brand’s digital home.

    Top Signs It May Be Time for a Website Redesign

    Time:  The simplest metric when deciding on the right time to redesign is, well, time. How long ago was your site built? Much like anything in the digital realm, the technology running your site is constantly being updated to be more secure and more efficient. Add to that the ever-changing design trends and your site can begin to demonstrate warning signs for a redesign in as few as three years.

    Engagement:  The proof is in the pudding, and if your site is no longer getting the results you intended, it may be time to look to a website redesign. After some in-depth analytics research, you can approach a redesign understanding exactly why your current site has fallen flat with your audience and what must change.

    To understand engagement, you must also have a clear definition of your brand’s goals and mission. If these have changed over time, your website must change as well to realign with the new focus and engage from a new angle.

    Usability: Tied very closely to engagement, usability and user experience are extremely important in order to achieve desired results. Your website should prioritize ease-of-use above nearly all else. After all, how frustrated would you be if it seemed like a website was actively fighting against you? If your visitors can’t get to what they want (and fast) they leave and find the information, service, or product elsewhere.

    An incredibly important aspect of a site’s usability is its responsiveness. Do you own a smartphone? How about a tablet? And a laptop? All of these devices vary in display size and interaction methods (touchscreen vs mouse and keyboard). If your site is only designed to be used on a laptop or desktop but your audience prefers to visit it on their iPhones, you could be in trouble. Plus, in order to provide the best search results, Google has cracked down on how non-mobile-friendly websites are treated in search results. If you have to pinch and zoom to view your site on your phone, Google is penalizing your site in favor of mobile-friendly sites.

    One method of determining your site’s usability is through what’s known as user experience testing (or UX testing). This is an extremely helpful method of testing just how intuitive your site’s layout and functionality are, which could help you decide the extent of redesign needed on your site.

    Tech: Without getting into code talk (you’re welcome), what’s running your website is just as important as it’s user-friendly facade. Over time, your site’s code can become outdated, leading to crashing pages, link issues and general bugs that can hinder user experience and page loading speed. Additionally, your site may have duplicate content, missing or inadequate meta descriptions, broken internal or external links, and missing ALT titles and title text on images. All of this adds up to a site that runs more poorly with every passing technological update.

    Though not technically a “tech” issue, per se, search engine optimization (SEO) can play a substantial role in the success or failure of your site. If your site and its content were not crafted with SEO in mind, you may struggle to be found.

    Branding: Has your company completed a brand refresh? Even if your target audience remains largely the same, a website redesign is necessary to maintain the brand consistency we always strive for as marketers. You may think an old logo on your site after a brand refresh is a minor detail, but the devil is in those details and every single change matters.

    We understand the trepidation that comes with considering a website redesign. You worked hard, invested the time and money and maybe even grew attached to your site’s look and feel. But as I stated earlier, the only constant in life, and in websites, is change. You can either plan accordingly or see your brand’s online presence suffer for it.

    That’s not to say that a website redesign is always the solution. There may be smaller, iterative changes that can be done, such as refactoring the code, homepage redesigns, content, SEO updates and more. Be sure you review all of your options and compare the pros and cons before you engage in a website redesign.

    You can be sure your website isn’t collecting digital dust cobwebs that can stifle your online presence by reviewing the age of your site, investigating visitor engagement, ensuring usability is at the forefront of your design, confirming the code is up to date, and maintaining brand updates for consistency.

  2. Beauty AND Brains: 5 Things to Consider Before a Website Redesign

    There’s no question that everyone loves a beautiful website. Design matters, and your website design should reflect your brand and capture your target audience. While falling in lust with a pretty site is easy to do, we consider ourselves the serious-relationship-type. A beautiful website that lacks the right content, user-experience or call-to-action is essentially beauty without brains.  Taking the time to really understand what makes your audience tick, what they’re looking for and what they want leads to a mutually beneficial website for you and your target audience. So before you are overcome by the beauty, checking out your Google Analytics may elevate your website redesign from a quick fling to marriage material.

    1. User Experience

    When re-designing your website, it’s important to first look at what’s going wrong and what’s going right with the existing website. Analyzing the user’s behavior flow in Google Analytics may uncover areas of the website that make it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for. It will also reveal the most-viewed pages of the website. If it appears your users are navigating in circles to get to the page they’re looking for, it may be best to design the homepage in a way that clearly organizes and highlights the most important pages to users.

    2. Bounce Rate

    Bounce Rate

    Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

    If more than 50% of users are going to your homepage and immediately leaving, we recommend re-evaluating your homepage content. Often times this happens because the homepage has little to no content at all. Building up content on your homepage is not only important for SEO benefits, but it will also entice users to click through to additional pages on your website.

    3. Call-to-Action

    A clear and simple call-to-action is necessary for all websites. Whether it’s to pick up the phone and call your company, fill out a specific form, or leave a review, every site needs to have an end goal. Call-to-actions should be tracked with Google Analytics to measure their effectiveness and modified as necessary.

    4. Content and Blogging

    Content is arguably the most important aspect of a website. A quick look at your Google Analytics will tell you whether or not certain pages are “working” for your audience. Pay attention to the pages with lower views and plan to rewrite the content on those pages. Another way to build content on your website is through blogging. A blog not only allows your company to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, it’s also important for SEO benefits. A stagnant site with content that never changes will be ranked lower on Google than a site that is consistently updated. What should you blog about, you ask? Think about the questions your clients asks you on a frequent basis, and blog the answers to those questions. If they’re asking you, you can bet there are others searching for it on Google.

    5. Device

    Test on Multiple DevicesAnother item to look for in Google Analytics is the amount of mobile/tablet traffic. We recommend that all websites are built in responsive design, meaning the full website will be viewed easily regardless of screen size. Researching the amount of mobile and tablet viewers will justify why responsive design is so crucial. Considering a mobile app? You can also learn what platform users are viewing from (iOS, Android, etc), which can help determine which platform is most critical to develop your app in first.

    Before opting in for that beautiful website redesign, consider the above! Not only will you have a beautiful new site, but a user-friendly one too.

    Main Image Courtesy of Senate House Library