Since the world changed in 2020, your online presence has become more important than ever before. Consumers spend more time scouring the web for products, services and businesses to engage with. Most businesses, if not all, have some form of website online already – which is a good start, but is your current site a good representation of your business and is it doing everything it can to work for you? If you are not 100% sure of the answers to either of those questions, you may want to consider a redesign. In this edition of ‘Getting Graphic’, I will discuss those times that businesses should consider updating their current websites.
The Easy Answer
Most information out there suggests that a website should be redesigned, or at the very least tweaked every 2-4 years – but a lot of it would depend on your online goals. That is the easy answer. As people’s attention spans get shorter and shorter the importance of keeping a fresh and eye-catching website grows more and more. Technology in the web design world changes quickly. Leaving your website stagnant for a period of time opens the door for your competitors to take advantage of these new technologies and capture your customers…but we will get into that later in this article.
Changes to Your Business
The chances that your business stays the same through the years are fairly low, so a good time to consider updating the look and functionality of your website would be any time you make changes to your business. If you have made some changes to the products or services you offer, not only is it necessary to add these to your site – but it provides a perfect time to audit your UX/UD and make some more dramatic changes.
Maybe you have brought on a new employee or two. Fresh eyes and opinions can offer a great window into the eyes of your customers. Ask new employees what they think of your online presence, they might give you some great insight on how to improve its design. At the end of the day, your website should give your customers an accurate picture of your business and not just an overview – so anytime you make changes to what you offer or how you operate – your website design should be analyzed and modified to ensure it does that.
Was it time for a new brand? Updating your brand is extremely important as well and your website is a huge part of that. If you have updated your brand – you need to update your website. Just do it. Don’t wait. Your current customers already know you, but new customers will be encountering your business for the 1st time. Ensure your best foot is forward with a website that matches your new identity.
The biggest change in technology is the dominance of mobile-friendly design. For most websites, over 65% of users access the website from some form of mobile device. With that in mind, having a mobile-friendly design is essential. A few days ago (early May 2022), I was going through a list of businesses for a client of mine and their social media maintenance. I was astounded by the number of companies that still did not have mobile-friendly websites. Check out your website on a mobile device, and if it is not optimized for viewing there – contact a web designer IMMEDIATELY!!
Checklist for Website Redesign
So now you have decided that a redesign of your website is needed, what type of things do you need to have in place? I have created a small checklist or list of questions that you should have answered prior to getting the process started. Any web designer worth their salt should/will ask you these questions prior to the start of the project – so it would be best to have the answers ready to go to help the process move along quicker.
A. PERFORM AN AUDIT OF YOUR CURRENT SITE and ask yourself the following questions.
- Is your website currently optimized for mobile devices?
- Have your goals changed since you last launched your site or since its last redesign?
- Do you have a branding guide? If yes, is the website consistent with that branding guide? If not, you will want to create one to provide direction for your web designer.
- Does your website function properly? Do all areas display correctly and contribute to the visual interest and direction of the site?
- Is the current website set up for easy updating and creating more content to draw in your audience?
- What is the user experience like? Is it easy to navigate and quickly find information quickly for your customers?
- How are your metrics? Using Google Analytics or any other website traffic tracking software you have in place – look at the user flow and experience. You should be able to tell where the majority of the problems lie within the design. If you look at your metrics and don’t understand them – let your designer know, they will be able to point out areas that require attention and should have some good ideas on how to make improvements.
- Is your SEO (search engine optimization) doing everything it can to capture your audience? Are the keywords correct and applicable to your business? This will help when you review the website’s content and direct you on where you need to improve and make adjustments.
B. DEFINE A STRATEGY and SET GOALS FOR THE SITE.
- What story are you trying to tell on your website?
- What journey through the site are you hoping your visitors take? What will that accomplish both from them and for you?
- What problems or challenges do your customers solve or overcome?
- What related keywords do your customers use most often? Doing some simple keyword research will help you with your website content creation to ensure your target audience finds your site with improved SEO.
C. GATHER ASSETS (PHOTOS, INFORMATION, LINKS, etc.)
The final step is to ensure you have all your assets in one place. This will drastically improve your web designer/developer’s ability to create an amazing website for you and your business. High-resolution, clear images of products, equipment, personnel and services, infographics, product PDFs and videos all will contribute to the designer’s ability to meet all the goals you have set for your new site.
So to summarize, a website is a bit like a living organism. It needs to change, evolve and grow over time. Similar to your business, its products and services, and operations, your website needs to portrait your business at its absolute best. In today’s day-and-age, your website is most likely going to be one of the first interactions your customers have with your business. You need to put in some time and effort to ensure this interaction is the best that it can be.