A lot of times, before we can implement our content management system, our clients ask us to redesign their website. While we are always happy to provide this service to our clients, I wanted to cover a few of the aspects of what makes a website design successful. It goes far beyond pretty pictures and colors and dives into what truly makes your business work, focusing on your business goals, objectives and visitor behavior. Here are five items to take into consideration before and during your website redesign process.
Website Design is a Hands-on Process
1. Clearly Branded and Aligned with Business Goals
All too often a website can become outdated and out of line with the company that it represents. As your business grows, matures, and inevitably changes, your website should reflect those business goals immediately. Keep the focus of your website on your primary offerings, which will help clearly communicate your position, your brand, and your value proposition.
Your logo should be visible on every page of your site, preferably in the same location (and linked back to your homepage)
Each business goal should have a clearly labeled section of the website
Consistently use the same tag lines that are familiar to your brand
2. Easily Used by First Time Visitor
Using an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, you should be able to see how many of your visitors are new, and how many are return visitors. Keeping your websites design focus on simplicity and usability will help the first-timer navigate your website and hopefully find what they are looking for (contact info, product info, service offerings, etc). When in doubt, subscribe to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
This can be difficult, but try to take yourself out of the day to day mindset of your current schedule. You know everything about your company, but your visitor (especially first-timer) doesn’t. Simple language, clearly labeled sections of the website, and easy to navigate menus can all help increase the value of the user experience. If you can say what you need to say in a sentence rather than a paragraph, it might be helpful to do so.
3. Designed with Conversion in Mind
Today’s websites are more powerful than ever when it comes to increasing sales and leads. Your website’s design is an integral part in getting people from “website visitor” to “prospective buyer”. To do this, each page should have its own conversion element that allows a user to interact with your website and take the next step in the business relationship.
Keep the conversion elements above the fold. If they are in plain view, they are more likely to be clicked on.
Use big buttons and bright (complimentary) colors to attract attention
Keep your online forms simple (asking for too much info is intrusive)
4. Search Engine Optimization Kept At Forefront
On-page search engine optimization (SEO) is important, not only for search engines, but for users. On-page SEO can be looked at as the foundation of organization of your site. Clearly labeling pages with Title Tags and nicely designed H1 tags can help users flow through to their desired content, increasing the amount of page views and reducing bounce rate at the same time.
Utilize text based menus (not images)
Clearly label each page with Title Tags, H1 Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Alt Text
Don’t rely on Flash, as search engines and mobile devices don’t play well with it
Think of your website in an outline format and mimic that same page structure and hierarchy for your sitemap
This should go without saying, but your website often times crafts the first impression of your company. If you haven’t looked at redesigning your site in a couple of years, put yourself in a prospective buyer's shoes and visit your site. Would you buy from you? Your website should be impressive, clearly state your message, and be up to date with the latest information. What does your current website say about your company?
Utilize a professional graphic designer, not your brother’s wife’s 2nd cousin that took a class one time. Just keep in mind that you are going to get what you pay for.
Employ the use of a content management system that allows you to keep your website up to date without relying on a technical person