Your website has been up since the internet was invented—and hasn’t changed at all! You need a website redesign because your online presence isn’t converting the unfaithful. You don’t see a lot of traffic coming from your website leading to a phone call or an office visit. It’s most definitely time for a website redesign! But where to begin?
Think of a website redesign as more of an total-body makeover, rather than finding a new wardrobe. If you really want to feel good about yourself and who you are, you might look in the mirror beyond your clothes and ask:
- Am I physically fit?
- Am I feeling healthy?
- When was the last time I took a bath/shower?
- What about my hair?
- Am I eating right?
- Am I working on my brain power?
- How’s my personal life doing?
- What are my goals in life?
Only after you’ve asked such questions can you then look to see if the clothes fit the image of the person you want to become in an ideal world.
In comparison, working on your website should be relatively easier—but the same kinds of questions should arise when thinking about the best website redesign approach. Here’s some things to consider before making any changes:
- What are my marketing goals?
- What are my business goals?
- Do I have a clear message about the goods and/or services I provide?
- Am I direct about the kind of audience I’m looking to help?
- Do I care about my audience in a personal, caring way?
Answer those questions. Now look at your website. Are some of those questions answered by your present site? Any?
You have to remember that in your mind, your business is the tops, the bees’ knees, the best. In your audience’s mind, they’re not quite sure yet. So despite your awareness about how great you are, you still have to do some selling.
Don’t look at your website right now.
Let’s start off by answering a few questions on paper:
- What service/goods do you offer? List them all. Be specific and explicit. If you offer a product or service that people don’t immediately recognize, can you explain it in plain words without jargon?
- What makes you stand out from your competition? Give at least three examples.
- Who do you help?
- Why do you do what you do? Do you have a passion you can share about what you do?
- Do you have some testimonials (3-4 sentences at the most) from recent clients attesting to your awesomeness?
- Do you have some advice or words of wisdom you can offer to someone trying to decide whether they should use your business? Perhaps some free guidance that establishes you as an expert?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to consider your website redesign.
It’s all about the content… but not too much content.
It’s 2016. People are not reading as much as they once did. Worse, their engagement is fleeting. You’re lucky if you get a website visitor to spend more than four seconds on your website. Four. Seconds. You spent more than that reading this article. Yikes!
Less is more. Think about how you yourself engages with a website. If there’s more than a paragraph’s worth of text on a page, do you read it? Sure, if it’s compellingly written, then yes. But most of us are not expert authors or editors. If we can distill the message—the most important message—to our audience about what we’re all about, we’ll have much more success.
Here’s a website I just found: It’s an auto mechanic in Chicago. On their homepage, they have this paragraph:
Auto repair, it’s not simple DIY any more: The days of simply replacing your fan belt or gapping your own spark plugs are long past. Procedures that were handled with an adjustable wrench and some willing hands now require a myriad of diagnostic equipment, EPA friendly supplies, a savvy mechanic and even an internet connection. Additionally, punishment-resistant steel parts have been replaced by lightweight , plastic pieces and fasteners. Nowadays, an eager backyard repairman with an experimental mind is usually rewarded with complaining neighbors, snapped parts, shorted circuit boards and sometimes, events much worse.
Did you get through that? Even if you did, are you sure why you read it? If I were to think a bit about the point they’re trying to make, it would be:
It’s almost impossible to repair a car yourself; Cars have too much technology today. We’re the experts, and we’re here to help.
It doesn’t take too much convincing for your audience to “get it.” But sometimes we feel like we have to write more to coax our audience into thinking “we know what we’re talking about.”
Even better? A video. A well written & produced video will communicate things that no words alone could do. And because the internet is so fast and powerful today, video is almost a requirement for digital marketing.
Is your brand helping or hurting?
Since you’re considering a website redesign, how about looking at your brand: Your logo, your company colors, the image you’re putting out to the public through your published language, photos, etc. If you’re considering a website redesign, you should also take a good hard look at your brand.
An entire brand should be designed professionally. There are a lot of economical ways to address this, but by and large, don’t do this by yourself!
Why do this now? Your brand and your website should be in harmony. Are you an informal, friendly business? Are you a professional, serious business? Are you trying to “up your game”? You want to make sure you give just as much attention to your brand as your website redesign. Hopefully, in doing so, you’ll be inspired to examine all your print collateral as well as any other branding you might have. You want to be sure to put your best foot forward!
What are some website redesign essentials?
If your website is even three years old, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the best technology of today as well as design standards. Here’s a few “musts” your new website should have:
It has to be responsive. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’ll hurt your search engine optimization (SEO)
Sliders? Get rid of them! If you have a slideshow on your home page, you might just be pushing important content down the page. If you want sliders, be sure they have…
Calls To Action (CTA’s). A “Call to Action” is asking your audience to do something. Sounds simple, but there are strong ones and weak ones. Leaving a phone number on your page (vital) is a rather weak CTA. But if you ask a compelling question that speaks to your audience and you have to click to find the answer, that will help pull your curious audience further into your site. Better still, offer some free advice or a free video to watch in exchange of an email address to grow your contact list.
Video. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Video is great for communication, it’s less expensive to produce something of adequate quality nowadays, and the potential for Video SEO is still high.
Consider a one page website. In the spirit of “less is more,” you might get everything you need to communicate to your audience that you’re the right fit for those seeking your help. Here’s two examples of ZingMap clients for whom we made one page sites that are very effective: Estate Inspection Group and ShirtProp.
Imitation is the best form of flattery
Finally, look at your competition’s websites. If their sites are looking worse than yours, then your decision to redesign yours was a really good one! But, if you find they have some great ideas, are following “best practices,” have effective CTA’s, and are very clear with their message, borrow some of those ideas. If they worked on you, they’ll work on your audience!
Words of Warning
A lot of people think that the words and photos published on the internet are free for the taking to put up on their own websites. They are not! Copyright law is complicated and you don’t want to get penalized for your website. Don’t just search Google for images and put them on your site, nor should you copy and paste text that you didn’t write. Your material either has to be original (ideally!), or at least you purchased the license to use someone else’s photos or words.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to having a great redesign for your website!