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Website Re-design – Getting it RIGHT

Website Re-design

Where to start? We have seen thousands of websites over the years!

Our experience suggests that the overwhelming number of businesses already have their own website. Well, statistics suggest this may be further from the truth than the reality:

Percent of small businesses with websites in 2014 = 53 %*
Reasons Given For Not Having a Business Website: Business currently does not need one = 41 %*

It’s a BIG surprise that 41% of businesses without a website think they do not need one?! I have no doubt that there are many profitable and successful companies out there who have never needed a website, but I am struggling to get my head around 41%. I guess if I ever needed what they offer, unless they are located at the end of my street, or they’re recommended to me – I will probably never know that they even exist………

So, you have a website? It’s been live for a number of years, rarely (if ever) has any fresh content been uploaded, and it doubtless dutifully informs me as to how wonderful and unique your business is, the best in the area no doubt, for designing kitchens; servicing my car; wiring my house; preparing my accounts etc., etc.

Your website dimensions fit perfectly on my desktop PC monitor (I don’t have one of those any more); the telephone number is there – it’s below the fold at the bottom of the page; There is no e-mail link to send you an e-mail; no mention of who YOU are or the team behind the business; and when I look at your web site on my mobile I have to pinch the screen on my iPhone or Android smartphone to read or see anything.

Regardless of whether your company’s average value order (AVO) is £99 or £50,000 it’s not a great experience and I’m gone before you (or I) can blink. However, don’t worry you’ll probably never know I was even on your website as there is probably no statistical counter to monitor visitor numbers or performance of your website. 41%… Think about it.

Successful Website Re-design
The pace of advances in technology in the 21st century are quicker now then at any time in the past. They say that if you take a 3 year degree course in technology or computer sciences, everything you learnt in year one will be all but redundant by the time you graduate.

Now, today, your potential customers hold the power of a wireless device in their hands, one with enough data storage capacity to shame even the most advanced military computing system of just a few decades ago. If you think it’s high time you took another look at your company website, and how you present your business on the Internet: You’d be right.

SEO From the Ground Up
Your website re-design should be built with search engine optimisation (SEO) incorporated from the very beginning. This most certainly does not mean keyword stuffing, hidden text or other spam techniques to get you found in Google!! SEO is a simple and straightforward strategy that dictates that your re-designed site is built with real people (searchers) in mind, and utilises ethical optimisation in order to ensure your new website is found before your competitor(s) site.

Responsive Design
Put simply, this is about making sure your website re-design displays and re-sizes according to the device on which it is being displayed. Over 50% of Internet searches are now conducted on a smartphone, with tablet use increasing week by week. Design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Website/Page Load Time
Page loading time is an increasingly important part of your website’s user experience. There is often a fine balance to be struck between impressive aesthetic design, enhanced functionality and page load time. In our experience visitors to your website will care more about speed than fancy design. Unless you are an artist, your website is there to first and foremost SELL your product or service. In addition page loading time is becoming a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.

Usability
When an important point needs to be made you hear many politicians and business folk repeat the same phrase three times. In the context of website usability, we say: END USER; END USER; END USER.  Too often, web sites are designed with a focus on business goals, fancy features, and technological capabilities. Please remember to put the END USER at the heart of your usability strategy.

Summary
It is essential that your website redesign project follows a pre-planned path or process. By following a detailed process, probably in close partnership with your chosen web designer, you will speed up the project’s timeline and prepare your business for online growth. Lastly, it’s imperative that you re-design your new website starting from the customer and working backwards. Strive to make your new website easy to find; easy to use; quick to load and constructed such that it maximises the conversion rate of visitors to new contacts!

Paul Brewster. April, 2014.

*Source: E-Marketer, Barlow Researchers, U.S. Census Bureau, Jupiter Research
Research Date: 01.01.2014