Friday 31 January 2014

Redesigning Your Website

Often your website is the first impression of your business. This can be based exclusively on your website…therefore we know redesigning your website isn’t a task that your take lightly. It requires a good deal of thought, time, and potentially money, but the upside can be enormous.

It’s important to note here that "redesign" doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change every single element on your website. In fact, redesigns can just mean making functional modifications that help your website work better and assist you in reaching your marketing and sales goals. After all, your website is one of the foundational elements of your business strategy.

There are a few steps in redesigning and some considerations, but the benefits can be rewarding for your brand and business.

Dye Your Hair Colour, or Get A Full Make-Over?
Sometimes, websites only need a few minimal changes to make it look modern. Just a tweak here, and a tweak there and you’d be surprised the difference it can make! But you may be looking to include some new features, or maybe your website has aged like a sun-tanning enthusiast and needs a transformation that would rival most Reality TV Make-Over shows. This all really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what shape your website is currently in. it may just need a change in colour, and an engaging function like a homepage rotator, and some websites will need to start from scratch as there isn’t worth salvaging anything.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Have a bit of a look in to your website, and think about what features have been successful. Maybe you have been great at getting people on to your website and browsing information, but just haven’t quite been able to land many catches and have them leaving contact details for you to follow them up. In this case, you want to change the design to make your call to action (Sign up, free quote etc.) more prominent and easier for the user to fill out. It might not have anything to do with placement at all, but merely a dauntingly long contact form.

Once you have figured out what features have worked, and what hasn’t you can determine what features you can keep, and what needs tweaking to be successful on the new website. Now we combine these ingredients with new features that are being released, as well as features that were previously non-existent. Now we’re on to a winner!

Have Objectives
If your objective is ‘to make the website look nice’, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s all well and good having a ‘nice’ looking website, but it needs to be an effective website if you want to see a return on your investment. Don’t get me wrong, a ‘nice’ looking website in most cases will help in creating an effective website. But you need to delve further, don’t just go skin deep. Create objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART), as these will help you analyse how successful the project was.

Let’s look at an effective objective:

“I will increase my conversion rate on website leads to attain contact details by an average of 15% within 6 months of launching my new website.”

Now let’s break it down:
  • Specific: this objective is concerning increasing their conversions on leads. In this sense they want to capture more contact details to follow up with, or use in marketing promotions.
  • Measurable: the results can be measured as you can track these and use numbers to make assessments. They have also stated a desired percentage increase to judge the results.
  • Achievable: 15% is a respectable increase. It’s motivating in that it is a significant improvement, but it is not an increase that is too difficult to attain that it is de-motivating and counter-productive – you want to dangle the carrot far in enough in front so you think you can reach it, but you still have to work hard to get there.
  • Relevant: The objective is relevant in that achieving this, will improve the profitability of the business.
  • Time-bound: a time-limit has been set in which the objective needs to be achieved, as this helps make the objective measurable and assessable.

It’s also important to have multiple objectives, relating to the different parts of the business you want to improve. You could have an objective for website hits, another for conversions, another for sales etc.

Does this Website Help Complete the Puzzle?
Marketers often refer to your overall marketing strategy as a puzzle. All the different channels and mediums help create a big picture of how you are perceived and positioned in the market. Your website is obviously one of your most important pieces of this marketing puzzle, as it is one of the most frequently used touch-points for your customers, and is used to base many consumer decisions, so it’s important that your website fits well into your marketing puzzle. Does it accurately reflect your business and your branding? Does it help you achieve your business goals? All in all, is it working consistently and complimenting your other marketing efforts?

Consider Market Needs and Trends
It’s something that business owners should constantly be doing, but they’re particularly important in the ever-evolving world of websites.  You firstly must need to consider the needs of your target market, to make the user experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. For instance, if your target market is young children for an educational website, you will need to factor in how easy the website is to use and navigate. Think big, bright buttons, minimal text, and a very easy-to-follow structure and workflow.

Now think about a business like a Marketing Firm, and what information their customers would want. The high priority information they are after are: Their reputation, their services and some case studies. So this information needs to be prominent and accessible!

Now let’s think about the evolving world of technology and websites. It’s common knowledge that websites date quite quickly because of all of the changes in technology, so it’s important you know where the world of websites is heading, so get ahead of the curve and make sure your website is valid for as long as possible.
Right now there are two major trends: Responsive Design and parallax scrolling.

Responsive design is all about having the one website scale and adjust depending on the screen being used to view the website, to make sure it works optimally. Then there’s the parallax scrolling feature, this is all about design.

We’ve Rebuilt your House, Now we Need to Furnish it!
The biggest mistake you can make, is to invest time and money into getting a brand new website that looks amazing and has all the bells and whistles you need on it, but the images and text just don’t add anything. This is more obvious in terms of images, I mean it’s so easy to make a website look nice with high-quality, relevant images, and it’s so easy to ruin a web design with poor ones.

Take a bit of extra time to consider your content and images, because you will see unimaginable results!

This concludes our series on rebranding; often a very daunting task but it can also be a very rewarding one also when done correctly. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you along the way, and remember, we’re always here to chat and give advice when needed!