Thoughts go to where to put our hard-earned money to generate optimum returns, customer retention, and customer attraction.
In my company, web design and internet marketing, we consider both when working on a customer’s website. It’s this time of year when we get the most requests to review and criticize websites in preparation for their redesign. Many are from businesses who don’t know if their site is running, some just have really old websites, some know they need to be updated, but they are just not sure where to start. There are a few considerations that we will check when we update your website. With social media (Facebook or Google+), technology (mobile vs. desktop), and everyday evolving goals, is it time to update your website?
WHAT HAS CHANGED IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Have your goals and emphasis changed over the last 2-3 years? Have you modernized your brand, changed colors, or tweaked your tagline? Has your target market narrowed or broadened to include other product lines? If so, you might suggest a complete redesign to reflect changes in the brand.
But often a complete redesign of the website is not always required. We just modified a photography website by simply eliminating needless colors and graphics and modifying its logo. This took minimal effort, but it updated its website to reflect its new brand.
HAVE YOU BEEN REVIEWING YOUR WEBSITE STATISTICS?
It is very critical that you keep track of the traffic on your website. How are you going to make improvements without understanding what works and what doesn’t? You will find out if people are visiting the pages that you need them to visit. How long have they stayed on a page? What pages draw the most visitors and the most traffic? What are the best search engine phrases and find out if your social media work pays off? Maybe most of your traffic came from Google last year, but it was Facebook or Twitter this year? This will have an effect on how we build but also on what roles to include.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE AND GOAL(S) OF YOUR WEBSITE?
You may need to understand the main purpose of your website. For retail, it may be sales and customer support; for attorneys it may be phone calls and initial enquiries; for physicians it may be appointments; for consultants, email entries. It might be to provide basic details about your small company, but you are going to want to take advantage of mobile apps like iPhones or Android. Make sure that your users can quickly contact you with phone number techniques and maps.
HOW WILL YOU EXPRESS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION?
Let’s just say, everybody has a website right now. We have gone beyond the question, “Do I need a website?” to “How do I get my website to stand out?” How you do that is not just about a professional-looking site, but about content. How are you going to talk to your target group, and how do you want them to respond? Can you solve their problems; answer their questions as only you can answer them?
WHAT TECHNOLOGY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER?
Your new website should be available on mobile devices. If this is not the case, it is time to consider your website’s platform and rethink your Flash website. Then with blogs having an effect on search engines, do you need to add WordPress or some other blog platform? Based on the objectives we discussed earlier, what features and technologies would you use to ensure that these goals are met? An option form for your newsletter, maybe an appointment scheduling method, a frequently asked question page, Facebook feeds, or webinars from lawyers providing contract tips.
WHERE ARE YOU MOST SPENDING YOUR MONEY AND TIME?
Can you maximize your time and expenses on the new site by making minor changes and editing yourself or by a member of staff? Consider a content management system during your redesign so that you can tweak your text, edit your photos, and probably start a blog. Instead of waiting for your web developer to pay those high rates, you might make those easy improvements yourself. But, make sure to ask yourself if you have the time and inclination to keep the web up-to-date. Google’s latest algorithm includes how much the website is modified.