Websites are supposed to be sales machines. Once they are launched, they ought to convince, convert, and continue to make sales for years to come. Most businesses think “visual” when it comes to websites.
This is how it usually goes:
“This website looks outdated, and we need it to look fresh and appealing…”
“Oh, we just realized that our website doesn’t show up good on mobile devices. It’s time to redesign”.
Timelines for website redesign don’t help. Most business owners and marketers are also unhappy with previous attempts on website redesign, as Jeffrey Vocell of HubSpot writes.
They are unhappy because they didn’t know what to expect from a redesign. Most businesses have no clue when they started out with a website, so let alone getting something from a redesign.
Those are good triggers to make you think about a website redesign, but it’s not the complete story.
You are sorely missing the point, and it’s this: redesign your website when:
- Your website isn’t bringing in good enough results – from newsletter signups, lead submissions, phone calls to sales.
- You aren’t getting the kind of customer engagement, customer experience, and overall stickiness with your existing website.
With that frame of mind, you’ll just know when it’s time to redesign a website. It comes to you like a super-fast Mach Truck. You’d know the weight when it becomes a burden. While you are at it, here are a few giveaway signs to look out for:
Purpose. Focus. Intent
Pages should have a purpose. Your blog posts are written for a reason. The reasons can be plenty and so will the types of blog posts you’ll write or the pages you’ll create. Pick a small business with just about 5-7 pages of copy on the website and it should be clear that every page should have a purpose.
Assuming that the copy on your site was purposeful and written for the audiences, with an end result in mind, each of those pages should elicit visitors with a call to action.
About – who you are and what you do serves a purpose. You copy reflects that and the visitors would now want to take some sort of action on the page.
Why us? – You have a USP (or you ought to have one). Paint that picture here, convince your visitors that you have the answer to their problem, prove it if you can, and have them take action.
Portfolio – visitors could be window shopping online. Instead of just using a portfolio gallery, develop case studies that prove what you can do.
Clients – it’s time for some social proof. If your previous clients know that you are good, and that you deliver, show off here.
Contact – it’s obvious enough.
This is just an example, but if your pages don’t meet a purpose, it’s time for an overhaul.
Context through content is lost
There’s static content on your site, and we agreed that pages need to have a purpose. Even blog posts and any other form of content on your site also has a purpose. It’s just that this time, it’s more contextual. As you publish content, you vary the purpose a bit.
A blog post, for instance, could be written to establish authority. Or maybe for branding. Or to explain how your product works. Maybe you write blog posts to prove a point.
When you realize that there’s been no contextual alignment for any of those 140 blog posts, numerous graphical elements, and the layout of your website, you now have work to do.
Design ruins experience
Go over a rough patch off-road and you know how a regular, full-sized SUV tilts and sways. For passengers seated behind the driver’s seat, the experience can be, well, jarring.
A visitor’s experience on any average website is just as tumultuous. Pages don’t have a purpose, visitors have no idea what to do when they arrive, pages load slow, and the fonts are too small to read.
Low quality graphics, conversion killers like sliders, fancy flash elements, and images that don’t ever load.
On top of all that, it’s clear that visitors have nothing to do on your website if you have no content to make them stay. Imagine a grand total of 1600 words on a 5-page website – how long do you presume you’d stay there?
No scope for engagement
If there’s content, you’d want your visitors to share that content. If they relate to what you publish, they want the world to know about it. Most visitors have social networks of their own and they want to share if they read something interesting.
Primarily, you are poised to solve a problem and they are thrilled when you show them the solutions (even without asking them to pay or signup).
Guess what? There are no social buttons underneath a blog post. Some engaged visitors take the trouble to share the URL instead but the link leads to a disastrous 404 page.
Give your visitors enough tools to engage with your content, your business, and more. No brainer, right? You’ll be surprised how many websites have nothing to engage you with.
We sure pray you aren’t in that zone. If you are, you just know what to do now.
Tests give no results
Assuming you took care of everything you should, the story is far from over. Even purpose-built, money-making websites aren’t complete yet. No website design can ever be a one-time job (although that’s how the market treats it). Websites are supposed to be ongoing jobs.
Why, you ask?
When you test your website against incoming traffic, you’ll see flaws. You’ll discover opportunities for making the visitor experience better. You’ll figure out ways to squeeze the most off every page.
All that is “after” your website is developed. In due course, however, your testing could reveal a lot more than minor flaws.
Often, continuous testing often leads to website redesign decisions.
So, now, what triggers a website redesign decision for you?
September 22, 2016