By: Kris Kiler
The marketer’s conventional wisdom seems to suggest that you should
redesign your site every 2 or 3 years to keep your business fresh. Unless your business is having challenges generating new business or supporting your current customers through your current site, you may consider holding off. Rather than focus on time between designs, it’s important to look at the contribution your website is or is not making to your business.
You likely see a lot of talk about the importance of converting business from your website. But the fact is most businesses don’t think about or care about conversions when it comes to their website. Most want their website to generate business but typically people are looking at levels of website traffic and search engine optimization indicators. And when they do care about conversions, most don’t have an accurate picture of what a conversion looks like or how it should be tracked so they have no data to use to support their decision making process. Typically there is just an intuition that the website isn’t producing business so they seek out someone to redesign the site.
The catch: Depending on who you select to redesign your website, your web designer may not focus on whether your website will support your business at all. A lot of website designers are graphic designers who know how to make a website look spectacular–but fail to ask you any questions about how your business works, your marketing activities, business process, or overall goals for the website. If you’re in the market for a new website design for your business, make sure your marketing agency or web designer is asking you real questions about your business and your processes for selling and serving your customers. In the end, you don’t need to win awards for design, you need your website to serve your business.
Many local businesses need a website because it’s the first place people go when they are looking for local business information. The Pew Research Center reports that 62% of Internet users age 18 and older and 72% of adults in households earning more than $75,000 or more (mass affluent) are using the Internet as their main source for information about local businesses.*
In this scenario, how can your website help your business function more efficiently?
If you’re a local restaurant, just providing your menu as a PDF file isn’t enough. Mobile browsing is too popular for you to not be providing your menu directly on your website in text. Viewing PDF’s on a phone is still a clunky experience and having your content on your page can provide some additional optimization for your site.
If you’re in the medical profession, are there forms you need patients or customers to fill out that you could add to your website? You can also consider using an online appointment system–most of which easily integrate with any website.
If you’re a coach or counselor, you can use membership sites to lock down client-only content for use before or after your sessions. If you’re using a special access site, it’s good to highlight throughout the site to promote the benefit of getting access to restricted content.
Integration with offline and online advertising is essential to a good website design. Too many business offering deals on sites like LivingSocial, AmazonLocal or Spreebird Deals don’t integrate their offers well with their website. A lot of people want to investigate the business behind the offer and will click on the website link provided on the offer page. Investing in these deals and then sending people to a generic website homepage (link from offer) will only make people work harder to find out what they are getting and who they are getting it from. Having the ability to add landing pages to your website in order to support your offers and other promotions can have a dramatic effect on your overall results with both offline and online advertising.
Most website redesigns are initiated because the site just doesn’t look good. You can tell if your website isn’t up to par and if your competitors have upgraded their look then it might be time to take action. There are a lot of businesses that are doing well with horrible looking websites so having an ugly website doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in a new one.
If you’re getting comments from customers about the look of your site or from your staff that the website design is hurting sales, then it’s an obvious decision. If your ugly website is a blow to your ego, then it’s more of a personal decision. Either way, if you think your website design is effecting your business then it’s a no-brainer.