The web has been around for over 15 years and today a website is more than just an online brochure but an overall content hub for your customers. Research and “word of mouth” is done by visiting your website. Yet, design trends and need change all the times and something that was appropriate in 2008 may not be appropriate in August 2010. Something that was put together quickly but lacked strategy may also not be providing you the customers you need.
But when redesigning your website, there are a lot of considerations, including these seven tips for web design success.
- Investigate What Your Current Site Visitors Are Doing. – Use tools like Google Analytics, omniture, Verify, and examine and test your current site. I was shocked to see on a recent client’s site that more than 1/3 of all of their traffic comes from Macintosh users and on another client’s site, the most popular page was the Contact Us page. There is no real way to know this without checking the actual data – and it’s there and it’s valuable.
- Record All Incoming Links to Your Current Website – It is tedious and time consuming but do you want potential customers to turn away because instead of getting to your site, they got an error page. Instead of ranking high for your ideal keyword, you rank lower because you lost link bait? Links are currency and valuable and take care to keep them!
- Define Your Target Audience – The “P” in the POST method. Different users use the web differently and they have different needs. Make sure you are addressing their needs.
- Carefully Consider Your Theme and “Look And Feel” – Your offline and online marketing collateral should match and be consistent. Your website should look modern and not like something that belonged on GeoCities in 1994. Nor should it be so full of Flash that no one can actually use it.
- Define Your Strategic Goals – Looking like someone else isn’t really going to help you. Instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” “Document the purpose and quantifiable goals for your redesign.” Think about what is actually going to be different after your redesign. Are all aspects of your redesign in-line with your goals?
- Focus on Content Creation – Content is still king. How will your site incorporate content? If you have a flashy design but two sentences and a bunch of misspellings, or it’s stale, how is that going to help you? Consider future growth areas as well. Test your content with your customers. Consider a blog. You need more than just an About Page and Contact Us page (though they are important). What are your customers looking for that is useful for them?
- Choose Keywords Carefully – SEO isn’t just about keywords. Make sure that your site uses appropriate keywords that fit your branding, describe your product or service, and that will help you in the search engines and fit with your audience’s needs.