Bring on the Bells & Whistles After some thinking, you’ve finally decided to give your existing website a refresh. GREAT decision! Maybe it’s loading a bit slower, some links are broken or maybe the content needs to be updated. All of your concerns are totally valid. In fact, it’s perfectly normal to feel the need for a refresh every couple years. Much online anecdotal evidence suggests that a redesign every one to three years is completely apropos. Truly, your website should be a living, breathing project that evolves constantly just like your business. Brochure Design Vs. Dynamic Design Much like an evolving business, you really want to evaluate the true purpose behind having your website. There are many companies that prefer a website that presents more like a digital brochure; a place to send prospects if they want to learn about their business and find contact info. These types of websites are a quick, cost-effective way to promote businesses. On the other side of that digital coin you’ll find the dynamic website. Dynamic, smart websites help business owners drive sales, capture leads, market and retarget. These types of websites will intake contact info, drop it into a Customer Relationship Database (CRM) and allow business owners to customize their marketing efforts to each lead. These types of websites are our jam, truly. Before embarking on a redesign, think about the results you want to see for your business. Do you want a site that looks nice? Or do you want a site that turns information into valuable, actionable data that will help you drive revenue? If you’re a business owner thinking about a website redesign, here are a few more things to consider before finding a development or design shop in which to invest. Making the Move to Mobile The digital transformation is among us. It’s tiptoed into our everyday lives; it’s quietly made its way into your workplace and it’s weaved into every aspect of our day-to-day activities. Today, we do most every transaction we can think of via our smartphones. As of 2020, there are 3.5 billion smartphone users around the world. If your website isn’t designed to be mobile friendly, you’re going to truly miss out on some serious market share. In 2019, 81% of American adults owned a smartphone. Think of the person sitting at their gate waiting for their next flight. Or the person commuting on BART, Metro or the subway. There’s a good chance they’re all on their smartphones. It’s so important to have a mobile-friendly site. An Eye for Design It goes without saying that people love to look at well-designed websites. Simple navigation, beautiful and engaging imagery, and a spectacular user experience are paramount. Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something ordinary. With pre-templated websites like Wix or Squarespace, it’s easy to drop in product photos or existing imagery that reflect your brand, but having a skilled designer really identify colors, tone, balance, user interface and overall aesthetics is vital to increase user experience. And in the end, it will present both gorgeous and professional. Forty percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. In summation, design rules—bland drools. You May Have Guessed, It’s All About CMS Having an easily workable and manageable Content Management System (CMS) for your website is fundamental. With any website, you want to be able to update copy or content within the site so it’s always fresh and inviting. Having a web platform that allows for easy updates to content, pages, and contact information will make life easier for any webmaster or even high-level administrators who aren’t very tech savvy. WordPress is an amazing platform with a flexible and easy-to-learn CMS. It also utilizes helpful plugins and integrations to optimize your site. Think of CMS as the bones of your website. Strong bones means a strong foundation for your content. WordPress is powering 35% of the internet. There’s gotta be a reason they’re the #1 CMS platform out there. (Spoiler: It’s the ease of use!) Are You Content with Your Content? Let’s say someone has Googled your industry and with the magic of SEO, they’ve landed on your website. What do they see? Do they see messaging and content that will pique their interest and get them to stay for more? When thinking about this, also consider any content you’re producing to drive traffic to your site. If your website is producing news your users can use, such as blogs, informational videos or helpful guides—you’re already winning. Be sure you consider this with a site redesign. When it comes to content, the only rules are: Update early and often. Be sure that your blog posts are topical and current. Sixty percent of marketers create at least one piece of content per day. Be sure your branding and messaging are all intact and consistent. Your content is part of your brand identity; make sure anything you’re generating is seamless and consistent. The Need for Speed We truly live in an age of immediacy. When a website, mobile app, video game or program doesn’t load fast enough, our interest and patience are spent. Nearly 40 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. Website loading time is not something typically at the top of our priority lists when it comes to redesign, but it should be. In this age of “right now,” most folks have little patience, as well as attention span. Don’t lose valuable traffic because your site isn’t loading fast enough. When consulting with a firm about a redesign, be sure speed and load times are considered and worked into your strategy. Not Gonna Lie, A Redesign is No Small Feat Having your website redesigned or refreshed is a huge investment of your time and money. Be sure you consider all of the above before consulting with a development or design shop. Be sure you have your ducks in a row and your budget in place before embarking on this journey. Contemplating a website redesign and don’t know where to start? Give us a ring! We’d be happy to walk you through that process and help you map out your redesign plan. Give us a call at 559 560 3300 or email us at [email protected]. Prepare for your meeting with us with this free handy dandy guide. This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager. She’s a dog person with three cats.