Website Design November 22nd, 2012
Are you one of the many who hold to the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” when it comes to your website? If so, here’s a question for you: how will you know when it’s broken and needs to be fixed?
Check out these five signs that your website needs a redesign, and please, be honest with yourself.
In the military there’s something known as “mission creep.” This is when troops are called upon to carry out more than their original assignment. There’s a good chance that the same thing has happened with your website. How many pages and sections have you added over the past few months? Adding pages and features on the fly can disrupt what may have originally been a very logical design. Honestly, I believe Pinterest falls into this category. There’s so much going on that it becomes virtually meaningless.
Or maybe you heard that Flash is “in,” so you had someone work up a Flash page for you. While it may look good, there’s a strong possibility that it doesn’t help your users navigate to where they need to be. I dare you to check out this System for Success page and try to decipher what it means. It seems more like a system for failure to me. Thanks to Vincent Flanders for finding this page and many, many more.
Visitors must be attracted to your site, but when they get there, a certain percentage must be converted in some measurable way, by buying something, making an inquiry or signing up for a newsletter. It can be any number of “actions.” Good conversion rates vary greatly depending on what your business is and what you hope to achieve. However, if your conversion rates have gone down over time, you need a redesign. Likewise, if your conversion rates are significantly lower than what others in your industry are receiving, you need a redesign.
One of the unfortunate realities of the Internet is that its design and graphic “language” is constantly evolving. Some of us remember when “frames” revolutionized webpage design, and I don’t want to tell you how long ago that was! Remember that, to your visitors, your website is your image. You need to stay current. If a year has gone by and you haven’t taken a hard look at the image your site is presenting, you’ve waited too long. Furthermore, if you have a lot of yourself personally invested in the look and feel of your site, find an unbiased third party to give you an honest assessment.
Sometimes it takes a good measure of self discipline to avoid the lure of flashing graphics and auto-play background music. Causing visitors of your website to become annoyed is not the same thing as keeping them engaged, which is what you really want to do. If you’re the kind of person who yearns to incorporate every bell and whistle on your homepage, you need some kind of 12-step program in which the first step is “Don’t do it!” Get someone to strip away and clean up all the garbage.
Does your landing page truly communicate the essence of what you want visitors to know about you? To express a very short amount of time, we used to use the phrase “a New York minute.” I’m convinced that “an Internet minute” is even shorter. You have a visitor on your homepage for a very brief moment in time; be certain that the one thing you want that person to know is effectively communicated. Again, have some unbiased people look over your page and give their impressions of what it tells them about you or your business.
Here’s one more “nuts and bolts” issue to think about. Browsers change. Be certain your site looks good and functions on all of the popular browsers. Make sure you have Google analytics installed so that you can see which browsers your visitors are using. You may also find out that it would be beneficial to have a mobile-optimized site.
What features do you believe make up a quality website?