Let’s face it what you put out there as your is your web persona. It doesn’t matter if it’s an online business, portfolio, service, or blogging website. Your website visitors experience is your reality. In the age where mobile browsing is taking over desktop usage how websites should act and behave need to follow. Yes, we are talking about responsive web design you might have heard of it. Responsive web design basically means your website will adapt and give users a seamless experience from desktop to mobile. But it doesn’t end there site speed and delivering content quickly plays a huge part in the success of your website. Notice how I haven’t mentioned anything about aesthetics. Aesthetics is not a ranking factor in search engines it’s a user experience element. You could get away with the design you currently have but you’re losing out on allot of potential for revenue, readership, and credibility both for the user’s experience and for web search performance.
Is My Website Responsive?
The easiest way to tell is to open your website in any browser and minimize the screen a bit, then place your mouse on any corner and drag it to make your window even smaller. If your website doesn’t cut off images and resizes and the menu converts to a mobile hamburger menu (The three little lines) then you have a responsive website. Responsive web design is supposed to adapt to the user’s screen size from desktop to mobile at various resolutions and orientations, portrait or landscape. In short, there is coding placed into your theme that tells modern browsers how to behave when they detect various screen sizes and orientations and to adapt to a full percentage of width for each column, row so it fits. Having a site that is responsive makes your site mobile friendly and regardless if you think that most people visit your site from desktop devices, a seamless user experience is not only critical for visitors, mobile friendly sites are part rankings.
Is My Bounce Rate High?
Bounce rate essentially is when someone enters your site on a page and leaves from that same very page. A high bounce rate could simply mean people found what they were looking for or it could indicate irrelevancy of a search term or poor site design and usability.
Knowing what is causing a high bounce rate can be difficult especially if you aren’t tracking goals in analytics. Every website has a different intent and purpose. One clear fact that is known is that a high bounce rate can mean poor website design that doesn’t translate authority, relevance or credibility and most importantly usability. If you take a look at your site objectively and unbiased and ask yourself these basic questions, then site design might be a cause. Does my site translate my business model? Does it speak to my target website visitor and what does it say? Does it convey authority? Is it credible enough for people to make an online transaction? If you think like a visitor than you think like a search engine.
Is My Website Design Causing Low Conversions?
The goal of any website is to invoke and action, engage a visitor, build trust, and propose a value that is what leads to a conversion, sale, phone call or subscription or contact. There is no exact formula to improve conversions its all trial and error of a mixed bag of things such as layout, colors, typography, and content. The layout of your website is crucial to finding out if your conversions are low and why. In most cases, your content can be arranged in a way that is causing what I call “ADWD” attention deficit website disorder where you simply have not engaged your visitor enough to keep their attention. They simply have lost the attention span or cannot see your value proposition or maybe you don’t even have one that is enough to push them along further down an action funnel or lead them to an action. This and the lack of elements that build trust are the main causes of low conversions and the smaller details of layout and design such as colors and typography can be tested in different ways to improve conversions when they are low. In my experiences updating a website in the correct way by someone who understands and works on websites daily can make a significant improvement in conversions when done right of course.
Is My Website Outdated?
There are so many reasons why your website might outdated, aside from the points mentioned above your business might have evolved or you have changed your brand image or you cannot manage your website content easily. One of the top ways to know if your website is in need of a facelift is simply your are embarrassed to give out your website address or have to explain that you are working on a new site. I personally have had this issue and its one of the biggest reasons why I gave my site a facelift. Having a website that looks outdated, a chore to manage, difficult to make changes on, slow, poor web search performance, outdated technology such as flash, nonresponsive design are all signs you need a new website. Just as in any technology you need to keep up with the times, especially when your website is your public persona and it does not matter what type of business that is, a website that is evergreen and looks fresh always wins over potential customers or clients.
If You Answered Yes
To Any Of These Questions
You Need A New Website
What Things Should I Communicate To A Web Designer?
When you find the right website designer the first thing is to let them know if you are interested in a redesign or a complete overhaul and what type of CMS or code your site is built with. If you aren’t sure what content management system you are using here’s a handy website that will tell you called CMSdetect.
Once your designer knows how to transfer your current content and assets such as videos, images, integrated data, and products the scope of transferring what you have to something new will be clear and this is important for a designer to know.
Next, you want to address the friction points of your last site and let your designer know. Possibly give them reports from Google analytics to show where your biggest landing pages and exit pages and the current visitor flow are and how most people are using your website. Mobile rendering is extremely important and now is the time to add functionality such as AMP.
At this point you should communicate what was working and what was not and rethink who your target visitors are and create a persona if needed and make a list of new functionality you will need not only for now but also for the future. A website should be evergreen and scalable so now is the time to think way down the road. This is something all businesses should do to identify the needs of their visitors and how to translate that to a new website structure, design elements or aesthetics should always be the second priority (There’s a balance function over wow factor) as we build websites for a website for visitors, not ourselves per say or search engines.
After you have the logistics down show you web designer two or three websites you like they don’t have to be in your exact business niche and explain why you like these websites. For example, I really like the minimal clean look and the typography, or I like the corporate or artistic feel or I like the color tones. It is up to you to communicate what expresses your business best and pointing out what you like and do not like gives designers a good idea of the genre you need. Then you can discuss the functionality of the sites you love and what your plans are for the future of the website.
When you communicate its important to stress the impact a new design will have on your SEO to make sure that you do not lose rankings and traffic so it is important to let your designer know if pages are being renamed or moved that a 404 redirect is put in place or that the same permalink URL is used. This way search engines can identify what has been moved or where the pages sit now.
The Wrap Up And Final Thoughts
Who you target and how your website reflects your business is critical to an online presence when I am designing an Organic WordPress Website I take a good amount of time understanding the business goals or simply just the goals of my clients to develop a website that is easy to manage and that is scalable. Personally, I highly recommend giving a clear definitive direction to your designer with precise examples and explain why, yes the language of website elements can be challenging so educate yourself a bit before so you can speak the language as best as possible. For example, I like how this navigation menu is done, or I like the centered logo, I like how the footer is done, or I really like how the content stretches from edge to edge. or I like how the product pages are displayed.
We as designers understand that you don’t speak the same technical jargon but knowing the basic language is key so that you are not disappointed and your designer isn’t frustrated. Your web designer needs to understand your business just as much as you do and building a site strictly around aesthetics will cost you eventually one way another unless you are a well-known branding company you’re not after design awards you want business and ROI. I reference a wise quote which says “I am not rich enough to afford cheap things” you will always pay twice!.
A good service based website should have an efficient time frame 30 to 90 days to complete and cost $1200 and up, Ecommerce is a much more expensive so ask around. The best designer isn’t always the cheapest one, it’s the company who understands what you need and knows how to guide you and can say when they agree or disagrees with a functionality, layout or design element they should provide you always for value added services. If is time for you to update your site then get started right away don’t waste your time with something that isn’t meeting your business goals, the more you procrastinate the larger the scope of the project becomes.