When to Redesign

by | Jun 2, 2016 | Business Planning, Web Design, Web Strategy

Are you on the fence about redesigning your website? Just as with your own face, your web face tells the story of what’s underneath. Redesigning your site can mean making real changes to your business that push you to the next level. Are you ready? This article explores what critical factors indicate that it’s time for a full on redesign, or when you should start with just a face lift, and what goals you should be looking to set in either case. Begin by asking yourself some questions.

Does Your Website

  • Embrace change?
  • Perform for your business?
  • Deliver quality?
  • Add value?
  • Reach out to your audience?

If your website delivers on all counts, congratulations; you are sitting pretty. If it’s performing most of these functions for your visitors, but not all of them, it may be time for a strategic face lift. You can integrate one or two critical functions into an existing website fairly easily without disrupting the visitors’ sense of place. However, if you are missing most or all of this functionality, then it’s time to start planning for a complete redesign. But how do you know if your website performs or not? Simply put, you look to what your visitors can get out of your site. Visitor value is the most basic litmus test you can perform on your site, and should be the starting point for any re-evaluation you perform.

Web Visitors Want

  • Easy and intuitive navigation
  • User-centered organization (simple, directed)
  • User-centered interactivity (a way to make a difference)
  • Secure, interactive product or service ordering
  • Easy access to you (contact, auto-response)
  • Saved user data (registration, favorites, etc.)
  • User-added value (socio-consumer networking)
  • User notification of special offers (emailings)
  • Easy access to relevant information
  • Form follows content (no technology religion)
  • Fast page loads (optimization)
  • Easy to find (properly indexed with search engines)
  • Easy to search (good organization and site mapping, or indexing)
  • Added offerings (reasons to come back)
  • A sense of place that answers their particular needs

Once you have established where your weak points are from the visitor’s point of view, it’s a good idea to evaluate each of the critical functions separately. The following sections should help, whether you are face-lifting or getting a whole “new face.” Make sure at the end of the day you have addressed each of these ground-level components.

Embrace Change

Plan for your long-range goals. Effective Internet marketing is a moving target. How people use the web is changing constantly and those hoping to attract and maintain business through a website must be prepared to change with their visitors’ growing expectations.

Your business is growing, too. A site redesign is an opportunity not only to reach out to a broader audience, but also to realign your company or professional goals and vision with the image you project, organizing your site to communicate that vision to both local and far-flung visitors and to achieve your goals.

A full redesign is not like a face lift because it is a new creation—a platform that reflects your growth as a business and the growth of your visitors as web users. You are not who you used to be, and this is your chance to ask the questions: Who are we today? And: Who are we on our way to becoming?

Plan your design around the answers to these central questions and you will ensure the longevity of your website.

Make Your Website Perform

A high-performing website is your most valued employee. A performing website:

  • Is organized to accomplish visitors’ goals
  • Provides service and security
  • Draws in visitors
  • Provides reasons for visitors to return
  • Encourages sales
  • Is optimized to load quickly
  • Is easy to view and navigate
  • Sells what you want to sell
  • Reaches the people who want your services and products
  • Incorporates user feedback and statistics
  • Is easy to update
  • Is up to date with web programming standards
  • Increases your bottom line
  • Delivers Quality

A well-designed site imparts a lasting positive feeling about you and your business by delivering quality. A quality website:

  • Makes an instant impression—paints your brand
  • Engages visitors’ emotions
  • Creates a sense of place
  • Respects visitors’ time
  • Integrates color, graphics, and content to tell your story
  • Provides current, accessible, and relevant information
  • Leads visitors on an intuitive interactive journey
  • Answers the needs of specific customers
  • Reflects the values of your intended visitors
  • Is spacious and uncluttered, with a single mission for each page
  • Communicates clearly, concisely, and legibly, with no errors
  • Adds Value

Be personal. Develop and enhance a sense of relationship. There are too many choices in this world and most of us are constantly weeding out whatever we can to make our lives manageable. Basic needs drive our choices, and at the heart of these is the need for connection.

Use your site to bring your business into direct contact with the visitor and create a positive experience that visitors will associate with you. If you can save them from having to deal with unknowns, or having to make more choices, you are helping them in a deep and powerful way, and this creates a relationship of trust.

Enhance that positive experience by freeing your visitors’ senses, creating space, and a visual design that relaxes them, or appeals to their sense of beauty. Give them relief from the chaos of life. Choose a reasonable set of expectations to deliver on, and then deliver.

Create community to build the relationship. Give visitors a chance to add something to your website that others can see, making them part of your community. Blogs, polls, surveys, guestbooks, and user reviews of products and services are all excellent ways of building user-shared interactivity into your site, while deepening the personal connection.

Reach Out

You can create your visitors’ dream web experience, but if they can’t find you, it will all be for naught. It’s not actually their job to find you. Rather, it is your job to help them find you, to lead them to your door with properly posted signs. The days of luring customers with advertising are over. Today’s best advertising focuses simply on helping people solve problems. Make sure your advertising leads potential visitors to specific solutions.

The same goes for your search engine optimization (SEO): this is the effort you put into matching search engine results to the solutions you offer, and it can make the difference between success or failure of a sight. Paul Montalvo, of Adviseo, breaks this important function down into ten top strategies everyone should employ:

Although the concept of search engine optimization can be somewhat complex, there are a number of basic search engine optimization techniques you can use to improve your organic search results. Keep the following in mind when trying to achieve top rankings for your website.

Meta Tags. Meta tags are simple lines of code at the top of your web page programming that tell search engines about your page. Include the title tag, keywords tag, description tag, and robots tag on each page.
Create and update your sitemap. Developing a sitemap is a simple way of giving search engines the information they need to crawl your entire website. There are plenty of free software packages on the web that can help you generate a sitemap. Once you create a sitemap, submit it to Google and Yahoo.
Ensure that all navigation is in HTML. All too often, navigational items are in the form of JavaScript. Even though navigation technically still works in this format, it’s not optimized. Create your navigation in HTML to enhance internal links throughout your website.
Check that all images include ALT text. Your image’s alt text is spidered by search engines. If you’re not including your keywords in alt text, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for improved search engine result placements. Label all of your images properly.
Make sure that your website code is clean. Keep in mind when optimizing a web page crawlers are basically only looking at your source code. When programming your web pages, having W3C compliant code can make all the difference. Run your code through a W3C validator before promoting.
Place keywords in your page content. Search engines scan your website and web pages for keywords. Shoot for a keyword density of between two and eight percent. Google likes your page to be at the lower end of this scale and Yahoo at the upper end.
Submit your website to search engine directories. It’s always a good idea to let large search engine directories know that you’re out there. Submit your website URL to directories like Google, Yahoo, and DMOZ.
Encourage links to your website. All major search engines value the importance of your website based on how many other relevant websites are linking to it.
Learn the basics. Learning to optimize your website for search engines takes time and patience. Start by applying basic search engine optimization principles. If you’re new to website optimization, or even a well seasoned veteran, begin by prioritizing which pages are most important to you and go from there. Soon you’ll find yourself moving up the rankings.

Putting it All Together

Once you’ve considered all of the aspects of site design and maintenance, prioritize your tasks and timeline based on what your visitors will need and expect most. You can learn a vast amount about your visitors by studying your page stats, so don’t forget to do that. Try to think like one of your visitors, and then anticipate their next need. You will be amazed at how quickly you can gain momentum just by adding or updating the next most important functionality consistently. Set aside the time and budget to implement updates and add features regularly, as needed.

Finally, have fun. There is a natural relationship between having fun and creative productivity. This is why musicians don’t “work” guitars—they PLAY them. Integrate your passions into your site and you will maintain it better, as well as attracting visitors that inspire you further!

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When to Redesign

by | Jun 2, 2016 | Business Planning, Web Design, Web Strategy

Are you on the fence about redesigning your website? Just as with your own face, your web face tells the story of what’s underneath. Redesigning your site can mean making real changes to your business that push you to the next level. Are you ready? This article explores what critical factors indicate that it’s time for a full on redesign, or when you should start with just a face lift, and what goals you should be looking to set in either case. Begin by asking yourself some questions.

Does Your Website

  • Embrace change?
  • Perform for your business?
  • Deliver quality?
  • Add value?
  • Reach out to your audience?

If your website delivers on all counts, congratulations; you are sitting pretty. If it’s performing most of these functions for your visitors, but not all of them, it may be time for a strategic face lift. You can integrate one or two critical functions into an existing website fairly easily without disrupting the visitors’ sense of place. However, if you are missing most or all of this functionality, then it’s time to start planning for a complete redesign. But how do you know if your website performs or not? Simply put, you look to what your visitors can get out of your site. Visitor value is the most basic litmus test you can perform on your site, and should be the starting point for any re-evaluation you perform.

Web Visitors Want

  • Easy and intuitive navigation
  • User-centered organization (simple, directed)
  • User-centered interactivity (a way to make a difference)
  • Secure, interactive product or service ordering
  • Easy access to you (contact, auto-response)
  • Saved user data (registration, favorites, etc.)
  • User-added value (socio-consumer networking)
  • User notification of special offers (emailings)
  • Easy access to relevant information
  • Form follows content (no technology religion)
  • Fast page loads (optimization)
  • Easy to find (properly indexed with search engines)
  • Easy to search (good organization and site mapping, or indexing)
  • Added offerings (reasons to come back)
  • A sense of place that answers their particular needs

Once you have established where your weak points are from the visitor’s point of view, it’s a good idea to evaluate each of the critical functions separately. The following sections should help, whether you are face-lifting or getting a whole “new face.” Make sure at the end of the day you have addressed each of these ground-level components.

Embrace Change

Plan for your long-range goals. Effective Internet marketing is a moving target. How people use the web is changing constantly and those hoping to attract and maintain business through a website must be prepared to change with their visitors’ growing expectations.

Your business is growing, too. A site redesign is an opportunity not only to reach out to a broader audience, but also to realign your company or professional goals and vision with the image you project, organizing your site to communicate that vision to both local and far-flung visitors and to achieve your goals.

A full redesign is not like a face lift because it is a new creation—a platform that reflects your growth as a business and the growth of your visitors as web users. You are not who you used to be, and this is your chance to ask the questions: Who are we today? And: Who are we on our way to becoming?

Plan your design around the answers to these central questions and you will ensure the longevity of your website.

Make Your Website Perform

A high-performing website is your most valued employee. A performing website:

  • Is organized to accomplish visitors’ goals
  • Provides service and security
  • Draws in visitors
  • Provides reasons for visitors to return
  • Encourages sales
  • Is optimized to load quickly
  • Is easy to view and navigate
  • Sells what you want to sell
  • Reaches the people who want your services and products
  • Incorporates user feedback and statistics
  • Is easy to update
  • Is up to date with web programming standards
  • Increases your bottom line
  • Delivers Quality

A well-designed site imparts a lasting positive feeling about you and your business by delivering quality. A quality website:

  • Makes an instant impression—paints your brand
  • Engages visitors’ emotions
  • Creates a sense of place
  • Respects visitors’ time
  • Integrates color, graphics, and content to tell your story
  • Provides current, accessible, and relevant information
  • Leads visitors on an intuitive interactive journey
  • Answers the needs of specific customers
  • Reflects the values of your intended visitors
  • Is spacious and uncluttered, with a single mission for each page
  • Communicates clearly, concisely, and legibly, with no errors
  • Adds Value

Be personal. Develop and enhance a sense of relationship. There are too many choices in this world and most of us are constantly weeding out whatever we can to make our lives manageable. Basic needs drive our choices, and at the heart of these is the need for connection.

Use your site to bring your business into direct contact with the visitor and create a positive experience that visitors will associate with you. If you can save them from having to deal with unknowns, or having to make more choices, you are helping them in a deep and powerful way, and this creates a relationship of trust.

Enhance that positive experience by freeing your visitors’ senses, creating space, and a visual design that relaxes them, or appeals to their sense of beauty. Give them relief from the chaos of life. Choose a reasonable set of expectations to deliver on, and then deliver.

Create community to build the relationship. Give visitors a chance to add something to your website that others can see, making them part of your community. Blogs, polls, surveys, guestbooks, and user reviews of products and services are all excellent ways of building user-shared interactivity into your site, while deepening the personal connection.

Reach Out

You can create your visitors’ dream web experience, but if they can’t find you, it will all be for naught. It’s not actually their job to find you. Rather, it is your job to help them find you, to lead them to your door with properly posted signs. The days of luring customers with advertising are over. Today’s best advertising focuses simply on helping people solve problems. Make sure your advertising leads potential visitors to specific solutions.

The same goes for your search engine optimization (SEO): this is the effort you put into matching search engine results to the solutions you offer, and it can make the difference between success or failure of a sight. Paul Montalvo, of Adviseo, breaks this important function down into ten top strategies everyone should employ:

Although the concept of search engine optimization can be somewhat complex, there are a number of basic search engine optimization techniques you can use to improve your organic search results. Keep the following in mind when trying to achieve top rankings for your website.

Meta Tags. Meta tags are simple lines of code at the top of your web page programming that tell search engines about your page. Include the title tag, keywords tag, description tag, and robots tag on each page.
Create and update your sitemap. Developing a sitemap is a simple way of giving search engines the information they need to crawl your entire website. There are plenty of free software packages on the web that can help you generate a sitemap. Once you create a sitemap, submit it to Google and Yahoo.
Ensure that all navigation is in HTML. All too often, navigational items are in the form of JavaScript. Even though navigation technically still works in this format, it’s not optimized. Create your navigation in HTML to enhance internal links throughout your website.
Check that all images include ALT text. Your image’s alt text is spidered by search engines. If you’re not including your keywords in alt text, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for improved search engine result placements. Label all of your images properly.
Make sure that your website code is clean. Keep in mind when optimizing a web page crawlers are basically only looking at your source code. When programming your web pages, having W3C compliant code can make all the difference. Run your code through a W3C validator before promoting.
Place keywords in your page content. Search engines scan your website and web pages for keywords. Shoot for a keyword density of between two and eight percent. Google likes your page to be at the lower end of this scale and Yahoo at the upper end.
Submit your website to search engine directories. It’s always a good idea to let large search engine directories know that you’re out there. Submit your website URL to directories like Google, Yahoo, and DMOZ.
Encourage links to your website. All major search engines value the importance of your website based on how many other relevant websites are linking to it.
Learn the basics. Learning to optimize your website for search engines takes time and patience. Start by applying basic search engine optimization principles. If you’re new to website optimization, or even a well seasoned veteran, begin by prioritizing which pages are most important to you and go from there. Soon you’ll find yourself moving up the rankings.

Putting it All Together

Once you’ve considered all of the aspects of site design and maintenance, prioritize your tasks and timeline based on what your visitors will need and expect most. You can learn a vast amount about your visitors by studying your page stats, so don’t forget to do that. Try to think like one of your visitors, and then anticipate their next need. You will be amazed at how quickly you can gain momentum just by adding or updating the next most important functionality consistently. Set aside the time and budget to implement updates and add features regularly, as needed.

Finally, have fun. There is a natural relationship between having fun and creative productivity. This is why musicians don’t “work” guitars—they PLAY them. Integrate your passions into your site and you will maintain it better, as well as attracting visitors that inspire you further!

When to Redesign was last modified: July 27th, 2016 by Leha Carpenter

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