Does Your Website Need a Facelift?

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by Ken Schmitt and Vicky Willenberg

Your personal “look” sends a distinct message about who you are- your values and what makes you unique. The same is true about your company’s “look.” No one wants to be told their style is boring or dated, or worse yet, unflattering. If you’re lucky, you have a good friend to stage an “intervention” before you walk out of the store with an ill-fitted pair of jeans or tacky shirt that does nothing for your figure.

But who’s going to tell your business that your look isn’t working for you? Your customers… or lack thereof.

Studies have shown that people make up to thirteen impressions about someone in the first thirty seconds of interacting with them. Therefore, businesses must grab their audience’s attention fast and deliver their message even faster. This is what your website should be designed to do.

How do you know if your website is doing its job or if it’s time to give it a makeover?

5 Signs It’s Time to Give Your Website a Makeover

1. Plenty of visitors… no sales. Getting consistent web traffic is a positive reflection of your site and/or marketing strategy. However, if that traffic is not converting into sales, it is possible you have a usability or design problem. Smriti Chawla, marketing specialist at Visual Website Optimizer, recommends “starting with usability testing and digging into Google Analytics stats to find exact problem areas and figure out [where in] the conversion funnel most visitors are dropping off.” Creating design or content solutions can easily solve many of these problems.

2. Plenty of visitors… no one sticks around. Customer bounce rates are a key indicator of your site’s success or failure. A good marketing strategy can only go so far to reel-in customers. It’s up to the web designers to make those customers’ visits easy and satisfying; and it’s up to your content strategist to make it interesting. “A high bounce rate indicates that prospective customers are either getting a negative first impression of your site or are unable to quickly find the product they’re looking for,” says Matt Winn, senior marketing communications manager at Volusion.  “A site or page redesign is a helpful way to address both branding and usability issues at the same time.”

3. Plenty of visitors… none of them mobile. The power of mobile is indisputable. 80% of Internet users own a smartphone and they are quickly taking over website traffic using those smartphones. Again, using Google Analytics reveals important data regarding your site’s users, including where they are coming from. Considering the power of mobile consumers, minimal mobile users on your site is a definite red flag.  “If it’s more than a few percent, you need to ensure your site is usable on both phones and tablets. Upgrading your site, either to a responsive or adaptive design, or with a mobile specific design, can generally be done affordably,” says Rick Wilson, president of Miva Merchant. Being mobile-friendly allows you to reach customers wherever or however, they shop.

4. Plenty of visitors… no way to keep them coming back. Again, here is where marketing strategy meets web design. “Do you have a way to capture every lead coming to your site? You should have an opt-in on the upper fold of your website in order to capture visitors’ emails,” says Lizz M. Smoak an online business coach. The virtual marketplace is too large to assume customer loyalty will generate repeat business. It’s also possible they found your site after a following a few bunny trails in their search, having no way to retrace their steps and find  you again. Capturing emails allows you the opportunity to give them a reason to remember you and come back.  Offering free downloads or discounts for subscribing is an excellent way to entice them and gives you the chance to add them to your sales and marketing funnels.

5. Plenty of visitors… you’re boring them to death. It’s impossible to expect a company to pump-out new products and services weekly or even monthly. However, that does not mean that YOU can’t create fresh content for your site. Remember, Google ranks refreshed content higher. Use this to your advantage. Update your product descriptions, edit or repurpose older blogs or articles using relevant key words prospects in your industry will use in their own searches. Don’t forget to update images and graphics as well. Having a visually appealing site not only helps with your Google ranking, it keeps your customers engaged longer which allows them to build a relationship with your brand.

In an age of six second Vines and 140 character sales pitches, successful companies build user-friendly, engaging web sites to attract and keep customers. Because your brand is one of the most valuable assets, your digital shelf space should accurately represent who you are, what you have to offer, and why you stand out among the very large crowd.

What attracts you to a website and keeps you coming back for more?

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Comments
  • Steve
    Reply

    This is great stuff… and since it is often hard to convince a business owner that his/her website is not up to par (which the employees usually already know), my team created a tool to automatically survey random people across North America in real time to determine some of the key factors that determine not only the first impression of a site, as well as the ability of a visitor to sense the product/service offering within the crucial first 5 seconds of a new visit, as well as the ability to see something to click on or do in the site within the first 7 seconds.

    Check the tool out at http://www.ismywebsitegood.com . The tool isn’t free because of the cost of the survey, but its the fastest one around, with results in minutes from real people.

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