Start the Year Fresh with a Website Makeover

It is virtually impossible to operate a business without having a web presence, mainly, a website. Your website is likely going to be the first chance you have to stand out to potential clients and customers. Your website will be a representation of your business, and by extension, you.

Take a moment to do the following exercise. Pretend you’re seeing your site for the first time. What is your first impression? Be as objective as possible and ask yourself:

  • Is it easy to tell what product and services are offered?
  • Do the images on the site match the service offerings?
  • Is it easy for potential customers to find contact information?
  • Does the site load quickly?
  • Is the site easy to navigate?
  • How does it load from mobile and any/all other devices you have access to?

It can be hard to detach ourselves from our work. You’ve invested so much time, energy, and passion into your business, of course it’s going to be difficult to think about it objectively. Consider your goals for your website, whether it be to drive sales, serve as an educational tool, or attract new clients. Ask yourself, Is my current website design helping me reach these goals?  

If you did the exercise above and weren’t happy with the answers, we suggest you start the year fresh with a website makeover. We’re going to outline several things to take into account as you contemplate a website redesign. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this one: take the user experience into account in every aspect of your website design.

Make Your Website More Visually Appealing

    • Embrace simplicity and white space
    • Make your pages less chaotic
      • Channel your inner Marie Condo and declutter!
    • Let your audience scroll!
      •  It’s okay to embrace longer pages. Having to click over to several pages for basic information is frustrating and a deterrent.
    •  Improve navigation
      • Reduce choice where you can (i.e. there’s no need for a chaotic landing bar at the top of the page).
    • Use High-Quality Images
      • No more stock photos (and if you must use stock photos, make sure they are an accurate representation of your business)

Update to a Mobile, Responsive Design 

Your website has to be mobile-friendly. Roughly 60 percent of people browse websites from their mobile device.

  • When designing your site, consider working backwards, start with mobile first, then optimize for desktop.
    • Are you embracing modern coding techniques?
    • Reduce website load time
      • No one wants to stay on a website that won’t load! Make sure you’re using the newest versions of your website host and embrace CSS coding which will make your site more mobile-friendly.

Comply with (GDPR)  – General Data Protection Regulation 

Transparency is key and incredibly important. Your users and potential customers want to know that their data is safe. Transparency helps build trust and lasting relationships with your clients. Some ways to make your website GDPR compliant are:

    • Disclose any Privacy or Data Breaches
    • Add a Cookie Consent Banner
    • Update Your Privacy Policy
    • Encrypt traffic to your website by using HTTPS.
    • Make sure you’re using an updated version of WordPress or your website host of choice.

Make Sure Your Site is ADA Compliant 

“ADA compliance means that local governments [and businesses] are required, and expected, to ensure all their digital content is accessible by citizens with visual, auditory, and other physical limitations and disabilities.”

According to Civic Plus, accessibility prudence:

  • Impacts 19% of your citizens
    • Understand that if a user cannot find the information they are looking for, he or she will assume it doesn’t exist.
  • Increases site traffic
  • Improves search engine optimization (SEO)

There are a number of ways to increase accessibility to your site:

    • Add “Alt Text” to Your Images (Do this on social media posts as well)
    • Make sure your video content has closed captioning (CC) or a transcript available.
    • Have Clear Headlines and Subheadlines.
      • Use contrasting headlines to differentiate between texts and background
      •  Avoid dense paragraphs
    • Websites should be navigable by both keyboard and keyboard equivalents.
    • Keep information in a consistent location.
  •  

Optimize SEO

Incorporating the things listed in this article; a cleaner website, updated mobile design, compliance with GDPR and ADR regulations will automatically give you an SEO boost. Search engines want to lead their visitors to user-friendly websites. User-focused optimization is the new trend, try to take into account what your clients are going to be looking for -“intent research” 

Other things you can do to improve SEO:

    • Research and update key words
    • Provide high-quality content that is consistent with your brand and client needs
    • Clear & Catchy Headlines
    • Google will continue to look at the overall reputation and E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)
    • Updating website design also improves SEO (!!!)

Incorporate a Chat Feature

    • Helps turn visitors into leads
    • Answer user questions quickly and effectively
      • If you see repeated questions pop-up, it may be time to update your website information.
    • Keep in mind, if you don’t think you have the time or ability to get to questions quickly, a chat feature may not be a good idea. Slow response times are a turn-off. 

Improve Social Media

    • Add “Click to Tweet” in posts
    • Add Social Sharing Functions
    • Add “Call to Action” buttons on your website
      • “Book Now,” “Call Us,” “Join Our Newsletter”
      • The same design rules apply: Make sure your CTAs are short, direct, and easy to access.
    • Add “Follow” Buttons and make sure they are clear and easy to access.
      •  Visitors should not search for your social media information.

Embrace Analytics 

    • Work on your Bounce Rate (This metric measures how often someone leaves your landing page without scrolling further).
      • Check Google Analytics to see how long people are staying on your page.
      • A website redesign will help!
    • Work on your Click Through Rate (CTR) measures how often visitors are clicking on links and posts.
    • Consider Where Your Views are Coming From
      • Knowing who is visiting your website will help aid you in your redesign and tailor your content
      • Consider factors like age and location. If most people are finding your links through Instagram, focus more of your energy there. If you have foreign visitors, take that into account when creating content.

If you’re ready to start the year fresh with a website makeover, or ready to build your first website, reach out to our team to see how we can help. If you’re wanting to dig into some more checklists and make sure you’re ready to rebuild or start from scratch, here are some resources you should keep handy:

Review Your Website Like A Pro
The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist: 22 Essential Criteria 
New Website Launch Checklist
Website Design and Development: A Starter Checklist

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