It reads like a really bad joke, I know...
“What does your web site and Joan Rivers have in common?”
Answer: “From time to time, they both need a facelift!”
(I won’t quit my day job…)
My point is, though, that most business owners build their web sites and let years go by before they realize that their design, theme, and approach could be completely obsolete.
If you’re like most business owners, you try as you will to keep your content fresh and relevant from time to time. Maybe a new special offer or promotion…Maybe some new product or service offerings. New testimonials from customers are always a plus.
If you’re doing those things on a regular basis, FANTASTIC. Keep it up.
Today, however, I’m speaking more about the actual “look and feel” and overall user experience related to your web site.
A dated, badly organized web site based on old web standards/design themes can send out the wrong message to your prospective clients.
The best place to start is by looking at your current web site and asking some key questions:
- When is the last time you changed your site’s design theme? Is it too busy or cluttered? Clean design is the best approach. Avoid animated .gif images, counters at the bottom of your site, too many pictures, too much information (TMI), etc.
- Is your web site clunky and hard to navigate? You have 6-10 seconds to get a user to where they want to go. If your site’s information is too hard to find (1-2 clicks MAX), they will leave. Make sure your navigation is easy to locate and intuitive. Also, put key page links/navigation items in multiple locations. Make your most important pages easy to find no matter where they’re looking.
- Are you using outdated pictures, colors, and fonts that are hard to read? Dark fonts on a very light background is the way to go. Also, make sure that your text is true text and not image based text (a picture of words). A good way to test this is to try and select, copy, and paste the text from your web site into a document. If you can’t, odds are that it is imaged based. The search engines could be penalizing you for this.
- Still using FLASH? Flash is all but dead for an effective web site these days and can cost you big time with the search engines. Use it only for certain presentation applications, occasional video use, and actual web applications. For informational purposes and web site functionality, its a no-no.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT: Does your site have a solid, effective “Call to Action” that allows visitors to get some sort of special offer, report, or information in return for giving you their email address? This is called “Direct Response” marketing. Remember, most visits to your web site will not result in an instant sale. It takes several exposures to what you do to illicit an inquiry or purchase. Instead of boring your visitors with “chest beating” ego-driven copy related to what you do and why your company is the “best”, craft your site’s message around what the visitor “NEEDS”. Remember, ME, ME, ME is BORING, BORING, BORING. Present their problem to them (pain) and educate them on how to solve it without being too aggressive. Over time, you’ll build a prospect list that you can market to with email and direct mail campaigns that are affordable, predictable, and yield results.
- Content Management – Is your site easy to manage or is it built with a technology that makes it hard and expensive to update?
The best part about giving your site a facelift or upgrade is that you can take advantage of the many technologies that exist today that provide you with an easy way to make changes to your web site. The easier it is to make changes, the more fun you can have keeping content relevant, updated, and engaging for your visitors and for the search engines. If your site gets stale, so will your site traffic. WordPress™ is probably the most widely used and fastest growing content management system out there. Its easy to work with and has some pretty powerful features.
Now that you know where you stand, how do you get your web site to where it needs to be?
If you’re open to some new ideas for your updating/upgrading your current web site, we’re here to help.
Click here to schedule a confidential consultation.
To your success!
Sr. Online Business Strategist