Website Redesign: 7 Budget-Friendly Updates You Can Make Today
Many industrial companies are realizing that they can no longer put up a website and “let it be” for 5-7 years before they give it another thought. Did you know that depending on how well your website was programmed and designed in the first place, marketing professionals now say the shelf life of a website is 2-3 years? The reasons are many:
- On-site optimization needs are changing constantly, sometimes daily
- Designs that look fresh today may begin looking outdated in 3 years
- Content management systems are also changing constantly, with newer versions offering a better user experience and easier on-site management and “out of the box” SEO
- The expectations of the visitors to your website will continue to evolve, just as technology provides newer, better designed sites
So what if you realize the need for a website redesign, but it’s just not in the budget this year? Here is a list of things you can do relatively quickly, easily, and economically as compared to developing a completely new, world class website. Just realize that these are temporary fixes. You WILL eventually have to invest in a new website!
1. Update the design and content of your Home Page
This is the first thing visitors to your site see. If you don’t capture their attention within seconds, they’ll bounce (immediately leave the site.) You will probably need to hire professionals, but the cost to update one page will be a fraction of the cost of a new site.
- Does your Home Page project the right image for your company?
- Is your value proposition clearly obvious?
- Do you direct visitors to the most important internal pages of the site?
- Are the most important information and links in the upper portion of the page, visible on most monitors?
- Is there a clear call to action?
- Is your contact information prominently displayed, including a phone number?
- Are your social media icon links immediately visible?
2. Re-think the hierarchy of your Home Page
Design is important; but graphic designers don’t always think about the user’s experience on the site. No matter how good the site looks, if it’s not easy to navigate, you’ve got a problem.
- What is it you want visitors to your site to do, and in what priority? The Home Page should flow logically through that process.
- Where should they be clicking and when?
- Do you have different types of content on your site that delivers information important at different stages of the buying cycle? Consider ways to showcase that content in order to catch the attention of a potential customer
3. Look for ways to make your site’s navigation more concise
- Ask yourself, what will my perfect target customers be looking for on this website and then make it as quick and easy as possible for them to find it.
- Look at all of your navigation links: are there so many they may overwhelm a visitor and turn them away?
- Can you consolidate some of your main links? For example, “Company History,” “Management Team,” “Certifications, and “Mission Statement” could all be sub-links under “About Us.”
- Do you think your customers would be searching for product / service categories; applications; or industries? Make sure your navigation reflects what they will most likely be searching for.
4. Do a content “refresh”
- Start thinking like your customers. Does the content on your site answer all of their questions about your products and services?
- Is copy written concisely: not too much, not too little? If there’s a lot to say about a certain subject, give an overview but provide a link with more details related to separate items on another page.
- Is copy written in language using terms your customers would use?
- How would a potential customer search for your product or service? Think of all the possible keywords and keywords phrases, and incorporate them into your copy (again, not too much, not too little.)
5. Optimize your site’s page titles
This seems so simple, but can be the difference between being “found” by search engines or being the same as invisible.
- Make the title of each page concise, and incorporate the most important keyword on that page as close to the front of the title as possible
- Don’t use numbers – ever!
- Don’t duplicate page titles: They must be written differently for every page.
6. Update your About Page
After your Home Page, this is probably the most important page of your site. I know for me personally, if a site’s Home Page convinces me to go deeper, I’m probably going to the About Page next.
- Does this page clearly explain your company’s expertise, history, and business philosophies?
- This seems like a no brainer: but make sure there is NO spelling or grammatical errors. This page, more than any other on your site should be a reflection of your company’s “personal” side. Sloppy writing suggests sloppy people.
- Add something humanistic to the page. Show bios of key personnel; showcase your company values; if there’s an interesting “people” element to your company’s history, bring it in. This is a page that should help instill trust and make a visitor “want” to do business with you. It should have personality as well as information.
7. Add a Blog or a News Page and start posting!
Depending on your content management system, (CMS) this could be a very simple thing to do. It may require some programming, but again, nothing to the extent of developing a new site! Adding fresh content to your website will have an impact on the amount of traffic Google sends your way.
- Post regularly, as often as possible. For some companies this will be twice a month; but that’s better than nothing.
- Use a keyword strategy and incorporate your keywords into your blog or news posts.
- Make your posts relevant to potential customers and if you have social media pages, post your blogs or news stories on all pages.
Making these changes to your existing website may not deliver the results that a website redesign would; but they will definitely make a difference. Use this strategy as a short-term solution if you suspect that your site is starting to negatively affect the image of your company because of its outdated appearance, or if traffic is falling off. Then start working on making funds available for a new, fully search optimized, world class website (and when you’re ready, please call Marketects!)