In the age of social media pages and profiles, websites can be easily overlooked. I can see the appeal – Facebook is freshly updated every day and quite engaging as you cherish the Likes & Shares; most websites are static all year round and simply there to inform. When designed for modern times, however, websites will always be the best tool for reaching, engaging and creating customers.
Customers aren’t buying on Facebook nearly as much as they do on websites. Customers are looking for a responsive, well-designed, engaging, easy to navigate website that lets them do what they came to do: shop, browse, buy, explore and learn. With dozens of hot web design trends for 2015, a website can be even more engaging than social media. And, as you’ve tragically learned after the umpteenth, unprompted change to your Facebook Timeline’s look and style, Facebook isn’t a replacement for a custom-made website.
So how do you know when it’s time for a fresh website design? What will it take for you to finally overhaul your flagship web presence? Maybe you need a sign. We’ll give you ten of them to look for:
1) Your website isn’t responsive.
No, we don’t mean your site isn’t responding at all and gets the dreaded 404 Error: Page Cannot Be Found window, though that’s pretty bad. Responsive means that your site doesn’t adapt to the wide range of devices your customers use…and it’s the new standard in web design. Statistics show that 62% of companies that designed a website with mobile in mind saw increased sales. Your site may look fine on a desktop computer but if it “doesn’t fit” on an iPhone or iPad, you’re losing sales. A “smart and responsive” website adapts to different devices and different screen sizes and lets your customers experience your business exactly as you intended.
2) You’re directing people to your Facebook page instead of your website.
Ashamed of your website? That’s pretty sad. You have so many possibilities with a custom-made website so stop feeling ashamed and start changing it! As we mentioned above, social media is not a replacement for your website. Facebook is limiting, the design is ever-changing and organic reach is decreasing. Step back from social media, clarify what you hope to achieve from your website and connect with web designers who can help you discover all the possibilities of having a ridiculously cool website.
3) Even Google can’t find you.
Google your main service or product right now (like “Kosher Meat Restaurants”). Did you come up on the first page? What about the second page? Not even on the second page? Are your competitors above you? Yeah, that’s not good. Ok, now Google yourself. Did you come up? First page, second page, where? How does your profile look? Wait, is it even there? There are a lot of ways to improve your search engine results and many of them start with your website. How your website is designed, how it’s coded, how your content is written, how your images are categorized, and how your site is indexed will all determine your place in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search. And if Google can’t find you easily, you can bet customers won’t find you either.
4) Your website is way too chatty.
Think of your website’s homepage as a storefront. Visitors come by, look through the windows, maybe see something they like and go right in. If customers see an overly chatty, overcompensating salesperson talking their ear off at the front door, they may run back to their car. Overloading your website with a ton of text will turn off customers. The most effective websites combine strong, to-the-point copy with engaging visuals that illustrate your business without the noise. In other words, clean your store windows and get rid of the chatterbox. Have your web designer work closely with your marketing team to effectively design a clean, appealing website that clearly illustrates your mission statement and personality.
5) Your website sucks at selling.
You work hard. 10 hour days. 12 hours maybe, wow. You don’t work as hard as your website, though. Your website is your non-stop 24/7 sales, marketing and PR team. Question is – is your website really working or slacking? Are you getting sales from your website? How about leads? Is your website easy to navigate for impulse buyers? Can someone look at your site and know everything they need to know about you and understand what you can do for them? Can it convert visitors into customers? Evaluate your website. If it can’t do any of the above, maybe it’s time to fire your website.
6) You have more pages on your website than in your printer.
I see, you have a page About Us. And a page for The Team. And also a page for Meet The Boss. And then a page for Our Promise To You. And a page for The Boss’ Promise To You. Ok, I promise never to come back to your website. Eliminate the clutter and get rid or combine obsolete pages. All those above pages can be in the About Us section, that’s it. Stick to the core pages that provide the most value to your visitors and are designed to convert them into customers. The rule of thumb is that every page on the site should be only two clicks away. If it is easy for your potential customers to see what you offer and buy easier, your investment will be worth it.
7) Social media and your website aren’t mixing well.
Having a social presence online is a given. Your customers and visitors may visit your site to buy but they’ll also connect with you on Twitter and Facebook to socialize. If you aren’t sharing your social media pages with your target audience on your website, then how else will they find you? Modern websites have a social integration tools and widgets to maximize the social/website integration process that goes beyond merely adding a Pinterest or Instagram badge. Also, be sure your social media design looks similar to your website so as not to disconnect with customers. Designs that don’t gel together is like a customer buying a delicious peach from you one day and then getting a subpar one the next; inconsistency in look and design is not a good image to show customers.
8) You fell in love with your Flash “ENTER SITE” intro.
Watching an intro takes up your users’ time and turns them off from entering your site at all. There’s absolutely no benefit to having an introduction about your site; it’s an outdated trend. In fact, a Flash intro is actually a detriment to your brand because Flash animations don’t show up on iPhones and iPads, devices that customers frequently use to web browse. You only have about four seconds to get visitors to click around on your site. Don’t waste those seconds with a Flash intro.
9) Your website is all about YOU.
Yes, this is your website, but if you’re looking to get business, increase donations or be a community resource, you need to start thinking about the end-users. Your website is for your clients and prospects, not simply for telling the world how awesome you are. It is your chance to show customers that you understand their problem, that you can help them find the solution, and that you are the best choice to get them where they want to go. From colors to visuals to content, it should be designed with the customers best interest in mind.
10) You can’t stop looking at your competitors website.
You know you do it. You can’t help it. It’s so attractive. If you find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time creeping around your competitors’ sites, oohing and aahing at the look and design, you need a website redesign. Their site may be easier to navigate, more organized, or even just nicer to look at, and it’s safe to assume your potential customers are going to spend plenty of time there if you do. Don’t worry, you can design a website similar and better than your competition.