Web Design New Website - April 2008

Web design Sunshine Coast

Is your current web site complementing or damaging your business? Do you need a new web design?

There comes a time in the life of any website when you should step back and look objectively at whether it still achieves the goals you originally had for it. This was mentioned in our article on web design brand.

Successful businesses on the Sunshine Coast have had many websites over the years and understand that the costs of redesigning from scratch are often less than the incidental expenses and losses caused by an inefficient site.

People choose to overhaul their website for many reasons, but if any of the following five scenarios apply to you, your current web design could be doing your business more harm than good.

1. Outgrowing the Website Builder Web Design Software

Website builders offer cheap web design and are often a great way to launch your online business, but many businesses eventually outgrow these templates. After a while, the limitations and restrictions of a website builder may prevent your online business from developing in the way it should. We see these every day on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and in The UK.

If, like hundreds of others, you used an online website builder to get a quick, cheap website online, it is likely you selected the most exciting and whiz-bang template you could find. After all, if the website builder offers you lots of features, buttons and widgets, why not use them all to dazzle your website visitors?

As you become more proficient in working with the internet, you may notice more websites with templates that seem simpler or more elegant than yours. Website builders often involve compromise as you try to choose the best option available to provide the appearance you want. A picture may not display exactly as you want. A colour scheme may not completely match your brand. You may even spot some of the elements you used appearing on other websites constructed with the website builder, indicating your site is not as unique as you would like.

If you want to optimise your website for the search engines, you may become frustrated by the limitations of your website software. The inability to structure and format everything in line with SEO principles often persuades business owners that the time has come to upgrade. More on web design keywords.

2. Customer Conversion from your website is Low

Having a strong flow of traffic to you website does not guarantee success. If these visitors are not converted into customers at a high enough rate, your website could actually be costing you money by not adequately returning on investment.

Customer conversion can be driven by a number of points, but there are three areas directly related to your website; information architecture, copy and design. More on web design useability.

Information architecture covers how the customer navigates around the site and how easy or difficult it is for the typical user to find what they are looking for. If your website layout is not ‘instinctive’, you risk customers becoming confused and leaving to buy elsewhere. Clear headings, obvious navigation and a logical framework of interior pages can have a dramatic effect on a visitor’s experience.

Website copy remains one of the most underestimated aspects of online business and there is a reason professional writers are able to charge the big bucks for using the same tools we all do – words. Strong copywriting for your website is about more than adding in words for the search engines or listing product features. Successful copywriting is about using those words to induce a particular action in the reader a greater percentage of the time. Unless you are a professional copywriter, it is best to have your website copy checked by someone who understands how words generate sales.

Design can also excite or annoy a visitor. The colours, layout, images and even the style and size of font can affect a reader’s likelihood of response. Your amazing offer may be coloured by a negative design. Also, a design says a lot about the type of business you are; professional and corporate or casual and relaxed. These issues often seem irrelevant to some business owners, but the customer builds their previous experiences into their decision making. For example, people are more likely to trust a financial services website if it gives off a corporate professional feel, even if the business owner is typing his responses in jeans and a t-shirt. We use our web design checklist to 'get it right the first time'.

3. The Search Engines Ignore You

Without traffic, your website cannot hope to survive long, and the best source of traffic is through the search engines. Search engine optimisation has developed various techniques to achieve the best results, but certain website designs can never hope to use all of them. If your website is built in Flash, you may find yourself seriously limited in attracting search engine traffic as Flash lacks the text in a format for the search engines to read. Also, if your website was built without a mind to the search engines, the structure and titles of the pages – even the content management system – may restrict your ability to tap into this rich source of traffic. We have a whole article on web design flash.

This can be true even if you used professional designers to construct the site. As many designers are not search engine optimisation experts and are only being paid to enact your design brief, such considerations may be missing from the final product.

Sometimes the easiest solution to this problem is to rebuild the website from the ground up. This may seem an expensive option, especially if the website functions perfectly well on other levels. But if your perfectly fine website is not visible to the bulk of internet traffic, you are already losing far more money than you realise in lost sales and missed opportunities.

4. Outdated Web Design Style and Technology

The internet continues to evolve at a rapid pace and web design attempts to use the best developments possible to increase effectiveness. More websites are aware that modern trends in internet technology, commonly referred to as Web 2.0, have brought with them a whole new set of design challenges.

If you have decided to include a blog on your website, the existing template may not suffice. Without a content management system, many of the opportunities of new technology are lost to you.

This may not be important to many websites, but in certain industries, Web 2.0 has become established as the norm and by not updating your website to cater to this audience, you may fall behind your competition.

5. Your Website No Longer Reflects Your Business

Lastly, an obvious but often overlooked issue. Businesses grow and develop. After a time, you may find that your website no longer represents your new business in the way it once did.

If your business has grown larger but your website still looks like a very small enterprise, your success is not conveyed to your online visitors. Also, many businesses evolve their product ranges and develop new revenue streams. These often dictate website changes.

Minor changes may not mean a whole new website, but if there are a lot of new features bolted on over time, the old website may not perform as cleanly and may be more difficult to administer effectively. By rebuilding the website, you can resimplify the structure to better represent the new face of the company.

Starting Again

With any decision of this kind, you should weigh up the potential costs of both options: leaving the website as it is or paying for a new website. Although staying with the current website may seem to be the cheapest option, the additional costs in administration hours with an inadequate structure, the limitations in customer conversion reducing sales and the lack of search engine traffic has to be costed in as well.

By looking into a new website, initial costs will be higher. But, depending on the requirements of the website, a new professional design can cost from $599 to over $4000. In assessing these costs, it is worth considering that this fee can help attract and convert far more customers. If you are able to double your monthly website income by implementing a new website design, is it not worth the expense?

Contact us to find out more - Sunshine Coast 0407 589 420.


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