Before discussing why your website should be redesigned, we should discuss why your website is important. Why have a website in the first place? It doesn’t provide a direct line to additional income for you or your business. It doesn’t make your life simpler. It doesn’t cook you breakfast. So why? Stand back, and let me explain.
1. Let’s start with advertising
Your website provides far more advertising for far less money. Yes, it’s less committal advertising. Yes, it’s more abstract than a billboard. But it’s advertising nonetheless, and it costs less. Compare one month of advertising on a busy roadside billboard, which is going to cost about $3,000-ish, and the cost of building and hosting a website indefinitely: Say, $1,000 to $2,000 for a good website, plus $10-$20 a month for hosting. The billboard just cost you $36,000, whereas the website cost you about $2,200 for the first year, and $120 -$240 for every year after that, and the billboard is limited in the number of people who are going to see it whereas your website has a literally unlimited number of potential customers who can see it.
2. You must establish a Web presence
More and more people everyday are looking for services online, and later generations don’t sneeze without looking it up online first. It’s easy to tell my customers “don’t get left behind” or “it’s the only way your business can compete”, and while statements that sound like doom and gloom, it’s actually true. There are companies and businesses that don’t have a physical storefront, never have and never will, and attract huge percentages of the market. Ever hear of Amazon.com?
3. Customer education, referrals, and FAQs
You know when you call your local cable company, and the first thing the automated voice on the other end of the phone asks is if you’re having a common problem like resetting your modem, programming your TV or paying your bill, then it sends you to an automated line that walks you through those activities? Yeah, it’s annoying and I can’t stand it, but the difference between the cable company and your website is that your customers have CHOSEN to be there, whereas the cable company’s customers have been hijacked from their original reason for calling. Your customers and potential conversions are on your website looking for information, and instead of calling your office and burning time, their answers are already right there, in plain text, on your website. Why are you not funding this?
Now, on to why your website just might need to a rebrand. We’ve already established that your website is a shortcut to information about you and your product, but what if your customers aren’t getting the information they need? What if your website isn’t inspiring the type of confidence that causes people to pick up the phone and call, or drive down to your storefront? What if the information they’re looking for is there, but is presented in such a way that distracts or confuses them into looking elsewhere? If your website doesn’t fall into any of these categories, then don’t bother continuing. But if it does, you might want to keep reading.
Your website literally reflects who you are. It puts on display the type of quality you are willing to either settle for, or how far you’re willing to reach. The following are some questions you should ask yourself when considering a site redesign:
1. What’s my goal, and why am I not meeting it?
The clear and simple goal of most business websites is to create customers, and in order to do that you must set yourself apart from your competitors. You need to tell your ideal client what their problem is, how you’re addressing it and how your solution is superior to solutions offered by others. It must reflect who you are, and I’m afraid it’s a superficial matter: What kind of professionalism are you willing to accept when soliciting services? Are you doing business with a suit and tie, or flip flops? The state of your website will give potential customers the answers to these questions.
2. Who is accessing my website?
To know this, you have to know to what type of demographic your services are most relevant. The image that your website cultivates will bring a certain type of demographic.
- Do you own law firm? Your customers are expecting courtroom-bred professionalism and bulldog-like tenacity.
- Are you in a grunge band? Your fans are there for the experience. They want to see skilled musicians and social irreverence.
It’s as simple as that.
3. Analyze your competition
Understanding how your competition works is a critical step in helping you find your competitive sweet spot. If your online presence sends your competition running for the trees, then you’re doing it right. But if not, we’ve got work to do. We have to know what isn’t working right, why it’s not working right, how to fix what isn’t working right and form that and a bunch of other factors into a redesign gameplan.
4. Updated graphics (yeah, duh, but it’s important)
This is a subtle but important junction in this conversation, and I’ll give you the most prevalent example that comes up over and over: Deep graphics versus flat graphics. Since navigating the Internet has become a comparatively complex process over the last years, (oh, let’s say five years) web designers have moved toward a simpler graphics format than was previously used. It’s called Flat web design, and what can I say about it? Flat, flat, flat! Take a look at these two logos:
On the left is JPMicro’s old logo, and on the right is the new logo. Notice any differences? The old logo has drop shadows, uses an odd font and doesn’t contrast well with the background. This design philosophy was prevalent years ago, so it’s not bad, but the design is simply out of date. While rebranding and updating the graphics on our site, we decided on a flat, masculine and higher contrast logo.
This is simply one of many rebranding strategies we’ve taken over the years, and incorporating this and many, many other elements into your redesign strategy can help you sew the type of confidence in your product you’ve always wanted, and wondered why you haven’t gotten.