1. First Impressions! Think About It!
In todays day and age your website is one of the first places a potential customer will go to get an idea of who or what your about. If someone gets to your website and they are not impressed in the first split second you will loose them. Google actually has a measurement for how often this happens , they call it a bounce rate, fitting. People are fickle and easily change their opinion based on things they see and where they see them. A perfect example of this is the traditional yellow pages, the only way you could get noticed above your competitors was to buy a bigger ad or make it more noticable through graphics. Today however, you have an entire platform to make the first impression that you desire. The ability to put the right foot forward on your terms. If you are not happy about what you are viewing for yourself then chances are your clients and potential customers probably won’t be either. Look at your site and ask yourself, Is this the impression I am trying to make?
If the statement about is true for you than there are two reasons why it would be a good time to have your website re-designed. The first being is at the time of this post most of the major smart phone (OS & Hardware) providers like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Blackberry have had an enoyable to use web ready smart phone for about five years. Sites built before this time or during the release of these devices will probably not stand up to browsing via these devices. With smart phones quickly becoming one of the most communly used browsing devices, a web site that is functional on the above mentioned OS & Hardware is almost critical because if a person is trying to get to your website via their mobile it probalby means they want to know about and contact your immediatly, Can they easily do that with your current site? The second reason has more to do with point number one and first impressions. I site designed before smart phones is probably dated and give people the sense that if your site is not moving forward with the times then neither is your business.
2. If your website is not making you money!
The way I see it is that a website has two ways of making you money, a product page or a service page. The web is as your most powerful marketing tool that you possess. With the current level of web technology where it is, it has become a common practise to track people comming to your website and their conversion to a phone call or sale. If your site stricktly falls under the providing service side of things, it should be easy enough to ask each time the phone rings how people found you. If they still say the yellow pages then its clear you need some assistance with the your business website. If you site falls under that of a product page and you are not making any money than that becomes an even bigger problem. Ths could be a result of various things including a bad first impression to people not being able to find what they are looking for. Thats covered in the “your site is lost and blurry” topic. This is what you need to know. From a business standpoint, like any marketing you do, you should be able to track your website and how it generates income for your business. If you can not do this at the minimum you should probably look at having your site updated. Second if you have a product page, it should be making you money period. Its a product page. Why have a website if it is not generating an income for you. Would you keep a store open if no one walked through the door and bought anything. Probalby not. The thing being is with the reduced overhead of running an online store people take their eye off the ball and don’t but the necassry effort into turning their product website into a money printing machine.
3. The Student who used to work for you…
What I’m really trying to say here is, if your web site has been built and maintained by your sister in laws, cousins nephews brothers friend, a co-op students, part time employees, tinker tailors or non professionals you need to talk to us. This situation leads to all sorts of issues. The first comes when the business owner finds out that the co-op student web designer from nine years ago was the one to registered the domain name and now he can’t be found to transfer it to the rightful business owner. Next we usually run into the “well the person who did the site before has all the passwords and no one knows what happened to them” story. Thats always fun. Then it can often build up to the while John and Jane Doe from bookkeeping or administration down the hall takes care of the website as part of their day to day duties. “Perfect” we say, ” You mean they update the content daily to keep your site fresh”. “no no” is the usual response. They took a night school course on web design and take care of the whole site. I often ask afterwards if you would trust an auto mechanic or electrician to work on your car or fuse box if you know they only took a couple classes in night school? I would by the way, but it would be for simple things like changing the oil or spark plugs or fixing an outlet, however to rebuild my engine or wire the house. Bring in the professionals. The right tool for the right job at the end of the day.
4. If the focus of your site is lost or blurry
This has been a common theme among many websites I visit. Its the idealogy that people coming to your website would rather read about every single thing you sell as a product or service. It is the ideaology that people really want to read about the history of your company, employees rather then hearing it from them directly. Its the ideology that everything you present on your site should also redereict to every single supplier you use. It is then presented in a fashion that requires someone with twenty years experience in your industry to decipher or interpret. Where do I go? I’m not sure. That is the result. One of the most important things Lunarstorm preaches about regarding client websites is the need for that website to convert to a phone call. At the end of the day there is no better sales person for your company then you and your team. If you try to force to much information down your potential clients throat they will just leave your site and move on to the next site until they have found one that takes them directly to what they are looking for. Usually its contact information at the end of the day. Your website has to be informative and at the same time simple and concise. It has to be like a thirty second TV comercial, here is what we do, here is how you get in contact with us.
5. If the majority of your menu reads like this -> home, about us, services, products, contact us
What’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing at all if your goal is to lump yourself in with the other million business that have the exact same menu. The menu is one of the core pieces of your website that not only tells Google what the hell you do but it also is the main thing your potential client sees when they enter your website. I often tell clients when we are sitting down for the SEO aspect of the webdesign that when regarding the menu a complete layman and first time visitor to the site should be able to give a thirty second sales pitch after reading the main menu. This means it is clear and concise and will usually create the need to click further into the website. The other reason which is equally important to not confusing your potential client is not to confuse Google or the search engines either. Google treats your main menu that same as your grade 9 english teacher treated the title of the pages on your book report. In short they are like chapter titles and best be informative. To search engines like Google the title of your book report, i.e.; the titles in your menu and ergo the titles of the website pages should tell you exactly what will be found on that page. As an example if you look under the Lunarstorm menu titled web design, what information do you think you will find? I know what Google will be expecting. Now if instead Lunarstorm put the menu title Services up their instead of Web Design, what would I be telling the user or search engines like Google. Not much, not much at all.