New Year, New Website? Is It Time to Redesign?

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    It’s that time of year, and no; I’m not talking about the holidays. I am talking about the fiscal New Year. Thoughts go to where to place our hard earned money to achieve maximum returns, customer retention and customer attraction.

    In my business, web design and internet marketing, we consider both when working on a client’s website. It is this time of year that we get the most requests to review and critique websites in preparation for redesigning them. Most are from companies that are unsure if their site is working, some just have very old websites, others know they need to redesign but are just not sure where to begin. When redesigning your website, there are a few factors that we will review. With social media (Facebook or Google+), technology (mobile vs. desktop), and goals changing every day, is it time to update your website?

    What Has Changed In Your Business?

    Over the past 2-3 years, has your priorities and focus changed? Have you modernized your brand, updated colors, or edited your tagline? Has your target market narrowed or expanded to include other product lines? If so, then you might consider a complete redesign to reflect changes in the brand.

    But sometimes a complete website redesign is not always necessary. We just updated an interior designer’s website by simply removing superfluous colors and graphics and switching her logo. This required minimal work but it did update her website to reflect her new brand.

    Have You Been Reviewing Your Website Statistics?

    It is very important that you keep track of your website’s traffic. How can you make changes without knowing what works and what does not? You can find out if folks are visiting the pages you need them to visit. How long are they staying on a certain page? Which pages attract the most visitors and traffic? What are your best search engine phrases and find out if your social media work is paying off. Maybe last year most of your traffic came from Google but this year it has been Facebook or Twitter? This will affect how we would design but also what functions to include.

    What is the Purpose and Goal(s) of Your Website?

    You’ll need to consider the main purpose of your website. For retail, it might be sales and customer support; for lawyers it might be phone calls and initial inquiries; for doctors it might be appointments; for consultants, email subscriptions. Maybe it is to provide basic information about your small business but you’ll want to take advantage of mobile technology like iPhones or Android. Make sure your users can reach you easily with phone number techniques and maps.

    How Will You Express Your Unique Selling Proposition?

    Let’s admit it, everyone has a website now. We have gone past the question of, “Do I need a website?” to “How will I get my website to standout?” How you do that is not just with a professional looking site but with content. How will you speak to your target market and how do you want them to respond? Will you solve their problems; answer their questions as only you can answer?

    What Technology Should You Consider?

    Your new site should be visible on mobile devices. If it is not, it is time to consider your website’s platform and reconsider that Flash website. Then with blogs having an impact on search engines, will you need to incorporate WordPress or some other blog platform? Based on the goals we’ve discussed earlier, what features and technology will you include making sure those goals are met? An option form for your newsletter, maybe an appointment scheduling system, a frequently asked questions page, Facebook feeds, or webinars from lawyers giving tips on contract.

    Where Are You Most Spending Your Money and Time?

    Can you improve your time and expenses on the new site by making small updates and edits yourself or by a staff member? Consider a content management system during your redesign so that you can tweak wording, update photos, and maybe start a blog. Rather than waiting for your web developer and paying those high fees, you could be making those simple changes yourself. But, be sure to ask yourself if you have the time and inclination to keep the site updated. Google’s new algorithm incorporates how often a website is updated.

    Have you Considered Search Engine Optimization?

    Any time you decide to change our website, you must think about the impact it might have on search engines. Look for ways that you can tighten up your Meta Tags like title and descriptions. Be sure to do some key work research on Google’s Keyword Tools. Can you tweak your content and incorporate internal links?

    As you redesign, if that is the direction you decide to go in this New Year, be sure to do some research. It will pay off in the long run.

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    Christina Hawkins

    Christina Hawkins is CEO of GlobalSpex, Inc. and a Fractional CMO for her clients. A seasoned digital marketer since 1999, Christina has designed and built exceptional websites partnering with small businesses to help them grow and increase revenue. She understands that digital marketing is a constantly evolving technology and works to stay on top of the latest changes. She is always looking for the best route for clients' lead generation needs and revenue. In addition to her ability as a digital marketer, Christina is a coach and mentor with Agency Mavericks to other digital marketing freelancers, helping them grow their businesses. She is also a sponsor and co-leader of Houston's WordPress Meetup.

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