The Entrepreneur: Top Tips For Re-designing Your Website
There are so many factors to consider when thinking of creating or updating your company website. Over the last 2 months, we at RM2 have been working towards bringing our site up to date, both in terms of the experience we are offering our visitors, and also to help visibility in major search engines. During the planning and development process, we have encountered a few problems and have been offered some simple but valuable advice we thought we would share.
Top 10 Website Tips
Decide what your aim is
What is it you want your website to do? Why are you creating or changing it? Your website is business strategy, and like all good business strategies you need to have a clearly defined goal. Once you know what you are working towards, it will make decisions throughout the project easier. Key things to consider are – who are you looking to attract? Which competitors do you need to outperform?
Make sure it's YOUR site
As soon as a visitor arrives at your site, they will start making judgements about your company and your brand. You need to make sure that your site reflects who you are, and how you work.
Also, strive to keep your site up to date. If your logo or branding changes, make sure this is immediately reflected on your site.
Navigate to accumulate
The journey which your visitors take will be crucial to the success of your website. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and your audience can get to their desired location easily. It also worth considering at what stages of the journey visitors may be entering. Commonly there is an unwritten rule that your audience should be able to find the information they are looking for in three clicks – although this shouldn't prove definitive in your decision making, it is something to consider.
Calls to action and contact information
Every page on your website should present your visitor with option to act. Whether it is to make a purchase, find out more about your business, or watch a video, etc. Whatever you decide the appropriate next step is, you need to make sure it is clear to the visitor.
This may be a simple one, but contact information should be accessible from anywhere. The most common technique is to include either the information, or a link to the information in the footer, or even both! You need to cater for every audience, and sometimes your visitors may just want to pick up the phone or drop you an email.
It's not enough to just have a website in this day and age, not if you want to be available to the widest audience possible. The most effective mobile sites load in under five seconds, feature large navigation buttons, and are easy to use. The less your audience has to zoom in and out, the better. Make sure the mobile site allows for easy access to key information such as location, contact details, click to call, pricing, and your products and/or services.
Make it easy for your audience to get in touch with you via almost every route available, and welcome feedback. It is fantastic way to see how not only your site, but also how your business as a whole are performing.
Websites are global. You should try to make sure things like currencies, measurements, dates, and times are clear so that all your audience will know exactly what you mean. A common example would the different arrangements of UK and US dates.
One of the most important considerations here should be cultural interpretation. Even if you intend your page for a specific country or locality it will be seen by other audiences. You need to be aware of what the message things like colour and images are conveying on an international level. If you are only catering to a domestic market, make it clear.
Cut out broken links
Broken links are another sign for many readers, and perhaps more importantly, many search engines, that a site is not maintained. Check regularly for broken links – there are many tools that are available which can help you with this.
Spelling, grammar and formatting
Many people are not tolerant of spelling errors. Copy and paste content into word before uploading, proof read for sense, do whatever is needed to minimise errors on your site. It looks very unprofessional when a site is full of simple mistakes, so cut it out!
The same is true of formatting too, the layout of your site may vary from browser to browser, so be sure to check that Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. all represent your intended results. Some browsers are naturally more forgiving when it comes to reading coding, but make sure you test them all thoroughly.
Call in the professionals
During our website redevelopment, we have been working with iSolve who have been fantastic. It is impossible to stress the importance of knowing your own limitations when undergoing something as technical as this, and we would recommend working with them to any entrepreneurial company considering creating or redesigning a website. The guidance outlined in this article is only the very tip of the iceberg – there is so much more that goes into a project of this nature and expert advice really is a necessity.
Our new site will be launching next month and if you have any feedback, or if you'd like more information on contacting iSolve, please email Chris.Pipe@rm2.co.uk.