How many times have you come across a website and wondered whether or not it has been updated since the mid-nineties? It doesn’t take long to notice poor design, out-dated content, and difficult usability. But what if that website was yours? Here are a few tips on how to analyze what your website says about your company, and whether or not it’s time for an overhaul.
It only takes 3-7 seconds for a potential client to scan the site and get a first impression of your business. If your website is unable to impress and inform the potential client of what they need within that time frame, chances of them ever coming back are very unlikely. Your website should be parallel with the personality of your brand, displaying your top qualities. Make a short list of words that you feel represent your company, such as dependable, high-quality, and eco-friendly. Does your website illustrate these same qualities? It is vital that your design complements your products are services in order to deliver the correct message to the user. What does your colour palette say about your company? Is the layout simple to navigate around, and is the content current? These are just a few factors that determine how people view your website and your business as a whole.
Don’t think that just because your website may only supply static information about your company, that it has to look boring. This is a huge mistake made among many local businesses, which will only exhibit that the work your business produces is boring as well. Although you may not have the need to constantly update information on your website, it is important that the information supplied on it is accurate, and to the point. When most viewers come across a web page that has multiple paragraphs of content, they simply move on to the next page, or leave the site all together. By keeping your information short and condensed, not only is it more likely to be read, but will lead the viewer of the site to inquire for more information if their interested in your products or services.
Keep your direct competition in mind when considering possible designs for your website. Although you don’t want to have the exact same site as theirs, it’s important to know what people searching for the same services are also viewing. Consider the layout and colour scheme used, and what kind of information they are supplying to the user. Although you want to stand out from your competition, you should also supply similar basic content that will allow potential clients to compare business (and choose yours). Remember, your company is made up of people, and therefore viewing your website should be just as simple and comfortable for the user as walking into the office.
Another important aspect of how your business is portrayed is how it looks when being viewed on a mobile device. If your website was made using Flash, many mobile devices will be incapable of viewing it at all. Try looking at your website on a mobile device such as a phone or iPad, and compare it to how it looks on your computer monitor. If certain things are not where they should be, or the site does not display at all, you certainly will want to update the websites back-end programming.
One major mistake made on many local websites is implementing music and sound onto the website. Although for some organizations such as orchestras or bands, music may be appropriate, but for most businesses it is a very poor choice. For the majority of people browsing the web, having music randomly pouring out of their speakers while viewing a website is not ideal. If you feel that you must have music on your website, opt for implementing a music player on your website that will allow viewers to play, pause, and adjust the volume to the music being played. This will allow the sound being played to come as less of a shock to the user.