Your website is the calling card for your business, so it’s no surprise that when small businesses were asked what they planned to prioritize for their websites in 2019, one-fifth (20%) indicated that improving their website design is at the top of this list.
Expectations for websites have evolved significantly in recent years. Design trends have changed, and more and more people are browsing websites on mobile devices. That means a website that’s only a few years old can quickly become outdated.
To stay current and ensure your website is best able to serve both potential and current customers, focusing on updating and improving your website design is a solid investment for your small business in 2019.
But not to worry! This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a completely new website. In many instances, you can simply focus on a few key areas to update the look, functionality and overall value of your website.
Think of it this way: If this was your house, you’d be repainting and getting new furniture, not building an entirely new house. The goal is to take what’s working on your current site and then improve on the rest.
Here are proven ideas on what to concentrate on with your website redesign.
If you have an existing website, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start with your redesign. At the heart of these updates should be a focus on ensuring a contemporary look and feel along with optimizing the performance and user experience. You may want to consider using a responsive website builder to help guide the process of updating your site.
Before tackling a redesign, you need to know what is and isn’t working. To do this, review your Google Analytics to look at key metrics such as traffic patterns, bounce rates, which pages get the most traffic and other measures that tell you how visitors interact with your website. Then, use those insights, along with what you know about your customers and how they use your website, to plan out your redesign.
Keep in mind that you should have clear goals for your website updates with one or all of the following outcomes:
Once you’re clear on what your specific goals are, you’ll be ready to create your action plan.
According to Stone Temple, in 2018, mobile devices accounted for 58% of site visits. As an ever-increasing number of people will visit your site on a mobile device, your website needs to be focused on providing a better user experience.
Your website visitors expect to find the information they seek quickly. According to Google research, while a mobile page loads, your conversions can drop by up to 20% for each second it’s delayed. But it’s not just your customers that expect your site to be mobile; Google also favors mobile-friendly websites, and they tend to rank higher in search.
In short, when making updates to your website, you’ll want to ensure your pages are optimized for mobile search and that they load quickly.
Consider the following when redesigning to ensure a mobile-friendly site:
Use short headlines that will still look appealing on a small screen. For example, Sausalito-based restaurant Le Garage Bistro uses a to-the-point headline on their homepage, so you know exactly what to expect.
Clean, Simple Design
Utilize a clean and simple design so your site isn’t cluttered or busy on mobile. Homebuilder Westcott Homes’ website is visually compelling and clear when viewed on a mobile device. The site is a prime example of how a simple layout can elevate the user experience.
Sharing Prominent Calls to Action
One of the goals of any website is to get visitors to take action. To help your visitors get to that next step, you’ll want to share visible calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the site. The key to a compelling CTA is to use engaging copy along with a prominent visual, so your visitors can’t help but click on it.
Marketing company Modi Marketing nails their CTA on their homepage that invites potential clients to reach out to their firm to discuss how they can work together.
Revamping your website is an opportunity to not just improve the performance of the site but to better serve your visitors. Visual and written content are essential to communicating what your business can offer customers and helps develop an ongoing business relationship.
Your website is the home base for your digital marketing efforts, so you want to make sure that everything on the website is supporting your overall marketing and business goals. If you’re not convinced that your website content isn’t critical to your business, keep in mind that content marketing generates approximately three times as many leads as traditional marketing efforts.
To help your website generate more leads, here’s where to focus your efforts when updating your content:
Search Engine Optimization
SEO should be a key component of every website’s content strategy. When making your website updates, consider that many people searching for something online haven’t made up their mind about a brand before starting their search.
By creating a keyword-optimized website, you’ll be able to increase your chances of your website being ranked higher in Google search, which in turn makes it easier for potential customers to find you when doing their research.
When updating your website, it’s the ideal time to identify what content your website visitors (aka your potential and current customers) need from your small business.
Your first stop should be your website analytics or Google Analytics account to gain an understanding of what visitors are doing on your current website. This intelligence can help you make decisions for your website updates as you’ll know which pages are most popular on your site, which pages people leave the site from and much more.
Next, review all of your existing content with a critical eye. Consider what questions your customers may have that aren’t answered by your current content and how you can make their decision to do business with you easier.
When making updates to your website, not all of your content needs to be brand new, and you can (and in many cases should) repurpose existing content. For example, you can make simple updates to pages or posts that have performed well, and use it in a new way to attract more visitors. Plus, this is an opportunity to update pages on the site that may be a trouble spot and cause your visitors to leave the site.
While your written content is important, so is the visual content on your website. You want to have a brand that connects with your visitors and conveys how you can help them in a matter of seconds.
The perfect example of an SMB website that uses compelling visual content is Jemman Photography. As a photographer, owner Elenora Luberto knows the importance of stunning photography to showcase her work, alongside video which gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to work with her.
Your visual content goes beyond the colors and fonts you use on your site and includes the images and graphics throughout. Remember, the brain processes images faster than text, so you want to communicate your message with visuals as much as possible and avoid having large blocks of text.
Consider using a mix of images, videos, infographics and other supporting graphics throughout your site.
Health and lifestyle website FASTer Way to Fat Loss uses a combination of video, engaging visuals and a cohesive design throughout to communicate instantly with visitors.
All-day café Brew based in Indiana knows exactly what their visitors are interested in when they come to their website. They showcase their menu and appealing visuals of their food that are sure to make a visitor’s mouth water.
By investing the time to ensure your website is mobile-friendly, modern and serving your visitors, you’ll be able to stand out online. No matter what your business priorities are, when it comes to your website, if you're not updating your design, you’re falling behind!
If you aren’t sure you have the right tools in place to make changes to your website, consider looking for a website builder that can meet your needs and will make future updates much more seamless.
Featured Image: Unsplash / Dai KE
All screenshots taken by the author, June 2019.
Image 1: via Le Garage
Image 2: via Westcott Homes
Image 3: via Modi Marketing
Image 4: via Unsplash
Image 5: via Jemman Photography
Image 6: via FASTer Way to Fat Loss
Image 7: via Brew Jasper