Even though we all have our personal style and preferences, when it comes to the professional representation of your business, there are certain aspects of design that could either make or break your online presence.
Companies thrive on the relationships they build with their client base and a great user experience is sure to please the masses. A website should be easy to navigate, straight forward to use and packed with relevant information and contact details. Your website can be seen as an online advertisement of your business or company and this might be the only 'connection' some people will get with your brand.
A successful website will attract visitors, share informative content and drive the visitors to action in one way or another. Unfortunately not all companies have this recipe in place and should consider a website redesign or update to reach these goals.
Web Page Analytics
Website analytics is the term which refers to the amount of visitors your website receives as well as a synopsis of the habits and actions of these users while browsing your website. Google Analytics is a very popular tool in obtaining this information and planning your business strategy. Your website analytics should be a clear indication of whether your website is receiving visitors or not. Have a look at how much time the visitors are spending on each page. If there are almost no returning visitors and a high bounce rate, this is a good indication of how intriguing your website is.
Some pages or articles might be receiving more 'attention' than others according to the data obtained from the analytics. Have a look at what makes these pages different and try to implement the same features, topics or categories in the rest of your content.
When it comes to website navigation, it's all about attracting attention and urging the user to move their cursor in certain areas. Navigation can easily be influenced by 'call to action' buttons, pop ups to subscribe and even enticing ads on your page itself. In order for your website to reach it's goal it should provide the visitor with adequate guidance in browsing the website. The journey they should follow in your page should be clear and indicated so that the user won't feel lost or confused. The visitor should not struggle to find certain links or search for minutes on end to find the sought after information.
Analyze your website by asking a third party individual to rate the user experience and general feel of your website. They will be able to objectively point out what is working and what not. A redesign can help you refocus the navigation of your website and guide the user to where you want their 'eyes' and 'clicks' to go. A call to action button should be clearly visible on your website to urge to user to make a purchase or enquire about a service.
A study done by ResearchGate stipulated that over 90% of people argue that websites with a good design make them more trustworthy. As a company one of the main objects would be to gain the trust of your prospective clients and followers.
TMI - Too Much Information
The current trend in design is more focused on minimalism and clean, clear design. If the homepage is bombarded with too much text, links and graphics the visitor will be distracted and unsure where to focus. Noted by the NCBI's mention of the dilemma that lays in having too many options, it is derived that people are more likely to make no choice at all, when bombarded with options.
The amount of information also pertains to the content used on the website. In this day and age people are all about receiving information as quickly as possible. Visitors aren't interested in reading pages and pages about your company but would rather want a pin point list of who you are and how you can help them.
Your Website is Slow
Today, it's all about convenience and accessibility. If a website should load slower than expected the visitor won't bother to wait for all the aspects to load. Apart from your website connection, a website can be slower or quicker for a number of reasons; one of these being the size of the graphics on the website.
A graphic overload on a website will cause the loading delay which can deter the visitors from browsing the website. By updating your website rather use CSS styling where images can be avoided in order to speed up your website.
Ugly Graphics and Fonts
There is a reason why people are appalled by certain fonts such as Comic Sans. As users, we are attracted to what is trendy and visually pleasing. If your website still features dated graphics and font it might be time to consult with a graphics team or web developer. They will be able to give you a clear indication of the current trends with regard to design and website functionality. Have a look at some of these outdated websites from the 90's.
The width of the website itself is also a dead giveaway of the 'age' of the website. If the layout of the website still leaves space at the left and right of the screen with a central page, it is definitely time for a redesign. The fact that our monitors are now available in various sizes, with a high resolution needs to be taken into account when designing a website.
Dated Logo Design
If you are planning to give your brand a makeover, it would be advised to do the same with your website. You would want your branding message to be unified on all possible platforms, so be sure to display the same corporate and logo design. It might be the case that your website is rather current so you will just have to update some of the images within the theme. Talk to your web designer to hear what options you have.
Flash Based Websites
A sure sign that your website is not current, is if it is still a Flash based website. At one point in time moving images and text were rather trendy, but ended up resulting into numerous technical problems with regard to the website's function and design. Flash based websites are 'bad' for numerous reasons including slow website speed, unsatisfying user experience, SEO limitations and the fact that it's not compatible with all platforms. In their article on the trends in web design for 2014 Kuno Creative also states that while the use of scripts and stylesheets have increased, the usage of Flash has decreased.
Websites that Aren't Mobile Friendly
Visitors rarely just use computers to browse websites; because tablets and smartphones are at the certain of our technological lives, it's very likely that a prospective client will visit your website on another platform. If your website is dated, it won't be responsive on the other platforms and will leave the visitor feeling frustrated. Having a responsive website will allow you to be on par with your online competitors will making available all the relevant information to your following in the platform of their choosing.
If your current website is showing some of these signs, it might be time to face the music. Don't feel bad if you need to move away from your previous developers in order to bring your website to the next level.