Falling Out of Love with Your Website?
You still visit every day, but something between you has changed. The spark just isn’t there anymore. And there’s a hint of resentment. Your needs are no longer being met. And you just can’t stop checking out the competition.
It’s time to reassess your relationship…with your website.
Like crushes and conversation hearts, websites have a shelf-life. The pressure of ever-changing web technology and search engine standards, new design trends, and evolving customer needs begins eroding the effectiveness of your website within the first 12 months. By year 3, it’s downright dated and likely costing you business.
The good news is that you’ve got options.
Option 1: Updating Your Current Website
BEST FOR: Businesses with budgets under $3,000 and/or businesses with a small staff
For many businesses, simply updating your website content can make a big difference. This is especially true for those who do not update their site weekly or even monthly.
What you can do yourself:
- Go through your site page by page
- Swap out old imagery with fresh, new images
- Update your content to add new information and remove old, incorrect stuff
- Rewrite your page content to make it more clear, concise, and direct
- Add new pages
- Search for and fix broken links
- Clean up and declutter pages—remove extraneous images, make sure that text style and colors are consistent from page to page across the site
What a designer and developer can help you with:
- Changing site colors
- Changing site fonts
- Adding or swapping out site graphics and imagery
In the future, be sure to regularly update your site content. Not only does it make your site more interesting and appealing to visitors, it also improves your search rankings.
USEFUL TIP: Visit pexels.com and unsplash.com for high-quality, free imagery.
Option 2 - A New Website Using a Pre-Made Template
BEST FOR: Businesses with budgets under $5,000; businesses that don’t require customization; Businesses with relatively simple sites
Building a custom-crafted website involves design (layout, colors, imagery, etc) and development (coding). Development typically accounts for more than half of the total website cost. By opting for a pre-made website template, you’ll be eliminating most or all of the development work and will dramatically cut your new site costs.
Remember, you will still need to work on the design elements of your new site. This will include styling your new template to match your company brand, adding imagery or graphics, and writing and inserting content. Businesses with tech savvy employees or web-based marketing experts may choose to handle the set-up and design of their new template in-house. For most other businesses, it’s wise to hire a graphic designer with website expertise to select the right template, style the template to suit your brand, and select high-quality imagery. For added punch, consider hiring a web copywriter to ensure that your website content effectively reaches and appeals to your target market.
- Whether you’re using a WordPress template or a hosted template-based solution like Squarespace or Wix, you’ll have tons of template options to choose from.
- Template-based providers such as Wix and Squarespace have customer support staff, as well as tons of online resources to help you if you get stuck.
- Templates can be used by anyone, so there will be other companies on the web who are also using your template. Your site will not be one-of-a-kind.
- If your company has unique needs, you may find that none of the available templates perfectly suit your business. You may find yourself shoehorning content and images into the areas provided on the template, rather than in a place you prefer.
- Depending on the template or provider you choose, you may be locked into using that template or provider until you create a new site elsewhere. For example, if you create a site using Wix, you will not be able to transfer your site to another host. If you cancel your Wix account, your website will need to be created from scratch using another vendor.
USEFUL TIP: Before you purchase a template or commit to a particular template-based provider, thoroughly research the templates available and find 2-3 that help you accomplish your business goals and meet the needs of your customers. Don’t just pick the prettiest template!
Option 3: A New Website with Custom Design and Development
BEST FOR: Businesses with budgets at and over $5,000; Businesses that require a lot of customization; Businesses whose sites require advanced functionality (e-commerce, customer portal, lead databases, etc.); Web-based businesses
The most effective websites are those custom-designed and developed to accomplish a company’s unique goals and address their customers’ specific needs. These bespoke solutions do come with a higher price tag, but often pay themselves off quickly by increasing sales, reducing customer service calls, strengthening brand loyalty, and more. Custom designs can also accommodate a wider range of 3rd party applications such as e-commerce tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and more. If you’ve got the budget, a custom solution is well worth it.
Services vary depending on the vendor, but custom web design services typically include:
- User experience research and design: Learning more about your website users in order to provide a better, more enjoyable experience on the site
- Design: Creating a visual design based upon your company brand that appeals to and engages users
- Development: Custom coding the website to include the specific features and functions you need to accomplish your goals and give users what they want and need
- Set-up and maintenance: Helping you set-up your host account, launch your website, and provide guidance on long-term maintenance
USEFUL TIP: Before you commit to a web design firm, check with the firm to make sure that your company retains the rights to move your website, change hosts, or modify your site without their assistance in the future.
Need a new website, but aren’t sure which option is best for you? Give me a holler! I’ll help you find the right solution for your needs and budget.