Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ten reasons to redesign your web site

Ten Reasons to Redesign your Website
Published: 14 August 2003 in DesignBy: Nick Tatt

1. Beat the competition
The power of the web allows people to find information at the drop of a hat. It is possible for new customers to find your web site from anywhere in the world. The down side is that they can also find your competitors just as easily. It is important to make a good first impression and stay ahead of the competition. Failure to do so could lose you valuable customers. If your web site is comparable to your competitors’ consider a timely redesign to make sure you are leading the pack rather than following.

2. Present your organisation’s current market position
Organisations need to evolve to ensure they can deliver what customers need today. If your web site was designed a couple of years ago and has not been updated since, it is possible that it does not reflect your organisation’s current market position. A web site redesign is a great opportunity to evaluate where you are today and where you want to be in the future.

3. Out with the old, in with the new Websites date.
It is an unfortunate fact for organisations that websites show their age if left unattended. Considerable damage can be done to your reputation if customers discover that information or products on your web site are out of date. Worse still, incorrect. If your website is out of date consider using some kind of content management system, appropriate for the job, to keep it fresh.

4. Self serviceThe beauty of the web is its immediacy.
You don’t have to wait for the current batch of printed brochures to run out. With a website a quick update can get the latest product information out to a global audience. The theory is great but in practice many websites forget about their content and it soon becomes out of date. There are a few reasons why this might be but often it is because the website can only be updated by one person, probably the original designer. If you struggle to keep your website content fresh it might be time to consider a redesign, allowing people within your organisation to keep it up to date.

5. Make the site more usable and give the client what they want
How many times have you visited a site and not been able to find what you needed or tried to buy something online only to find that it is out of stock? Problems like these can be avoided with some thought in what your customers are trying to do on your website. Resolving the problem might be as simple as improving the the signposts to key sections or pages but a redesign allows you to listen to your customers and create something that will be easier to use.

6. Reach a wider audience
Just because you have a website doesn’t mean people will automatically find it. Competition for the top slot in search results is fierce. Making your website ‘search engine friendly’ will improve the chances of it being found. Building a ‘search engine friendly’ website, that conforms to web standards, from scratch is more effective than trying to adapt an existing one. In doing so you can insure that it appeals to both customers and search engines alike.

7. Increase your sales
The Holy grail for all websites. Websites are often designed with no thought on how organisations can harness the power of the web effectively. The wrong message in the wrong place can result in a website failing to meet your organisation’s expectations. Developing a web presence is relatively straight forward but developing one that meets your organisations expectations and goals is a little more complex.
Are visitors being channelled to the right sections or the site to make a purchase? Does the design promote your current brand? Are people signing up to your newsletter? Is the copy right for the site? If you suspect they may not be then it is time to get your website to work a little harder for your organisation.

8. Create appropriate content for the web
Web content is different to print content. With the immediacy of the internet it is not appropriate to use the same copy as your print material. When reading web pages users scan for information relevant to them. If your content is not presented in a way that delivers that information swiftly you run the risk of losing customers to your competition.

9. Promote an event or product launch
The launch of a new product or event might be the catalyst to consider a website redesign. If your current website fails to do an event or product launch justice you could damage its success. A website tailored to the needs of the event/product launch is far more effective than trying to shoehorn it into your website.

10. Communicate with your customers
What better way to raise your organisations profile than by announcing a new improved website delivering what your customers want in a clear usable fashion. The launch of a new website is a great excuse to contact your customers and strenghten your relationship with them.