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2016. New Year. New Website.

January 11, 2016 ~ by

Are you using your website to it’s full potential as a marketing and sales tool yet? With websites the go-to for potential customers finding out about your business you need to make sure it stands out from the competition, your messages are on point and it’s easy to covert leads into sales. If your site looks anything like the one below, then it’s time for a change.

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If this is you then read on and find out why.

Goals Change

If you felt the need to read this then it’s likely your site was designed more than a few years ago and is looking a little tired.

In that time a business can evolve quickly, messages and offerings change and even your look or brand might have changed. If that’s the case does your old site reflect this?

Consistency is key, so make sure your business looks great online as it’s does offline. Most people will visit you there first before making a decision on using you or going with a competitor. You might argue that your work is done through word of mouth and that you don’t need a great website, but if you’re looking to grow that’s the wrong approach. What about those potential customers that have visited your site and disappeared because they didn’t trust what they were seeing? It’s a fickle world, especially today when looks matter more than ever. Make every customer feel special.

By building a new site from the ground up, from looking at the navigation and pages to the hierarchy of your content we can really push those new messages and goals and help convert visits into leads. An intuitive site with the right messages and calls to action will really help drive new business.

Trends Date

Carousels
It might have been cool to have that those fancy sliding images on your homepage once, showing off your messages and photos, but the truth is, carousels don’t really work. Yes they have a place for some shops but for the majority these stats ring true for anyone using a carousel on a brochure site. Of 3 million visits 89% clicked on the first carousel item and only 3% or below for the next 4 slides.

We advise any client with a carousel to bring the messages on those lower slides out and on to the page. Why hide your content when your visitors can see everything up front?

One Page
Your site might be one glorious long page (yes it was a thing, and still is). Stop, just don’t! Having multiple pages is going to help channel a user and it’s also going to give you a better chance to convert them into a customer. For example a dedicated page for each service is going to let you tailor the information to that person.

Information Overload
Cramming everything onto the homepage was once a trend and a request from all clients. We’ve always stood firm and suggested using it as a shop window, an overview of who you are with a glimpse into the deeper pages on your site. Sure, it’s important, it’s what sells you but so are your sub pages. The goal is to get users to those and get those deeper pages ranking on Google so they become your landing pages. It’s far easier to convert from those than it is the home page.

Technology Moves On
Once there was a time where you either had to ask an agency to update your content or you had to employ one to build a content management system (CMS) so you could do it yourself. If that sounds like you then it’s time to make a change, consider the time and money you can save in the long term.

Today managing your content couldn’t be easier with systems like WordPress. Yes you can still get a bespoke CMS but you’re still limited by having to use that developer or agency if you ever need a new piece of functionality. With WordPress you have all the functionality you’ll ever need without always having to call on a developer to deploy those updates. With almost monthly updates to the core system you’ll also be getting the latest CMS, for nothing, every time!

Make An Investment

In the time you’ve had your site it’s probably paid for itself several times over. You probably reeled at the thought of spending that money on a site back then, but we bet that’s been forgotten by now? A wise man once said:

“The quality is remembered long after the cost is forgotten.”

This holds true for anything from buying a car, to a watch or in this case a website.

If you can relate to that then you should know a new site is an investment and not a money pit, as long as it’s done right. Ask yourself:

“How many sales would it actually take to cover the cost of a new site?”

Probably for most businesses 2-3 sales, realistically? If your site looks great, reflects your brand, pushes the right messages and is optimised to convert a lead then your investment has paid off. You’ll continue to win new clients and your business will grow as a result.

Seeing The Value of Great Design

First Impressions Count
People are sold on first impressions. If you have great reviews on external sites such as TripAdvisor or Facebook that’s fantastic you’re getting the job done right offline. But then why doesn’t your site reflect that?

Backing it up with a great design not only adds credibility to your business, but with the right messages, great photography and clear navigation, a visitor from any of these external sites will trust you more. Here’s an example of two restaurant sites.

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The first shows a very old and dated restaurant site that doesn’t reflect the business or help channel a user to the pages that are most important. There’s a large amount of text crammed onto the page in a very disjointed layout. By doing this they’ve confused the user with information overload and asking them to figure our where to click next. A site should be clear, intuitive and channel the user to your most important information, quickly.

Now check out this site we designed for Quay FIFTEEN. There are clear links to all the key pages and clear call to actions to get in touch. Not only that, but the design looks fresh and reflects the quality of the restaurant. All these points pulled together entice and encourage a user. In this case to read the menu and make a booking.

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But Why Not Go For The Cheaper Option?
Like with anything you can always get it cheaper elsewhere but the likelihood is that your design will either be an off-the-shelf template that another business in your sector could be using or a design that hasn’t be considered by brand experts.

We’ve been commissioned for 100’s of web projects because we’re known for understanding the need to create a harmonious brand but also the best user experience. We want to get your visitors from A to B easily whilst helping mould your content around your goals. A great design isn’t just about how it looks, you could have a fantastic looking site but has it been designed intelligently to work with you? We consider, advise and deliver great looking sites that work.

Competition is tougher than ever so make sure you stand out from the crowd. That template might be tempting but it’s not going to be tailored around your business and your needs.

Optimise For Mobile Devices

You might not be aware but designing one site for all screens has been around for years. Any site we build today is built using the latest code meaning we can optimise your site to work from the largest screens down to the smallest.

You might be a business that has a separate mobile site from your main desktop one, but why? They probably don’t look consistent and the likelihood is that the information on both differs. You can have one site that works across all devices. The users journey is consistent and what they see on their laptop will be the same as on their mobile, just optimised. It’s a better experience where your customer isn’t missing information they expect to see.

Not convinced you need an opitmised site then you should really read some of these stats, especially if you’re a shop owner:

  1. Google has begun to boost the ratings of sites that are mobile friendly if the search was made from a mobile device. The net effect is penalising non mobile friendly sites.
  2. 67% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a website that is compatible with mobile devices whilst 62% have reported an increase in sales from mobiles and 64% from tablets.
  3. 46% of mobile users visiting static (un-optimsed sites) report problems. Why make them zoom and pan around a page? When a client finds your website you want to ensure that it is easy to view and find information. A responsive site contributes to better web conversions.

By optimising your site for mobile traffic you won’t be missing out on any potential customers or sales, since people are more likely to move onto a site that is mobile friendly if yours isn’t.

How do you know if your site is mobile friendly? Check your site out on a mobile by searching for your company in Google. If it’s mobile friendly then Google adds a tag in the search results to show which ones have been optimised for mobile users and which haven’t. If yours doesn’t have one of these tags then it’s time we talked.

Create Landing Pages

Now you’ve got a site that works hard to showcase your business how about we look at creating specific landing pages around certain products or services?

Landing pages are specific pages on your site around a particular offering. They are generally standalone pages on your site with tailored messages and content. Creating the right content, using the right wording, and the best sales messages will help attract traffic and feed your sales pipeline. The best way to drive immediate interest to those pages is through a targeted Google Adwords campaign. Those people are looking for what you’re selling and by staying niche it doesn’t have to be expensive.

For example if you’re a WiFi provider and you want to target Hotels or a Hotel Manager you need to set up a page and ad campaign around that sector and person. By staying niche you should target a particular area rather than blanketing the whole country to keep costs down.

What Next?

If any of this sounds like your own website and you’re looking to make a change in 2016 then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Or why not pop in for a free consultation – we’re here to help, plus we make a good cuppa.

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