Now, more than ever, is the right time to think about redesigning your website. Developments in web programs mean the days of clunky, pixelated websites akin to the early days of the web are a thing of the past.
Content management systems such as WordPress and HubSpot enable users to have a clear, optimised website. Furthermore, tools such as SquareSpace and Spacecraft make it easier than ever to custom build websites exactly how you want them with drag and drop interface.
But before you redesign your company’s website, or before you employ a company to do so, there are several key questions you need to consider. Here are seven questions you should ask before redesigning your website.
1. What is the purpose of the website?
What do you want the site to achieve? Does your company offer a service or products? Are you an NGO? Make your intentions clear, and help the user understand exactly who you are and what it is you do.
If it’s an ecommerce site, make it as easy as possible for customers to find their desired product, learn about it and buy it, as seamlessly as possible. For best practice, look at online champions ASOS, everything from the spacing to the colour of the ‘add to bag’ button is carefully thought out and tested.
2. How will the menu / navigation bar be used?
The menu bar is the key navigational tool for users on your website. As such, you want each link on the menu bar to have a clear title and to contain useful information within it. Any potential ambiguity or confusion on the menu could cause users to abandon your website and raise your bounce rate – the percentage of users who leave your website after only looking at one page.
3. Is the layout easy on the eye?
Clarity is key. You want plenty of white (or clear) space on the website that makes the content digestible. Clear, large text is also key. Websites that cram in too much information without breaking it up with bullet points and sub-titles can make it difficult for the user to take in all the content presented. Typically copy on the web is considerably shorter than the same copy in tradititional print.
4. Is the important information above the fold?
The term ‘above the fold’ comes from print press where newspapers, keen to sell as many copies as possible, would place the most attention-grabbing stories above the fold of the newspaper. The term is carried on to the web. Rather than physically folding over the paper to read information, users have to scroll down.Something not all users will do.
You don’t want the most interesting video, or valuable piece of content ‘below the fold’ as there’s a chance the user will not scroll down, instead choosing to click a link on the menu bar or, heaven forbid, abandon the website.
5. Does it have links and calls to action?
A great way of creating inbound links is through your social media channels. Common practice is to have links to your social media channels clear and visible in either the header or footer of your website, however you would be surprised at the amount of websites that don’t follow this rule and miss out on opportunities for new followers. Moreover, users are starting to look over businesses social media channels in place of their website as a means of learning about the company therefore links to your social channels need to be clear.
Calls to action are also a key feature to consider for web pages. A ‘call to action’ is a button that stands out and guides the user on their journey through your company’s website. A web page without a ‘call to action’ is simply a dead end. Use a ‘call to action’ to guide your user to a place where they can learn more, or get what they want.
6. How can I use video?
Including rich content such as video on your website is becoming increasingly important. Video can be a powerful way of conveying a message (and atmosphere) in a far quicker way than text and still images can. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, in that case, a video is worth a million. An ‘about’ video can be a more effective and efficient way of introducing your company than the most carefully crafted text.
Another consideration; can you use video to display your products? Or how the products are used or assembled?
7. Does the website have responsive design?
Having a responsive website is becoming less a luxury, more a necessity. Having a website that is responsive only on desktop simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. More people are accessing websites via mobile and tablets than ever before so your website needs to respond to the screen size of the device being used to access it so it can be read by the user.
We’ve reached the tipping point of desktops being the most used medium to access the internet. So much so that in 2015 Google rolled out its mobile friendly algorithm. It is now just as likely that your target audience is getting online and discovering your website via mobile or tablet. What will they see when they land on your site?
There you have it, seven questions Pelican Communications recommend you ask before redesigning your website. We have designed websites for companies in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and we also offer a range of other services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.