Since you have opened and operated your website for a number of months or years, the business has not taken off the way you would like. Those early goals and expectations appear incredibly lofty now as you are forced to reassess where you go from here.
There will be a number of factors at play, but one segment that might be overlooked is the design of your site. Particularly in the case of those enterprises that are modest in nature, it can be easy to overlook how something as simple as the presentation and structure can influence sales.
Given the speed and immediacy in which online consumers scale websites through various search engine platforms, social media sites and online directories, the window to impress is miniscule. Attention spans are smaller and first impressions count for everything.
All it might require is a slight update on the current state of affairs, or perhaps a complete overhaul. This must be a collective decision that arrives from an educated basis. If these following issues are apparent with your website, then it is high time you prepare for an update.
Low Response Rate
Those operations that have a poor web design will see users left confused, frustrated and bouncing away from visits. This comes down to sites that are non-responsive in their presentation, structure and aesthetic – all key elements to a well optimised domain.
To see whether or not customers are leaving your site in droves, run a diagnostic through Google Analytics. There should be a strong correlation between website visits and content consumed or products bought.
If there is daylight between those two figures, then you know that your bounce rate is far beyond normal levels.
No Clear Strategy
Any successful business will have a plan implemented and followed through. That will apply across all departments, from the accounting to marketing, client management and customer service.
The exact same principle should apply to digital marketing where the website has to be at the forefront of the strategy.
Each item must be addressed in clear detail and be garnered towards a short, medium and long-term process:
- Web domain status
- Brand recognition
- Local presence
- SEO performance
If there is an absence of a clear strategy, then your web design will likely reflect that muddled confusion and lack of clarity. Formulate a blueprint that works in conjunction with your digital space and make the amendments.
Lacking a Call to Action
On the topic of purpose, you must have a concise landing page for anyone that comes across your domain. This is the central hub that does one of the following:
- Allows the visitor to buy a product
- Allows the visitor to sign-up an account
- Allows the visitor to subscribe to a newsletter
- Allows the visitor to contact you directly through phone, email or internal message
This is what is known as a call to action where you answer the key question: “what happens next?”
It is one thing having a glitzy presentation with a string of multimedia pop-ups and additional extras. Yet there has to be substance to the site.
A poor web design will often shift priorities where the aesthetics are preferenced over the call to action. Design the layout simply and allow the end user to opt in. That has to be the whole purpose of a website for any business across any niche.
Lacking Brand Awareness
Brand reputation will arrive with a well designed webpage. It is not the decisive factor but it will be a crucial influencer when it comes to making a stellar first impression.
What can confuse the equation with design is consistency on brand messaging. Any inconsistency will be picked up on by consumers and it will damage the company’s reputation.
For example, a local coffee shop would not need to have the bells and whistles of a global organisation like Starbucks for their web design. That is a worldwide conglomerate who need to project a sense of authority, responsibility and standing in the coffee community.
Size, scope and sensibility dictates that a web design should be part of a holistic approach. Stick with what works rather than branching out in an attempt to be all things to all people.
Website Cost Not Aligned To Market Standards
What is the return on investment (ROI)? This is a question asked on an hourly basis by business owners are they contemplate their financial planning.
Put in too much and the budget is blown out. This forces cuts and measures that harm the long-term viability of an enterprise.
Put in too little and there won’t be enough cut-through with the audience to see any dividends. Visit MyWork to examine industry standard pricing for web design. Packages will alternate depending on the niche and time requirements. Undertake as much research as necessary before settling on a plan that suits.
Scoring Low on SEO
Running a quick diagnostic for your website’s SEO performance takes just a matter of seconds. This is not an arduous process by any means. The difficult part comes later.
Upload your URL through any of these software applications and see the results for yourself:
- SEO Web Page Analyser
- Neil Patel SEO Analyser
- SEM Rush
- SEO SiteCheckup
They will provide a categorical rundown of your website performance. Should the results be underwhelming, then an update through a redesign could be in order.
This analysis will examine all of the following:
- Social Media integration
Not Multi-Device Compatible
Should your entire web design be thrown out of proportion on iOS or Android devices, then you have an emergency on your hands. To find out if this is indeed the case, run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and see the results first hand.
There is every chance that a particular image, video or plugin that was installed from a desktop does not translate well. Once the quality of presentation is lost, then bounce rates soar through the roof.
To drive this point home, Yump’s own research between 2013 and 2015 illustrates how crucial mobile compatibility is.
In that space of time, smartphone ownership rose from 11.1 million to 15.3 million. Tablet ownership also saw a sharp rise to venture from 6.3 million in 2013 to 11.2 million. Out of all devices used in 2015, 63% of them were smartphones and tablets.
That figure is only on the increase as local business listings are found through mobile searches. Needless to say that neglecting your presentation in this domain could have dire consequences.
It has been mentioned a million times over in this domain, but every element of online marketing comes down to content quality. Should it be out of date and stale, then bounce rates increase and there is no form of residual engagement.
A complete content strategy is required for operations that have serious objectives in mind, but anything that is broadcast under your name will reflect your reputation.
To drive visitors with content, you would be best served delivering it across a variety of platforms:
- Opinion pieces
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Image galleries
- YouTube videos
With this array of options to choose from, there is no excuse not to produce engaging content that draws eyeballs. Frequency and style will matter as they fit into your design structure. Yet any reputable website host will manage to give space to this level of content.
If your email inbox, Facebook and Twitter messages and phone line all be rife with complaints, then there is a serious fault that must be addressed. This could very well have to do with mobile compatibility, contact information or lack of clarity on the sectioned tabs.
Poorly designed websites often bypass the stage where there is a deluge of customer complaints. One because those individuals cannot be bothered. Second because there is usually plenty of alternate avenues to shop around.
Re-launching your website and promoting that fact is a good PR move if this is an issue you have experienced. Point to the user-friendly platform, the mobile compatibility and additional features that were not there before.
Web Design Avenues
The good news is that there is a clear and concise solution to this problem. Undertake your own research and scour the web for the best web design domains that cater to your business requirements:
- Google Web Designer
Depending on your budget, you can create and manage a website that can be altered under one dashboard. The performance analytics can be tracked and you can make informed judgments in real time.
Ask yourself some core questions before embarking on updating your website design:
- Have you received any feedback on the website design from consumers?
- Does your site rank well on SEO?
- Is traffic matching stated goals and objectives?
- Is the bounce rate high or low?
- Is there more scope to increase digital investment?
- Is the site equally user-friendly on mobile as it is desktop?
Once you have weighed up the pro’s and con’s of the current web design, then you are ideally placed to make a final judgment.
Having taken all these factors into account, a new design might be the catalyst for a change in fortunes. They are easier to come by than in previous years where affordability is not as much of a burden as it used to be.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.