Running a successful business is all about establishing a successful online presence. These days, most customers research a company online before making a call or visiting in person. Thus, the look and feel of your website can either make or break contact with a prospective customer.
Although most business owners understand that a website is a must-have for establishing connections with new clients and maintaining the bond with recurring ones, few invest in hiring experienced teams to analyze online pages and redesign them as technology progresses.
In this post, you will learn how website improvement is the X-factor that helps you close more deals and improve your company’s reputation among clients. You will also get pointers on where to start improving your website and see the examples of webpage tweaks that helped companies boost conversions and increase brand awareness.
Why You Should Redesign Your Website
When a user visits a website for the first time, the design, functionality, and responsivity of the webpage contribute to the overall impression of the company.
According to Stanford Web Credibility research, 75% of prospective customers judge businesses based on how the website looks. If a company fails to build the connection from the get-go, a visitor moves onto the next item in the search rankings.
Thus, the responsivity, functionality, and design of a website determine customer retention. Here is how website redesigns help business owners attract more attention to the offer and successfully convert visitors into customers:
1. They are cheaper to maintain
As websites age, the amount of tech debt – unattended for bugs and system flows – tends to pile up. If a business manager doesn’t run regular quality assurance checks, the odds of microscopic issues bundling up to cause a considerable shutdown skyrocket.
On top of that, updating the back-end of the website allows the development team to replace inefficient and time-consuming processes with newer and faster ones. Regularly updating the website means being able to rely on automation and not having to expand the admin team. You benefit from new technologies and plug-ins, cutting website maintenance costs exponentially.
2. They are secure
Stories of hacks and website data breaches are all over the web right now. There are many ways for a security attack to permanently damage the company’s reputation – from spamming users on the brand’s behalf to installing malware on their devices or stealing their data.
As content management systems and development practices become outdated, it’s easier for hackers to find a way to penetrate through the website’s defense. CMS development teams are well-aware of the threats website managers face – WordPress founders, for one, release security patches regularly to ensure no one can break into a WP website.
As long as you are updating the content management system, the business will be protected from web threats, and the reputation of the company will be in the clear.
3. They are scalable
When business managers expand their target markets, product lines, or range of services, new challenges arise for the development team, including expanding the database and adding new visual elements or web pages. Also, you might want to translate the website into different languages or have location-specific content.
Tweaking website development and design practices make it more growth-adaptable. By acquiring more server power, business managers can welcome thousands of users simultaneously. Improving UI and UX makes it easier to communicate with new audiences and adapt the page to their needs. SEO and website performance tweaks help ensure you are leading search rankings in all targeted locations, and your multilingual content is not flagged and considered a duplicate.
4. The website is more attractive to investors
For emerging companies, being relevant is crucial. Most investors have long-term goals in mind before committing to a project; they want to ensure it evolves. Showing up to a pitch meeting with a website that carries a strong 2000s vibe doesn’t contribute to an image of a dynamic, ever-growing team.
Implementing the latest design, SEO, and development trends, on the other hand, is proof that the team is willing to invest in the project, is familiar with what’s hot in the industry right now, and is willing to mature along with its audience. On top of that, an appealing website visual helps you make the right first impression during pitches and presentations.
5. Appeals to mobile audiences
In the last 4 years, the overall percentage of mobile Internet users grew by 20% – from 30% in 2015 to over 50% in 2019. Now that the mobile user base dominates online use, not catering to smartphone visitors is a missed opportunity for business owners.
Having said that, reduced mobile responsivity is still prevalent among corporate websites; either the website loads too long, has an inaccessible structure, or is not adapted for small screens.
To make the most out of smartphone visitors, improve the mobile responsivity of the webpage. Make sure a website has a lite version for occasions when the network signal is weak, that the content is visible, and that no crucial tabs require hovering the mouse over them or carrying out another computer-specific action.
6. Higher conversions
Website usability and responsivity issues are the main reasons visitors leave the page. The fact is, most never come back after a negative experience. Improving the website’s page load time helps ensure that users don’t leave the page frustrated. Also, by tweaking the performance of the web page, you improve its Google rankings – crawlers assess the usability score during the indexing process.
Other ways to improve conversions by adding minor changes to the website are:
- Adding a conversion form to the home page to capture users’ contact data;
- Adding social media follow buttons;
- Creating a page with the answers to common questions about the company.
How Often You Should Redesign
Depending on the company’s budget, speed of scaling, and the responsivity of the current website, there are two ways to approach website improvement.
Tweaking the website section-by-section
In case your website has a straightforward structure and a minimalist design that is still relevant among visitors, a development team can consider adding incremental usability, SEO, and development tweaks every once in a while. Assuming the website is mobile-responsive, updating the CMS, assessing the page speed, and updating existing content is all you need to attract visitors and convert them successfully.
Redesigning the website from scratch
There are two major drawbacks company owners face when it comes to redesigning the website – cost and downtime. When the page is under reconstruction, the old version is not accessible for a while. However, in the long run, fully rebuilding the website is cheaper than trying to make the outdated version work.
In case you are wondering what the telling signs of needing a redesign are, here are the red flags you should pay attention to:
- The website is vulnerable to security threats;
- Adding new content or changing existing blocks is tedious and inefficient;
- Back-end technologies are outdated;
- The interface is outdated and doesn’t fall in line with modern design trends;
- The website is not accessible to smartphone users.
When it comes to revamping the website design entirely, development teams usually do it once every 3-4 years -that’s how much time it takes for new development and design trends and technologies to fully emerge.
How Website Trends Evolve Over Years
Web technology is one of the most rapidly-developing fields – new trends emerge constantly. To stay afloat and not lose by search rankings and conversions, companies have to adapt and redesign their websites.
To see how business managers redesigned their websites successfully, take a look at the following brilliant redesign examples.
1. Cravath, Swaine, and Moore
Cravath, Swaine, and Moore are one of the leading law firms in the US, ranking first on the Vault’s ‘Top Law Firms’ list. Despite its acclaimed reputation, the company recognized the need to update the corporate website, moving from its inaccessible 2010 interface.
The homepage used to be a horizontal screen, with a text field and dynamic content that required Flash support. Since most users didn’t install Flash, they couldn’t see the visual altogether. The navigation bar is in the footer of the home page.
Aside from the necessary Flash support, mobile responsivity was an issue for the company. A landscape view is much harder to adapt to smartphones than a book view. With that in mind, Cravath entirely changed the interface of the platform, choosing a sleek, newspaper-like format instead.
The new design is much more straightforward and to-the-point. The company has added multiple user-facing features, such as a sidebar that facilitates the navigation process and a search bar in the top right corner of the page.
The current website interface has reduced page load time and offers visitors considerably more information about the company. The color palette has been changed from a dark to a light theme to improve text legibility.
2. McKinsey & Company – thumb-friendly navigation and contrast palette
The website of this consulting sector leader is one of the essential points of reference for small and large teams alike. Looking at Mckinsey’s website, you can’t help but notice the sleek, to-the-point vibe the homepage propels.
Scrolling is the primary way to navigate from the top to the bottom of the page. They are on sliders, as smartphone users would struggle to process them properly. McKinsey incorporates a block-based structure. The company’s case studies and blogs are broken down into relatively large squares, easy to access both with the mouse and a thumb.
The company uses a combination of dark blue and white to create an image of innovation and boldness.
In 2018, Mckenzie’s design was completely different.
There was a header on the homepage, with a hamburger menu to the left. Letting these elements go was a reasonable move on the team’s behalf – hamburger menu tabs have low mobile accessibility. On top of that, a header-based navigation bar doesn’t allow the webpage to leverage the power of free space to the fullest extent.
3. Deloitte – Convenience over style
Since 2016, Deloitte made a huge qualitative leap in terms of page design and performance. If you remember this design, you know it took a ton of time for the graphics to load and mobile responsivity was far from perfect.
Deloitte removed the abundant number of animation and fade-outs to ensure that the page loads smoothly. The company added a slider that is continuously updated whenever big news or relevant content is out to connect with audiences on a deeper level.
By putting the language tab in the top navigation bar, the company made the international user experience much more convenient. Adding the ‘Trending’ tab helps the company further reaffirm its position as an industry trendsetter.
Where to Start Improving Your Website
Now that you have experienced firsthand the impressive pace with which trends replace each other and ensured that your website needs improvement, what are the steps to take? Regardless of the budget you can allocate for redesign and development tweaks, here are the steps to take when you start improving a business website.
- Examine the performance of your website – Use tools like Google Page Speed to measure the loading time of your website. You can run such tests for different locations to make sure the website is accessible from places with low Internet speed.
- Assess mobile-friendliness – You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if the search engine ranks the page as mobile-responsive. If that’s not the case, consider removing heavy visual elements and buttons, increasing the block and font size, and changing the interface from landscape- to book-oriented.
- Update your CMS – If you are hosting a website on WordPress, make sure you’re using WP 5.2.4, the current version of the platform in 2019. Keep an eye on additional patches as well as security tweaks.
- Assess data protection mechanisms and website security – Multiple-factor authentication, an SSL encryption certificate, attack detection, and system recovery mechanisms are a must-have when it comes to ensuring a safe experience for website users.
- Add conversion-boosters to the homepage – Don’t forget to include awards and certifications, case studies, and client testimonials into the layout of the main page – all of the above serve as proof of legitimacy and expertise.
Website development and design practices are continually evolving. The web development industry is ever-changing, and companies should do their best to adopt new trends.
If you can’t get website visitors to close the deal, product or service quality might not be to blame. The truth is, website design and responsivity have a considerable part to play in the number of conversions you get. Improving mobile responsivity, reducing the load time, and modernizing the overall look and feel of the page makes a difference, bringing in more customers and revenue.
Before redesigning your website, you need to know what design, development, SEO, and marketing issues you have to deal with first and foremost. For a free webpage audit, reach out to Zazmic. Our experts offer a big-picture view of performance, development, and design issues that are not allowing your team to get the most out of the website. Tell us a few words about your project and needs – our experts will get in touch right away.
PS The post is the first part of the series on website improvement. Stay tuned as we deep-dive into the easiest and most impactful ways to improve the server-side and client-side performance of the website, the user experience, and search engine optimization.