Creative Instinct Blog – Branding & Marketing Tips for Busy Professionals

Informative articles and tips on marketing for small businesses.


10 SIGNS YOU NEED A WEBSITE REDESIGN

website_macarthur-commons

 – Original article by Pyxl
(Pictured above: Website designed by Creative Instinct for MacArthur Commons apartments in Little Rock, AR)

Millennials have grown up with electronics and all things digital; the Baby Boomers grew up with rock and roll. Because this generation is so comfortable with technology, businesses have to keep up with current digital trends to reach their target audience where they want to be reached – online.

Technology is constantly advancing, and doesn’t show signs of hitting the brakes anytime soon. This rapid evolution is not only affecting individuals, but it also affects our work places, how we go about doing our jobs, our business strategies, our family lives and more. With the norm being the instant gratification of finding what you’re looking for via a Google search, businesses are sprinting to keep up.Since the digital world is an integral part of our existence, we relate the credibility of websites, businesses, blogs, etc. to their digital presence. As such, if yours is behind the times, it may have a significant impact on your sales and overall company success. Websites need to be engaging, well-designed and easy to navigate in order to spark consumer interest and gain their trust.

So, how is your digital presence doing? Here are 10 signs that your website may need a facelift:

1. It’s Not Optimized for Mobile

Optimizing your website for mobile devices is imperative. 46% of people use their mobile device as their primary research tool, while 67% of customers are more apt to purchase when a site is mobile-friendly.

According to Search Engine Watch, Google reported that 50% of smartphone users say they visit a local store within a day of researching it, and 18% of local searches lead to sales. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re missing out on potential customers – don’t get left in the dust!

2. It’s in Flash

If your website is still in Flash, it’s time for an update. Although Adobe is still promoting it, Flash is becoming a thing of the past. There are several reasons for nixing Flash:

  • It is not good for SEO,
  • It loads slowly,
  • It is not optimized for mobile devices, and
  • It makes it difficult for you to update your site.

As you will see below, all of the above criteria are assets of a good website that you do not want to ditch. So, sorry Flash, but we’re voting you off the island.

3. It Has a Low Search Engine Ranking

Did you know that 93% of online experiences start with a search engine? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an incredibly important factor in your digital presence.

SEO affects where your website is ranked when a potential customer searches for the services you provide. For example, if a customer were to search “insurance,” would your insurance company’s website show up on the first page of organic search results, or page 100? 75% of users never scroll past the first page.

A top SEO ranking boosts traffic to your website, and therefore your sales. If you’re struggling in this department, it could be time for a website redesign.

4. Customers Navigate Away Quickly

A high exit and/or bounce rate is most likely an indicator that visitors aren’t finding your website advantageous.

Who is your target audience? What are your goals? What are your strategies to draw them in? Does your website answer these questions? If not, work with your personas in mind and develop tactics with your design and development teams to reach these goals.

5. It Has Undesirable Aesthetics

Let’s face it – most people judge a book by its cover. Similarly, people identify with websites that they find appealing. Web design trends are constantly evolving, which means you have to constantly pay attention and implement new designs. Having a clear, navigable, aesthetically pleasing site can make all the difference.

Your customers’ perceptions are critical to your site’s health. Judgments are made quickly and often imperceptibly, so it’s essential that your site look professional and engaging. According a study done by Matthew Casey, the decision to stay on a webpage can be made in as little as 50 milliseconds, mainly due to the page’s visual appeal.

6. It Has a High Load Time

If your site is slow, people are more likely to abandon it. According to KISSmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

If your website isn’t loading quickly, customer satisfaction will decrease just as fast. This will not only hurt your reputation, but your SEO as well. The ripple effect of a slow-loading site can reach farther than just one frustrated customer.

7. Your Company is Growing

This is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. If you’re running out of space to promote the many services you offer, it may be time to reorganize and make your site more navigable for users. Transition your business into the future with a website that drives your growth.

8. Your Brand Messaging Has Changed

If your brand messaging has changed as your company has evolved, this is another indication that your site may be in need of a makeover. Since a website can be the main motivator that drives visitors to choose to do business with your company, you want to make sure that it caters to your target audience and makes a good first impression.

Show the customer what differentiates your brand from the competition. As your company updates, grows and changes, ensure your website does too.

9. You Don’t Have a Content Management System

A Content Management System (CMS) allows you to easily edit your website from a central interface. You’ll want to be able to manage your website and update the content without having to change codes and/or hire a web developer to edit the code. A CMS allows you to go in and modify, delete, add and/or organize content without excess hassle. A CMS is especially handy for editing content related to special offers, campaigns or rewards and contests that tend to change often.

10. You’re Embarrassed to Give Out Your URL

Clearly, if this is the case, you’re in need of a website redesign! Your site is an extension of your business, and should be looked at as an investment in the future of your business – a vehicle for connecting with potential and existing clients and customers. In this digital age, it is one of the first and most important steps in drawing in traffic, so make sure it’s worth checking out!

Are you in the market for a website redesign? I’d love to work with you to enhance your website’s effectiveness and bring it into the modern digital age. If you’re interested in learning more, check out some of my work. Ready to take the next step? Contact us today!

(Pictured at top:  Website designed by Creative Instinct for MacArthur Commons apartments in Little Rock, Arkansas)

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4 CRITICAL WEBSITE ELEMENTS MOST BUSINESSES ARE MISSING

Article from Entrepreneur, by Peter Gasca

Dr. Helva Gynecology & Infertility website and mobile version, designed by Creative Instinct.

When was the last time you visited a website only to leave after only a few seconds? If you are like me, chances are you did this several times just this morning.

Great websites are key to attracting and retaining visitors. But how does one identify the most trusted, authoritative and reputable websites?

In its second annual survey, the 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, Huff Industrial Marketing and KoMarketing sought to determine the website elements buyers really wanted from vendor websites, which were critical for retention and revisits and most likely to lead to conversions.

The key takeaway: Buyers want authenticity in business websites, and the most effective way to create authenticity is to demonstrate trust and credibility.

The report went on to find that most businesses are overlooking easy opportunities to improve their websites and create trust and credibility. Here are four key and surprisingly simple elements most companies are missing.

1. Contact information

According to the report’s findings, 51 percent of respondents indicated that “thorough contact information” was the key website element missing from most websites. An astonishing 98 percent of respondents said that “No Contact Information / Phone Number” would cause them to leave the website (44 percent) or be so annoyed that they might leave the website (54 percent).

These days, buyers want and need to know that the site belongs to a real business with a real location. Including your physical address with your phone number and email address is the best way to do this.

Visitors also need to find your contact information easily. Burying it in small print and camouflaged in superfluous content sends a bad message. Make it clear, bold and easy to find, with all your social media links, in the footer of each page. If you create a separate contact page, make it easy to find and navigate to.

2. About you

Another important factor for creating trust and credibility is providing information about you, your team and your company. Fifty two percent of respondents indicated that “About / Company Information” was information visitors most wanted to see on your homepage and best established credibility (second only to “Contact Information”).

Spend time developing your company story and provide your visitors with detailed bios, backgrounds, histories and even relatable personal stories of each key team member. Include links to each of their professional websites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as a clear, high resolution picture (you should consider hiring a photographer to take professional headshots).

Another valuable element to establish credibility is to publish your client list and testimonials. This may not be possible in many cases and for many reasons, but nothing speaks to your value and credibility more than a long list of happy clients.

3. Appropriate content

Many entrepreneurs believe that having an engaging social media presence and creating regular blog posts are the keys to converting clients. While these are useful strategies, the survey found that videos, social media activity and blog posts ranked lowest on “content assets that create credibility.”

Instead, focus your marketing efforts on creating white papers, case studies, research reports and articles that establish your credibility as an expert in your industry. Write often and leverage customer feedback to create fresh and relevant content they want.

For this information to permeate organically, you should consider providing it for free without requiring personal information, as the survey found that more than 70 percent of respondents indicated they would not be willing to provide their information to receive yours.

4. Keep it simple

While businesses continue to move to mobile-first strategies, especially given Google’s recent search engine update that prioritizes mobile-ready sites, the survey found that for now, at least with business-to-business companies, 61 percent of respondents indicated that a mobile-friendly website did not impact the buying decision.

Clearly, companies should not abandon a mobile strategy, nor should they rush to abandon their website strategy. Instead, entrepreneurs should embrace an approach that pursues both with the same strategy: keep it simple. Resist the urge to load your site with content and limit it to only what your visitor needs.

As websites improve and as more people consume content on mobile devices, we will all come to expect the same experience from our websites as we do from our mobile sites. Easy navigation and simple and responsive designs will not be enough, however, so businesses will need to rely more on creating and establishing authenticity to attract and convert visitors. How does your site compare?

Need assistance with your company’s website?

Creative Instinct can help. Contact Gwen Canfield (owner/freelance designer) today for a free consultation at gwen@creativeinstinct.biz. To see samples of her work, visit www.creativeinstinct.biz.

(Photo at top of article: Dr. Helva Gynecology & Infertility website and mobile version, designed by Gwen Canfield – Creative Instinct.)