Is your website a credit to your business or a liability? You may not have spinning GIFs or visible hit counters, but somewhere along the line, your website design might have fallen behind the times.
No matter what industry you serve, your prospects will research buying decisions online before they decide to close a deal with you. This is the perfect opportunity to rise above the competition and nail that crucial first impression.
Here are a few signs your website needs an overhaul:
1. Dated website look and feel
Customers and prospects rely on website visual design to determine business credibility and quality. Stanford research cites a “clean, professional look” as the most important factor for evaluating website credibility.
Your website acts as chief ambassador or lead sales rep for your business online. This online presence can have far-reaching effects on your bottom line. This is especially true for high-tech, legal, and medical industries, where you are selling your knowledge and expertise. Even if your business is based on referrals, those potential clients will be checking you out online.
Take some time to visit competitor’s websites. Make an honest assessment: how does your site design measure up? Start making notes of what you like and dislike. Think about how your website could benefit from these concepts.
2. Patchwork website expansion
Modern business moves at the speed of light. Is your website keeping pace?
Too often, we see expansions and new product lines splinter company websites. New sections sprawl without rhyme or reason, leaving dead links in their wake. The haphazard result dilutes your message and confuses visitors.
Your website needs to project a cohesive message across every page. Maintain logical navigation and clear purpose throughout the site design.
3. Out of sync with company vision
Over time, businesses change and priorities shift. Rebranding, mergers, and other changes require an immense amount of energy and attention. When the dust settles, your website may not align with the new business direction.
Don’t give your customers the wrong impression. Make sure your website design echoes the current company vision and purpose.
4. Form without function
Some designers create websites entirely in Flash, shoving functionality to the side. This can be bad for business. Visitors with slower Internet connections and mobile users will be shut out of your site. Search engines will have difficulty indexing your pages.
The same rules apply to outdated brochure websites with large image maps and little text. With advances in technology, your website can be so much more than an oversized business card.
Think of the web as a platform to expand your company’s capabilities. Dynamic inventory tracking, supplier interfaces, client extranets, secure global access to videos and presentations for your own sales team – the possibilities are endless.
5. Lost connections
Not every company needs a Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook page. However, you must find a way to interact with your customers and prospects online. Every missed opportunity to connect could mean lost revenue.
Encourage interaction on your own site with live chat or contact forms. You can also reach out with blogs, podcasts and webinars. Many technologies can help you form a community and become a trusted resource. Test and decide what works best for your business.
At the very least, you should be capturing visitor emails with a free report, white paper, or coupon offer. This allows you to continue the relationship long after they leave your website. Think about what makes sense for your audience, and offer something of value.
Shift your website forward
Your website design can position you as an industry leader, or drive customers away from your business. Take inventory of your current site to determine where you could use improvement.