New Year, New Website?

December 31, 2008 Web Design

As we celebrate the dawn of a new year, you might be consumed with the January rush with little time to spare let alone consider how to move forward with your online business. Now is in fact an ideal time to launch (or relaunch) your business website – here are some reasons why you might want to give your website a makeover.

The content is outdated or there is new information to advertise

A common request, and not typically a substantial job for an established web designer. Rather than contract a web designer each time you need to make a change, why not invest in a content management system so you and your staff can update the website in-house?

The website is not optimised for search engines

One of the most frequent complaints a business owner will have about their website is its performance in Google. At best, they aren’t appearing in a good position for their search engine results; at worst, they aren’t listed in Google at all. A good website designer will also have a working knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO) to help boost your website’s profile.

The design isn’t suitable

Perhaps the design is outdated, or doesn’t give the user the right impression. Either way, a redesign can be an easy or a complex process depending on a number of variables. If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, then a new template is surprisingly straightforward. On bespoke websites, the customised nature demands more attention to detail, which is reflected in the cost.

Square up against the competition

Your existing website might be perfectly acceptable, but if a competitor arrives with a flashier, easier-to-use website you might want to consider your options. Some ideas I like to pitch include video testimonals, industry/staff blogging, photo slideshows, Google map integration… the list goes on and on. Have a look at what your competitors (both local and nationwide) are doing and see if there’s anywhere they are outdoing you. More importantly, are there any facets of their website that could be bettered?

Unreliable website availability or slow loading times

This isn’t a common problem, but can seriously impede your website’s impression. Hosting companies are often subject to unpredictable downtime, during which time your website is unavailable and prospective customers will be unable to reach your website. A good web designer will advise you on reliable hosting companies. On a similar note, if your website is slow to load, customers might turn away through sheer impatience. The slow loading of a website might not be the sole fault of the hosting company; a poorly thought-out website might have page elements like slideshows and images which take an unacceptable time to load. Your web designer will be able to help you identify such problems.

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