The typical shelf life of a web layout design is approximately three to four years. These couple of years can fly by when you have a thriving business, employees to manage and multiple deadlines to meet. However, keeping your website current and relevant is extremely important when maintaining your competitiveness in your market.
Instead of assuming that your website is generating leads purely because it’s live, is the wrong assumption to make. Your website may actually be driving potential customers away if they can’t find exactly what they're looking for within a few seconds. They may even go to another website to find their answers, and who wants that?
If it's been a while since you’ve visited your own website, you aren’t alone. Many businesses overlook this, or even forget to do it in the hustle and bustle of every day life. Do yourself a favor. Make a note to yourself to set aside a few minutes and visit your own website, and view it as one of your customers would. You may be able to answer questions about why business hasn't been going exactly the way you want it to lately.
Here are some design tips to keep in mind as you go through the process.
We’ve all visited a website that just looks outdated. Styles and design trends change rapidly these days, which makes it nearly impossible to have a six-year-old web design and still look current.
Do some research, check out other websites and see the design choices they’ve made; see what speaks to you. Start with your direct competition and then move away to get ideas to differentiate yourself from them. Concentrate on what makes you different, unique and the best at what you do. Did you win the best small business award of 2012? Let your customers know by incorporating it into your site's design!
Sizing & Resolution
Do you remember how small your first computer monitor was? More and more often, people are opting for a larger monitor. (Mine for instance, is about twice the size of the one I had before.)
Older websites may have been designed using the 800x600 pixel resolution, which is much smaller than the 1024x786 resolution that most of the population has today. When you visit an older site on a larger monitor, you can tell immediately there is a lot of wasted space in the sidebars. This is PRIME REAL ESTATE that you are potentially wasting. Make sure your most important information fits at the top of the home page because many times, people won't even take the time to scroll down.
By expanding your resolution, you can add key functions such as a sidebar, blog or call to action without making the customer have to scroll.
Many websites are also getting into responsive design. This means the website will format itself appropriately on any device you visit from; desktop, iPad, iPhone. This way you know your customer will have a good experience no matter what device they use.
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find the correct information about a company. If you’ve recently relocated, changed your phone number or have outdated employee information on your website, you may be losing out on potential customers who can’t get ahold of you.
This is a simple fix, especially with easy to use CMS tools. Designate someone in your office to be responsible for updating the website, or if you’re a one-man-shop, set reminders for yourself to log-in and check to see if your content is still relevant. Take a step further and incorporate more dynamic content each time.
Integrating social media into your website is essential today. It shows that your brand takes an active part in networking and that you truly want to connect with your fan base. Including links to your social networking sites creates a user-friendly experience which will generate even more fans and followers. Post relevant information on your social sites to create a buzz around your brand, and you will see more loyal customers who feel connected to you and your business.
A Different Approach
Overall layout, design and content can really make or break a website. When designing for the web, you always want to keep the customer in mind to ensure a great end-user experience. Many design and web companies run into design limitations when they are not able to properly develop the back-end code to make the design function correctly.
The Byte Production team has a different approach for this issue. Owner/Partner, Tim Barrons states, “The client’s design drives the code, not the other way around”, meaning if you have the design, we’ll figure out a way to bring it to life on the web.
We work with our customers one-on-one to achieve their web design goals. We gather your print materials, photos and ideas to create different design options then, let you choose your new, branded site. Nothing is more exciting to us than launching a website you will be proud of.
So, remember, take a few minutes and really assess if you are getting your message across to your customers. Maybe you just need a simple update of information, maybe you want to launch a social media account, or maybe it's time for a completely new design and when that time comes, please keep Byte Productions in mind.