Your website is your brand’s resumé – it should be up to date with your latest capabilities, case studies and content, all while prioritizing user experience and generating new leads.
Considering new website development for either a site refresh or complete redesign isn’t a decision to be taken lightly – it’s often one of the most time-consuming and expensive investments a business can make. However, as the famous Will Rogers says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
It takes about 50 milliseconds (ms) for users to make a snap judgment about a website. For context, that’s about half the amount of time it takes to blink your eyes. This rapid response is based on visuals and everything that goes into design: imagery, colors, symmetry, spacing, fonts, amount of copy, where a user’s eyes are directed, and much more. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty on the when, why, and how to make sure your website is serving your needs and maximizing user experience.
When is the right time to revisit my website?
There are lots of things to consider whether you’re building a new site from the ground up, making small updates and tweaking design elements (as with a site refresh), or updating an entire website structure including back end, front end, and layout (as with a site redesign). In all cases, having a concise website strategy in place is crucial. This plan of action aligns your business objectives and drives the content, design, and desired actions for users to take once on your site.
Website development can feel a lot like taking care of a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Your goal in both cases is to make sure the property stays relevant and functions as it should. Consistently updating as needs emerge is far more effective than putting off necessary updates. It should be no mystery that putting off problems until a later date often costs more in the end. So, instead of fixing a minor update, you’re in need of an entirely new website.
At a minimum, we recommend considering a revamp and update every three to five years to help stay current with changing technology, branding and aesthetics. Some other motivating factors for web development include the desire to rebrand, generate more brand awareness, and update branding for consistency across mediums. Regularly updated content will also greatly impact your search engine results pages (SERPs) and help your brand gain further SEO authority.
Where should I start?
First things first, start with a group of stakeholders who can put forth the best website strategy to accomplish your business goals. Once this first step is taken, it’s important to stick to the plan until completion. Though you may have a certain affinity to your existing site and brand, try not to take website development too personally. This can often slow the process and add unnecessary detours along the way. It’s not only an investment in your brand’s future, but also an investment in your future clients.
The key to success starts early in the revamp process: developing a killer strategy. Now comes the time to execute that game plan. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and each brand must make sure the tactics align with its ultimate goals. Here’s a few considerations before you take the plunge into the wide world of website development:
- Creative storytelling and engaging content- “Content is king” is a phrase you might hear from creative professionals when investing in website development. Great content is still the crowned head and must align with what your audience wants to see – specifically your future clients. Having a clear content strategy and a well-planned editorial calendar will prove an incredible asset toward success. Stories are the way we make sense of the world around us – they connect us to one another and to our favorite brands. A brand’s story shines through the content, and the content should make users see how they will be better with using your product or service. Storytelling connects us and speaks to us deeply, more than facts and bullet points ever can.
- Strategic branding- Your brand is the base of your business, so of course you’ll want to keep consistent branding across all the touchpoints your customers encounter. This means consistency in logos, colors, iconography, imagery, tone and voice of content, and overall aesthetics. Brand equity in the minds of consumers is built through consistency in every experience they have with your brand, even more so with your brand’s website.
- Leverage a responsive, clean design- Designing with responsiveness at the forefront offers the same website experience across different devices and adjusts to a user’s screen size, platform, and orientation, vastly improving overall user experience. Also, responsive design helps with better SERP ranking on Google – it’s a two-birds-one-stone kind of situation! Keep your website crisp, clean, easily scannable, and loaded with digestible content. Attention spans are decreasing, users scan and move to the next image and content cluster quicker than ever. Don’t worry, you can address this by designing with an eye toward balancing white space, making the page scannable and the content quick and digestible.
- Interesting imagery- Stay cautious of stock imagery for your brand’s website. Users are looking for their problems to be solved by an authentic product or service that you provide. The imagery on your website should help convey your brand’s authenticity, which is seldom perfectly posed and curated. In addition, make sure your imagery is relevant to the context. Users are often quickly scanning and find engaging visual elements helpful to their searches. Website imagery is equally as important in storytelling as written content, and it’s often looked at before any reading even takes place.
- Invest in a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy- Leveraging SEO tactics are essential for landing high-ranking placements on SERPs and will ultimately lead to more site traffic. Strategic keywords and key phrases in separate content clusters throughout your website are effective in generating more organic traffic, as search engines track sites for relevant keywords searched by users. Other SEO practices include:
- Responsive design (as mentioned previously)
- Using keywords in website headlines, body content, and URLs
- Implementing proper title tags, image alt tags and meta descriptions
Regardless of the ultimate purpose, there’s a lot of information to factor in when considering website development. Not the least of which is cost. The price tag of any website work can have a chilling effect on its progress and completion. However large or small the sticker price, it’s important to remember website development is an investment in your future and the future of your brand.
When you consider how a poor website experience can affect your bottom line, an investment into your website, brand, and both with current and future customers makes perfect sense and lends itself to the longevity and resiliency of your business.
If you’re curious about website development, Airfoil Group can help. Get in touch to schedule a needs-analysis call today.