Did you know that more half of the world’s population are now internet users? 4.4 billion people might not be trying to reach you, but your website is the main showcase for your company. You no doubt thought long and hard about your site when you built it, but when was the last time you took a long, hard look at the first impression you were making? Sounds daunting? Don’t worry! We’ve broken it down for you to get you started.
Firstly, you need to identify your audience and think about whether your website meets their needs. Knowing what your target audience loves and hates can be a crucial part of your design. Have a think about their location, age, gender, race, income and even their hobbies. The more data you can collect on your audience, the more this is going to help you in the long run. So, consider issuing a survey or some quick polls to existing contacts or through your social media. You can also review your sites analytics to get an idea of insights and view counts.
It’s a journey
Now it’s time to dig into the structure. Your website should follow a natural pathway that’s easy to navigate. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you were visiting your site for the first time, what information would you want to see? Where would you go to next? As well as new visitors, it’s important to remember your returning customers, too. What information, documents or links will they want to keep coming back to? Think about the flow of your pages and whether users have to keep going back to your homepage to navigate to new areas of your site. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a cluttered menu bar can be off-putting and overwhelming for visitors, so use sub-menus or hidden pages that can be accessed through landing pages as a way to cut down your menu options.
Another crucial part of your users’ journey is whether the functionality available to them is suitable. Do you have filters available on your posts so your content can be sorted or searched instead of scrolling endlessly? Is it clear when accessing pages in your website exactly where you are so you can easily get back to the home page? Do you have shortened URLs or working hyperlinks? If visitors can’t find what they want easily, they’ll get frustrated and leave your site. If you’re not sure on how to start with improving functionality, you could look at other websites for ideas.
It’s all in the content
OK, so now your website is easy to get around, we need to fill it with good content. When was the last time you updated your ‘About’ page or reviewed your services? It’s important to refresh your copy across your website regularly, to stop your site from becoming stale and uninteresting. It’s also good to let people know you are developing and growing as a business by tailoring your information to your audience. Tip: a great way to showcase your development or let people know you’ve added a new area to your site is by adding a blog or news function to your homepage! You also need to consider the layout of your content, how readable the copy is (font style, size and spacing) so don’t be afraid to play around with it.
Make it unique
We’ve all seen those stock type corporate websites before. You know the ones? Plain white and [insert brand colour] schemed, filled with stock images of staff that definitely do not work there and only two pages on their site with contact details to find out more. Bringing a unique identity to your website makes it interesting, memorable and adds warmth. We’re drawn to visuals before we start reading text so let’s make sure it’s eye-catching. Use high-quality images, mostly in colour and don’t have STOCK PHOTO plastered across them. There are hundreds of free image websites out there with good quality photos – or you could even consider uploading your own images or illustrations.
Bring in the professionals
Now you have the inclination and inspiration to refresh your website, it may be worth considering bringing in a professional to do it. A fresh pair of eyes can be really useful to help you look over your digital hub and think of ideas you might not have come up with. Professionals will also have experience of working across many different sites that have different audiences, needs and functionality hurdles and can bring you some tried and tested solutions.
If you’re looking to bring someone in to help you refresh your website, give you some advice or even redesign your website – get in touch! We have experience of working on a large range of sites and can help you improve yours.