Why is it that companies put off a website redesign when it so crucially important as part of an effective digital marketing strategy? We’ve listed a number of reasons why, and if you can empathise with some of these, some potential remedies for your wariness.
In no particular order…
Of course the first hurdle is to do with finances. We all hate to spend money right? Unless it’s on food or the latest tech of course… We understand that finding the money upfront for a website can be a daunting task for many small businesses and charities, especially when other costs start creeping in for things like hosting, domain name transfers and additional services.
Unfortunately, good website design does cost money. Someone will be pouring their creative soul into fulfilling your brief perfectly and it is only right that they are paid to do this well. Besides, you get what you pay for – a lesson you may have learnt when your partner’s nephew made your first one for free.
Fret not however, as like us, many website design companies offer pay monthly deals so that you can spread the cost of all associated website development costs in a simple monthly payment. This might suit you if cash flow is a difficulty for your organisation – you’ll finally get to reimagine your online presence.
2. The unclear nature of website design
Website design (and anything digital really) can be confusing if it is not your field. And why would it be? You’re looking for somebody to do it for you for this exact reason. With some design agencies and freelancers, it can be hard to understand what you’re paying for. What’s included in your package and what isn’t? Is it worth forking out more for search engine optimisation? And what the hell is HTML anyway?
Fortunately, any good agency or freelancer will make the process clear for you. Jargon should be saved for the web development conferences and not the client! We make the process particularly clear, starting by learning about your business and your goals, to outlining exactly what you are paying for, why it is necessary and when it will be done, through to collaborating with you on the design and content.
3. What’s the point in making this a priority?
Probably the most unforgivable of all of the points we’ve included is not making your website the top priority of all of your marketing efforts. Your website represents the central pillar of all of your online and offline marketing efforts. Staff members and storefronts no longer make the crucial first impression on your customers, your website does. We’re sure that the first thing that anybody does now is google your business before contacting or engaging with you in anyway. This means it should convey your company’s brand, tone, personality and have updated images and written content.
For businesses that have no brick and mortar activities this point is made many times more important. All of your business is conducted through the digital channel and you have no physical presence to fall back on. Do your own research on the impact of a solid online presence on sales and retention if you don’t believe us!
Thankfully, this point is an easy one to solve. Simply stop putting your website redesign off, jiggle around your schedule and kick start the process today (or tomorrow at the latest).
4. Once bitten, twice as shy
It’s not shocking to learn that most companies and businesses have been stung in the past when it comes to website designers and providers in the IT sector more broadly. This isn’t an indictment of the industry, we just think that there are a lot of freelancers that take a stab at website development before deciding it’s not for them, leaving clients with no way of managing their online presence.
Finding the right designers for your project isn’t all about who can create the most bells and whistles, it’s also about building a long-term working relationship that benefits everybody. Meet with a few organisations that provide a free, no obligation consultation and use this as an opportunity to get to know the people that will be delivering the project. You’ll want to find out how responsive they will be during and after the project, whether they’ll provide ongoing amendments and for how long and if they will do if anything goes wrong after the project is completed. Identifying these areas early on can give you confidence that you’ll be well supported. After all, website design is a service and not a product. We feel that good customer service and friendly support should always be part and parcel of website development.
5. Creating content
You have hundreds of things that need doing by yesterday so it’s no wonder you don’t have the time to write an about us section. If you’re trying to run a business or charity, we don’t blame you for not having a moment to take some pictures and get together all of the updated written content for a website redesign. With written content being just as important as the look and feel of a website this is a clear obstacle for anybody that knows they need to reimagine their website.
Sometimes you just need someone to take away the hassle, and that’s how we prefer to work. We understand that it’s difficult to brag about yourself – that’s probably part of why interviews can be so awful – but we’ll happily sing your praises. If you aren’t keen on writing your own copy and taking pictures, we can handle all of this for you. We’ll sit with you to understand your business now and where you want to be in the future and turn this into engaging content that perfectly portrays your business.
6. The dreaded search engine ranking dip
It’s possible that whenever you change content on your website you will inadvertently impact your search rankings for different keywords. This can be positive or negative depending on what you do. Obviously a website redesign is a complete overhaul of your website and therefore you’d expect this to change your ranking drastically.
This said, you can mitigate most of the effects by following best practice. Using the bulk of your written content and updating certain parts will keep your rankings fairly consistent (or go one better and optimise your content as you go!). Redirects can inform search engines of any changes to your URL structure and resubmitting your sitemap to each will speed up the process of the changes being crawled. This will mean your visitors get a consistent experience and the search engines will update what they show users when they search for you.
And after all we’ve considered above, a redesign of your website can also be the perfect time to realign your efforts with regards to your SEO and content marketing. If you haven’t been blogging for a while, writing a few posts a month around the keywords that you wish to rank for can far outweigh any dip in rankings as a result of revamping your site. Equally, if you haven’t optimised your meta information or on-page SEO, a redesign can actually have a positive effect on your rankings over the mid-term, without you having to do anything. All good website designers will optimise these areas as part of a website development project, just as we do!
It’d be pretty awful if every time you needed to update your website your page became inaccessible. Even worse in the instance of redesigning your website, which would like be at least a week long project. Fortunately, there are many ways in which a website developer can create your redesign whilst your existing site remains online.
Your new website can be designed “offline” meaning that it runs on somebody’s computer until it is finished – if this is the case you’ll likely be meeting with the developer regularly for demos.
Another option is to develop your website in a live environment on a subdomain of another website. This means it exists as a separate website under another’s URL or domain. If this is the case you’ll be able to demo the site online, without the developer being physically there.
Do any of these points sound familiar? We hope we’ve gone at least some way towards easing your fears and motivating you to consider redesigning your website.
If you have any other points that you think we should add to this post, or any questions, please get in touch.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent many years working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.