Your Website Design Must Make the Right Impression
You’ve got a website. Of course you do. You’ve had one since … forever … since it was a thing to have a website. You’re no dummy. You knew what your customers wanted and you gave it to them. But what have you done for them lately? Because if you’re still sporting a website from even just a few years ago, it’s like wearing a pair of ripped jeans to a corporate job interview.
Of course, you know that wearing ripped jeans to a job interview means you won’t be taken seriously. You’ll be dismissed out of hand. You might even get a bad reputation in your industry. What’s not readily apparent is that an out-of-date website is as glaring a faux pas.
If want to impress you might need a full rebranding campaign (and a new suit). Or maybe you just need a site update.
Here are 5 ways to tell whether your website needs an overhaul or a bit of refining:
1. Friend Feedback
When was the last time someone told you your website looked good? If you haven’t gotten a compliment in a while, ask your friends their honest opinions. Tell them you’re thinking of changing things up and see how they react. Also, if the only feedback you ever get are gentle words of encouragement like “I want to send people to your website, but it doesn’t really represent what you do,” then it’s time to update. (Also, your friends are probably nice, so read between the lines.)
2. Focus Group Feedback
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t need a focus group. That’s for Mad Men. But those Madison Avenue tricks are for all marketers. And you’re a marketer. You probably don’t think of yourself as one since you’re a lawyer or a healthcare provider or a florist. But you’re also a marketer, whether you like it or not. If you’re in business, you need to embrace marketing to be successful. So, make life easy on yourself and invest in a focus group to find out how others perceive you (not your nice friends or distant relatives who really don’t care about your website).
3. Competitive Analysis
Take a look at your competition and see what they’re doing. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s say you own a salon and you want it to be the hot place in town. Look up the websites of other salons in your area and see how your site compares. If you look pretty good, then expand your search to include salons in nearby towns. Still looking good? Then research websites for top salons in big cities. Do you still measure up? Seeing where the bar is set in your industry can help you decide how high to raise your own standards.
4. Brand Analysis
Look at your website and remember where you were in your life and business when you started it. How have you evolved? Maybe you’re a life coach and when you started out, you were working with a lot of entrepreneurs. But since then your focus has changed. Now you help corporate executives, and you enjoy that work. They recommend you to their friends and you’ve gotten a nice business going. Does your website reflect your current focus?
5. Functionality Analysis
Technology has changed considerably in the last few years. Of course you know this with your smartphone and your tablet and your mom’s android and your kids’ ipads. Technology leaped forward, but did your website get the memo? A quick check on your phone will let you know. Also, web design methods have changed. You don’t want to ask your clients to download Adobe or flash to see your website. Do yourself a favor and keep things clean and simple.
If you cut corners at the beginning, you probably already know your website and brand need updating. And if you went through this checklist and saw that your site is subpar, I’ll tell you what I tell everyone looking to make an impact in the market … hire a professional.