Four Signs That Your Website Needs a Redesign

In this digital age, your website is a key communication tool for your business and in most cases it should help drive sales. However, a poor design, slow experience or a website that doesn’t function properly can lead to visitors leaving before buying any products, or worse, browsing and selecting products to purchase only to find that the process is too complicated to complete. Here’s four signs that your website needs a redesign.

Your website is not meeting your commercial needs

The truth is that as a small business owner, your website exists to encourage your visitors to fulfill your call to action. This is ultimately the main measure of success, whether you’re attempting to sell a product or service, promote tickets for an event or get sign ups for your company newsletter. If people are visiting your website, taking a look around and then leaving before fulfilling your call to action then that is a missed opportunity for you. The key metric here is your conversion rate, which is:

Call to action completions / Total unique visitors = Conversion rate

Of course, every visitor isn’t going to be interested in your offering so your conversion rate will never be 100%. However, if your site’s conversion rate is low, perhaps it is time to rethink your approach or test another design.

Your website is slow or doesn’t load properly

Computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones… We now have so many devices that make light work of internet browsing wherever we are. It is important that your website is responsive, meaning that it renders correctly based on screen size, platform and orientation. It is a very jarring experience when site displays improperly on a mobile device. Another factor you should consider is load time. If your site takes more than a couple of seconds to load you have a higher chance of losing potential customers and taking a hit on your search engine placement. Turns out that both people and Google love fast sites. The longer people have to wait, the more likely they are to leave and visit a competitors website, so make sure you test your site regularly to ensure it provides a fast, pleasant experience.

Your web design looks outdated

It can be difficult, but your approach to website design should always be fluid and aspects of design that work well today are very quickly replaced by innovations tomorrow. If you don’t continuously tweak and improve your design to keep up with these innovations, then you may fall behind. However, it can be quite difficult to stay on top of the latest technology and trends if you’re not a tech savvy web designer. That’s one of the reasons that working with a professional digital agency is beneficial. When browsing your competitors websites, keep an eye out for new technology and design that works well, then analyze the benefits and decide if you should implement similar changes. In general, you should always be looking for ways to improve your site’s design, because this sends a signal to your visitors that you’re a dynamic business keeping up with latest trends, and it may also boost your site’s performance and search engine placement.

Visitors are struggling to navigate your website

When designing and developing a website, properly measuring a website’s ongoing performance is an important step to ensuring your marketing plans are giving you desired results. It can be very frustrating if you’ve spent a lot of time and energy optimizing your website for search, finally building a steady stream of traffic and then notice that your visitors leave after one look at the homepage. For small business owners, a website can be the best way to show the world your products and services, and you obviously want everyone to move around your site and view your offerings and complete your call to action. Your website’s bounce rate is a really simple metric for identifying how many pages each user is viewing. You can work this out with the following calculation:

Visits with only 1 pageview / Total visits = Bounce Rate

There’s numerous reasons why someone might leave after only loading the homepage. This metric, combined with other considerations, may help you identify if design is the reason your website isn’t converting. However, the deeper issue here could be with the overall design of your site. To identify if people are browsing multiple pages and still not completing your call to action, you should study the pages/session rate. Pages per session broadly gauges how compelling users find your content and the ease of access.

If your visitors are browsing multiple pages without fulfilling your call to action, this may indicate an issue. Perhaps the issue is with the product or price, but it could also be a navigation problem. If it isn’t clear to your customers how they can purchase the products or complete your call to action, they are more likely to leave the site and visit a competitor.

Redesigning your website can seem daunting. It takes time and skill to make sure the design fits your brand and that it provides a convenient experience for your visitors. However, your products and services deserve the best platform and a well designed website can be a very effective tool.

Three Must Have Features for Small Business Websites

It is essential that your small business website clearly communicates your message and drives growth for your company. Whether your goal is to inform visitors about your brand, promote upcoming events or encourage them to make a purchase, your website should meet your visitor’s needs. By incorporating the features we’ve covered here, you can ensure that your website is effective at engaging your visitors and helping you grow your business.

Responsive websites

Recent studies show that more than 55% of website visitors are now using mobile devices. Of course, this means that 45% of website visitors are still using desktops. To be successful, you need to ensure that your website renders properly on all types of devices.  If your site is only optimized for desktop and it doesn’t load properly for a visitor on a tablet or phone, you can be sure that they’re not going to switch to their desktop. Instead, they will likely just visit a competitor’s website that does work well on a mobile device. If your website is responsive across all devices, customers will have faith that they can use it at any time, anywhere, however they access it. This will help encourage customer loyalty and make it easier to engage your visitors and present them with your call to action.

Branding is key to design

Your brand is how your customers recognize you and it differentiates you from your competitors. Effective branding also builds trust and increases customer loyalty. It is important ensure that your website reflects and remains consistent with your existing branding. If your brand is bright and colorful, but your website is simplistic and colorless then it will look completely out of place and your visitors will struggle to associate your site with your company. A great example of a company that does this right is Apple; we know what they stand for because their approach to simplistic product design. Their stores are also simple and easy to navigate. Visit their website and you’ll see that the design is inspired by those same values. Your brand is the very soul of your business and your websites design needs to remain true to what you’ve communicated before, otherwise it all becomes disjointed and difficult to follow.

Effective calls to action

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Every business has at least one action that they want their website visitors to take. Whether that’s buying your products, signing up for your newsletter or downloading a brochure, it’s essential that you make your call to action very clear. You can have the most intricately designed website with the best branding applied, but if visitors aren’t fulfilling your call to action then you’re not getting the desired reaction and your website becomes a burden instead of a tool to help you grow your business. Successful websites leave no doubt what they want visitors to do by placing calls to action in prominent places and using effective design to maximize convenience. Although this might seem pushy, well worded, friendly and persuasive copy will ensure that visitors are encouraged to complete your call to action. At the end of the day, the clearer and easier you make things for the visitors, the more likely they are to do what you want.

Creating a successful website can be difficult, especially for small business owners who often do not have the time or the resources. By ensuring your website has these three features, you’ll be maximizing it’s effectiveness and hopefully increasing the return on your investment. Remember that you get out what you put in, so if you don’t have the knowledge and time to work on your website then you should work with a professional to make sure your website is an effective tool for growth.

Three Simple Website Hacks to Convert Traffic into Sales

So it’s 2018 and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware that it’s possible to make a very comfortable living online. Let’s assume that you’ve optimized all of your content to rank well on Google and you’re getting a fair amount of organic traffic. You might be fooled into thinking you’ve made it big time. Unfortunately, unless these visitors are buying your products, subscribing to your courses or completing whatever your call to action may be, then the chances are your pockets might be feeling a little empty. Do you want to know the key to start turning your traffic into dollar signs? Here are three hacks that may seem obvious, but you probably aren’t using them to their full potential.

Make your website super easy to use

People love convenience. Your visitors don’t want to wait for your site to load, or waste time trying to work out how to use it. They’ve got far more important things to be doing. This is why basic web design is so important. Firstly, find a web hosting service that will ensure that your website loads quickly. This is important for Google too when they rank your website, as they want promote websites with a great user experience. A fast loading website helps you rank higher on Google and keeps your potential customers engaged. Win-win-win for everyone – first hurdle cleared.

Now that your visitors on the website, they should be able to quickly clearly identify the purpose of the site. For e-commerce sites, the pages should be displayed using a logical design so that the visitor can find the products they are looking for. Once they move around the site, make it clear what your call to action is! In this case, it is to purchase your goods. This is the deal maker when converting traffic. No matter how much a visitor loves your products, they will very quickly give up and go to a competitor if they can’t quickly find what they are looking for and move through the checkout process. To maximize the convenience, make every step of the process crystal clear for the user. This takes us on to the next tip.

Funnel visitors to the point of sale

If your focus is on sales, then show your customers where to buy the products. That could be as blatant as putting your most recognizable or best-selling products on the front page, or creating a sales page to increase volume on slow moving products. By designing the site around your call to action, you can ensure that customers are only two or three clicks away from buying your products. If they have to spend ages navigating and clicking, the experience becomes inconvenient and they have more time to lose interest. If you’re struggling to convert traffic into sales, then one potential issue is that you haven’t made it clear what you are trying to offer.

A picture says a thousand words

There’s no excuse for sub-par images in an age where smart phone cameras have razor sharp focus and more megapixels than you can shake a stick at. Go to any successful e-commerce website and you’ll find great photos showcasing the products they offer. You will also notice that there’s a great deal of detail in the way they’re shot. You’ve heard the phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words”, and your images are far more convincing than a whole page of sales copy will ever be. This isn’t to say that copy isn’t important, but it will all be undermined by an awful, pixelated image. The visitors can’t pick up and feel your products, so the images need to offer enough detail to let their imagination fill in the gaps. Essentially, this means high resolution photographs at different angles to pick up every detail of your product. Upload them to your website and have them available to view full screen so that your visitors can inspect them thoroughly. This could prove to be the difference between someone choosing your product or a competitors.

You may have put in a lot of effort to create a professional looking website, but it can still be difficult to convert traffic into sales. By following these tips, you can improve your website’s performance and add revenue to your bottom line. Visitors will find out what your website is about very efficiently and can then either visit another website or conveniently move through the funnel and purchase your products. Convenience is king!

Website Design Trends for Small Businesses in 2018

Everything in the tech and digital marketing space moves at lightning speed and website design trends for small businesses are no exception! It can sometimes seem like a full time job keeping your website’s design up to date. Some trends come and go, but others are definitely here to stay. We’ve covered three key website design trends that you should stay on top of this year to stay ahead of the competition.

Sticky website design features

You should pay close attention to how you can use new features to improve the stickiness of your website design. Stickiness is a term that refers to techniques that that you can employ to encourage visitors to stay on your website. If you can keep them on your website, they’ll continue to browse your content and are more likely to fulfill your call to action. Although stickiness is not a new concept, new trends have emerged that show off your best content and keep your visitors on your site longer.

Video is now an essential part of any offering, whether it be to show demonstrations, product or service reviews, or even calls to action. Videos are perfect for conveying your message with added personality and provide the perfect opportunity to showcase what your brand is about. People are also more likely to stop and view or interact with a video as opposed to paragraphs of copy, which increases engagement and conversions.

Fixed navigation bars are also here to stay. For site visitors, it can be a real pain when you scroll down the page to consume the content and lose the navigation bar. By fixing the navigation bar to the top of the browser as we’ve done on our website, you can ensure that your visitors are always one click away from browsing your other content and engaging with your call to action. Without a fixed navigation bar, the user then has to scroll to the top of the page to access additional menu items. This one simple change could be the difference between a lead or the visitor leaving your website.

Mobile native website design

In 2018, you have absolutely no excuse for neglecting mobile visitors. Increasingly, many of your customers and potential clients are browsing your website on mobil devices. If your website design isn’t intuitive on mobile, people will leave quickly and you will lose conversion opportunities. Think of it this way; if your images are the wrong size for a mobile screen or your website isn’t loading properly but your competitor’s looks and feels like a native app, then you lose potential customers and they will be unlikely to return to your website any time soon.

When you have put a lot of effort into creating your business, designing your website and writing copy, don’t do yourself an injustice by not optimizing it for mobile users. Even simple things like putting sharing buttons in places where the visitor can clearly see them make a difference. Sharing via social media is so natural on mobile, so you should make it extremely convenient to do so. Naturally, the more your website is shared, the more traffic and the more potential sales you can generate.

The rise of AI in website design

Although not mainstream yet, this is certainly a trend you’ll see more of throughout 2018. Artificial Intelligence might seem incredibly complicated and only relevant to large tech companies like Tesla and Amazon, but they can benefit your website and business in the form of chatbots. A chatbot is a program designed to simulate conversation with your website’s visitors.

A chatbot on your website can provide a route of communication for the customer to ask questions instead of having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. Using the keywords within the question, the chatbot can then provide information from a database of answers to questions. If the visitor isn’t satisfied with their answer then they can always still opt to contact you directly, but if implemented correctly a chatbot can conveniently provide them with the required information. This is just one example of the way AI will assist small businesses owners and allow you to focus on offering the most value to your website visitors as quickly possible.

Changing your website’s design can sometimes be daunting as it’s what you and your visitors have come to know and hopefully love. However, a rule of business is that if you’re not changing and adapting to current trends then you will be left behind, because you can be sure your competition is. By following some of the trends we’ve mentioned here and employing features that suit your offering, you can be confident that your website stands out in 2018.