How to tell if you're in desperate need of a website overhaul

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these six questions its probably time for a revamp.

By Michael O'Brien Marketing manager, Big Red Cloud

MOST SMALL BUSINESS owners understand the importance of having a company website, but the more important issue of today is whether or not the design is the most effective for generating revenue.

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following six questions, then it is probably time to create a new online presence:

  1. Does your website look outdated?
  2. Does it load very slowly?
  3. Do customers have a difficult time navigating the site or discovering how to buy your products and services?
  4. Are you still using Adobe Flash?
  5. Has your company changed so much over the years that the design is no longer relevant?
  6. Is your site not mobile-friendly?

Don’t leave it to chance, ask some of your customers and their feedback will quickly validate or reaffirm what you already know.

These six website building blocks will help steer your decision-making process if you do opt for a new design. Each point will help you anchor your decision making so that the end result is a website that is fit for purpose.

1. Promoting your company brand

Designing an effective branding strategy for your business is going to involve many different factors. Your company brand is much more than just your logo. It is the total combination of your vision and the design of your site, down to even the types of fonts and colours that you use in your marketing campaigns. All of these areas must adhere to a consistent message that is simple, unique and complementary to the overall brand.

2. Company vision

How do you want potential customers to view your business? What is your ultimate goal as an owner? This is going to be the basis of your branding strategies and, therefore, your website.

Some companies want to be seen as a solid leader in their industry with a reputation for stability and consistency. Others want customers to think of their business as innovative or cutting-edge. By clearly defining your company vision before designing your website, the decision-making process for individual site features will go more smoothly.

3. Company logo

The logo needs to be simple in design and easily recognisable. It needs to be unique and instantly memorable. Who would have ever thought that a simple image of an Apple with a bite taken out of it would become instantly recognised as the logo for the world’s largest provider of digital gadgetry, regardless of the customer’s native language?

A truly effective company logo usually utilises the right combinations of colours, but it should also look perfectly presentable in simple black-and-white graphics. Both it and the website design should truly reflect your company vision.

World Aids Day
Source: Anthony Devlin

4. Company colours

Even before the days of the internet, advertising executives have long known the value of colour selection when it comes to branding and marketing materials. For example, the colour red promotes a sense of urgency and stimulation. This is why nearly all fast-food chains have red as one of their company colours and, therefore, their website design.

Blue, on the other hand, portrays a sense of calm, security and stability. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, numerous financial companies and airlines are examples of firms that have blue logos to instill a sense of trust with the customer. Your choices of company and website colours should also reflect your vision.

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5. Target audience

Defining the type of person who is actually going to buy your products and services is crucial when designing a website. Yes, you could cast a very wide net and market to everyone and anyone, but is that really the most cost-effective strategy?

By clearly defining the individual character traits and shopping habits of your core group of preferred consumers, you and your staff can save a great deal of time and money not answering senseless emails and phone calls from people who are very unlikely to buy from your company in the first place. Knowing your target audience when designing a website is going to make your other marketing strategies run much more smoothly.

6. Marketing strategy

One of the major influences of company website design today is the rapidly advancing reach of social media and digital technology. Consumers today have so many forms of advertising immediately available they can pick and choose which types of advertising to receive. This is why branding is so vital today – more than ever before.

Michael O’Brien is the marketing manager at Big Red Cloud.

If you want to share your opinion, advice or story, email opinion@fora.ie.

READ: 7 tips for creating an unforgettable company brand

READ: The simple tricks that will make your website more search engine friendly