Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So you think you need a new website . . .

Last week we had a visit from a social friend who had called and asked: “Youz guys do web sites – right?” Yes, we do. So they came in and said that their existing web site was over 10 years old, needed to be updated, and was not working (not functionally but marketing wise). After viewing the web site, they were correct in all three areas.
The conversion was longer than planned. Once they accepted that their web site is one, if not the most important, branding channel for their company, they realized that updating their existing website is more than updating photos, staff members bios, or client lists. These are extremely important but updating does not stop there.

The web has been around long enough that we now know where a visitor spends most of their time (eyes-wise), gender differences, and age differences in web layout. You can age a site by simple things as location of navigation buttons and information presentation flow. In short when re-doing your website, implement a new design – a new look that better reflects your brand.

“Our existing website does not work!” What you are really saying is that your website is not telling your story. Initially websites were just an electronic “yellow pages” ad. No longer true – they must tell your story if not your competitors’ sites are telling their stories loud and clear. So do not just update content. Perform a complete content analysis: what should be said, in what format, how much. Today’s websites are simple, clean, crisp, and minimal text. Also remember the web is still a visual media.
Finally realize and accept that your website does not stand-alone. Viewers expect your site to be collaborative and personal. Also such things as social media and new media (blogs, ezines, podcasts) channels are all used hand-in-hand to distribute your site outward and bring people to the site.

In summary – when considering to update an aged website, remember three key words:
• Design
• Story
• Media Channels

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