We’ve been getting quite a few website-related questions. Coupled with the fact that so much of our recent works seems to be developing, redefining, or enhancing websites, it seemed like a good time to provide some guidance on this integral marketing tool.
Q. My company’s website is getting a bit dated, but it still does the job – yet I’m being urged to do a complete redesign. What’s so important about updating my website if it’s working fine?
Kevin: The reality is that websites grow “stale” more quickly than ever before. Even with regular content updates, experts recommend a new website every 5 years. That seems like a lot, but a website doesn’t just communicate information about who you are and what you offer, but its look and feel – and how “fresh” it is – plays a major role in whether a client chooses you over your competitor.
Holly: That’s right; visitors assume that the whole package – its structure, look, and functionality as well as its content – says a lot about the way your company does business. If it’s well-designed and organized, with intuitive navigation, compelling copy and great visuals, then visitors will assume that your company too is well-organized, easy to work with, and professional.
Bonnie: On the other hand, a bad website experience can actually make a client decide to take their business elsewhere.
Andre: So really what we’re saying is: your site might not be “working fine.” Even if you think it still looks updated, if your site was developed more than a few years ago, chances are it won’t look right or perform well in new browsers like Google Chrome, or on platforms like tablets and smart phones.
Kevin: Hey, don’t make people panic! In many cases, you can get away with a site refresh, rather than a complete overhaul. Instead of changing everything, you can tackle the areas that need the most help.
Andre: Great point, but sometimes is still makes more sense to just go with a new or completely redesigned, site. It just depends on where you’re starting from and where you want to end up. And don’t forget about SEO, either . . .
Kevin: That is a whole separate topic for another day.
Kimberly: Or another column!
Q. How do I structure, select and write the best content for my Website?
Kevin: I’m glad you said structure first, because it’s critical to determine your information hierarchy and nail down the site map before starting to work on content; it will guide all decisions about what to include and how to create the different elements.
Holly: Since your site’s main function is marketing, it doesn’t need to be an encyclopedia. Focus on the most important pieces of information, keep copy short, and make the site’s navigation clear, even for a visitor that skips around. Dress it up with things that tell your company’s story in different ways – portfolios, testimonials, case studies, white papers, whatever. But be picky, and remember that some things are better shared in other ways, like social media.
Bonnie: Or even a phone call or a meeting. Remember that your end-goal is to have the opportunity connect with a potential client, and you can share plenty then!
Kimberly: That’s right. I just want to emphasize keeping the amount of copy minimal, especially on the main pages. Use lists and subpages to give more info to those who want it. Honestly, most people not only don’t scroll down, but they get overwhelmed just by seeing a lot of copy.
Andre: And you all knew I’d have to say it: Use the strongest images and best photographs you can afford. Use video. Take advantage of the visual immediacy of the Internet to grab people’s interest.
Kevin: Then just make sure you have a great site that will keep them interested.
Layer Cake Creative is a strategic marketing agency specializing in communications, design, publicity and online marketing that enrich your brand and support your strategic and sales goals. This Denver marketing firm specializes in promoting professional services such as architecture, construction, engineering, law, finance, and real estate.