Nothing beats the thrill of a new website or blog. You have a beautiful banner and color scheme, the latest gadgets and pages or posts just waiting for you to fill them up with content.
In the fast-paced world of the internet, though, websites and blogs become quickly outdated. Last year’s trends may not be the ‘in’ thing anymore, and sometimes the current year’s trends aren’t either.
When you start to think about having your site redesigned, it’s not always easy to pinpoint exactly why you need that change. You could end up with a site or blog that’s worse than what you have now.
You need a plan. But to know where you need to be, you have to know where you are right now. And you need to know that you’re planning an overhaul for the right reasons. Here are four to start with.
What’s Your Brand Looking Like?
Your business should have a brand when you begin, a look and ‘feel’ that impacts potential customers in a good way. It develops a voice and conveys a message. You might start with a great brand image in mind, but sometimes time starts to push at a change.
You may have begun with the brand image you believed would impact corporations, with slick boardrooms and expensive suits. Then you realized that your business is more casual, or that you want to work with a different type of clientele.
Or, perhaps you realized that the image you created is attracting a different type of audience than the one you expected. How did you end up there?
Remember, you’re not branding for yourself. Your brand is designed for your visitors, your customers and your clients. They’re the ones landing on your site and contacting you.
Your site look should reflect more of the image they like.
Is Your Layout Outdated?
It’s easy to spot an outdated website or blog. Maybe it’s a narrow site built for old computer monitors and not the current wide screens used today. Colors and images affect that dated look, too.
Worse, maybe your layout looks like something right out of the 80s. You know the ones: yucky colors, a blocky look, navigation down the left side, mostly all text and a bunch of links. Woo.
Today’s sites and blogs are better organized, both in visible layout and behind the scenes. Designs are richer with more appealing colors that convey credibility and pictures are sharp and crisp. They use conventionscurrent with today’s trends.
When today’s conventions don’t appear on a site, it shows.
Where’s Your Technology?
What’s your site like to use? Do you still rely on a webmaster to change a word or add a new page? Is your site a money pit, sucking cash away each time you need a tiny tweak? Is it static and heavy or hard to change and update?
Welcome to the 21st century. WordPress isn’t just for blogs anymore.
Using WordPress as a ‘static’ site or a content management system provides site owners and users with a great deal of control. Webmasters are a dying breed, too, as focus shifts to place power in the hands of the site owners.
As it should be.
With a CMS, you can change your content at any time. Adding pages is a breeze, and you can toss in widgets and plugins for extra fun, too. Feeling like a new look? Changing your layout or look is often only a few mouse clicks away.
Plus, all that time saved is money saved, too. No webmaster, no money pit and no frustrations.
Are You Changing Direction?
Sometimes you need a redesign when you realize that the entire focus of the site has changed. Many people start a blog or an online business on a whim, or as an experiment to see if they could really make it with their idea.
Maybe you began with a personal blog that turned into a viable business. Maybe you began with a business, started blogging and that blog took off instead. Maybe you were just experimenting with building sites, someone noticed your skills and you find yourself with a potential service-based venture on your hands.
The bottom line is that your site doesn’t represent what you do any more.
Examine the audience you attracted and the people you want to attract. Try to think of what you need to change about your site to accomplish the goal of getting more interest and keeping it going.
Do you need a portfolio page? Do you need ebook downloads or video classes? Do you need a blog or want to get rid of the blog you have?
A redesign is all about redirection. It’s about thinking on the moment visitors land, what they see, and where you want them to go next. How will visitors use the site? Probably not the way you expect them to, so put some thought into the potential paths they might take.
Not an easy task. The days of slapping up a site are gone, if you want to reach your goals. But is thinking through what your site looks like now, how it’s used and where you want to be worth the effort?
Now it’s your turn: Can you think of more reasons a site might need an overhaul or a change? Toss out your thoughts and let’s see how many reasons we can come up with!