Is your website outdated and ineffective? Does it need an update?
A website that’s not updated in look or in content is a turn off-and potential customers will leave. But worse they may never find your site when searching for your exact service because an old site is not properly SEO’d (search engine optimized.)
Yes I know it was cheap to build, you used a program perhaps and put it together yourself or had a friend do it. I understand-as a small business owner or self-employed person, you need to save money. I’ve used many programs over the years when creating websites for my own small business purposes.
Now I’ve put in more than 18 months of study on the technical aspects of website design and setup. After leaving my job I got more serious about melding my extensive fine art and design training with the technical and always changing aspects of creating websites. I studied best practices, options such as Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. There are tons of options for the small business owner who needs a website update.
I’m an affordable website designer based in NYC, I’ll share some tips, that your competitors may already be aware of. And trust me, customers surf the web and are familiar with and used to various website styles and presentations. They come to your site with expectations in mind.
If your website was it created 5 or more years ago it may be in need of a redo in layout.
1. Is your content centered in a narrow strip or worse- off to the side of the screen leaving blank space on one edge? This style seems to have been popular because in the early years screen resolution often left some text cut off. This is a rare problem now. Too narrow wastes valuable space! Studies have shown people dislike having to scroll down a page (a) isn’t too bad, but it’s relative to the page’s length which is quite long, so lots of scrolling for viewer to do. If the page were short the above would be fine.
- Tip: The area “above the fold” the area they see upon arriving MUST contain the most important info, and be clear and eye-catching or you may lose them within seconds. A good web-designer will be able to check if this is working on various browsers for you. You do want a balance of text, graphics (images) and white space on page and that takes some training to judge.
3. Is there good degree of contrast between text and background, (ex. b.) This is actually a newer problem with the rise of minimalism many sites are using grey text on white. Often this presents a challenge for the reader. That is why black and white is standard-the highest degree of contrast makes for ease of use. This doesn’t negate using other colors or grey just be sure there is enough contrast, so folks aren’t squinting! Tip: this contrast is value not color for example light yellow on light green is not good contrast. It’s about dark and light difference.
4. Does your website have a “page footer” area? It should and it can contain — copyright, business address and contact info. A date of last update is helpful but not mandatory. The footer is important as it can also repeat keywords that your customers would be searching for. That one more repetition, of say “dry cleaners Bay Ridge” may be what puts you on page one rather than page two. Many people don’t bother to visit pg. two when doing searches!
5. Does the use of color and graphics support rather than distracts from the site? A few years ago and in the hands of inexperienced designers, this was very common. Websites that need to be updated often have little animated gifs-dancing icons, moving across/up/down the page. This can distract your viewer. Visitors are on your site for a purpose. Meet that customer need or answer their question and you may have a new or returning customer.
6. Does your site have music that auto plays? This again is rarer now. A big no no. I learned this the hard way as I initially thought adding music to my own site would set an “ambiance” for the viewer. Well several problems-
- location-the website visitor may be in a library, in bed with partner asleep or a work, all places that sudden music can be annoying. Worse if you make the icon to stop play hard to find-I’ve shut off sites for that reason alone.
- the music choice alone may be a turnoff before they get to your content
Best is to if you really want music, include noticeable control buttons and don’t have it on auto-play. If you think about it you have probably had that experience of bumping into music online and finding it obtrusive.
Hope these tips about updating a website are helpful. There are many more web design best practices that are really important to be aware of. Hopefully your current site is created so you can do updates easily such as adding content or current events. Contact me for website redesign. Check out my SEO search engine optimization (website marketing) page.