My website recently underwent a redesign, something that like many of my clients and business colleagues I had been putting off for the perfect time. The problem is that the perfect time never seemed to come along.
In going through the process, I discovered seven important lessons to ensure the quickest, easiest move toward a new website. These suggestions also would work for those without a website.
Here they are:
- Let the professionals do their job. My site looks far better because I didn’t get my hands involved in CSS, WordPress coding, picking plugins or anything else technical. I focused on the words and the look and feel. Doing a website yourself, although possible, is tantamount to printing your own business cards. Yes, you can do it, but is it really how you want to (a) spend your time and (b) show yourself off?
- Know who you are trying to reach. I knew how my clients look, which made it much easier for the designer to find photos for the site that matched those people. Many of my clients require help to figure out who their right people for them to focus on are. It’s an important decision, which can make or break a business. Don’t assume and don’t discount the value of professional help on this matter. And most of all, don’t buy into the argument that everyone will want your product or service. Not true, ever.
- Know what you are trying to say. I help my clients find the right words to convey to their potential clients and customers what they offer that is worth the money they are charging. Without the right words, the best website technology is wasted.
- Cut, cut, cut. Concise is always best, especially when you are competing with each word for people’s attention. Say it and move on to the next point. Long and flowery doesn’t work on your website any more than it worked in that term paper.
- Make sure it’s worth looking at. Breaks in the text, photos, graphics, links and sub-headlines make it both more engaging and less threatening for the user. People want to be visually engaged. Don’t let them down.
- Make the commitment to make the site live. Almost every client I have ever worked with has dragged his or her feet when it comes to completing the final review before making a website live. I never understood it until I did the same thing. It’s a fear of making a misstep. (I’ll have another blog on this next week.) Nothing is permanent on a website so it’s best to make it live and learn from any feedback you receive. Your clients and prospective clients will tell you what they think, either with feedback or with their action or inaction. Nothing else matters.
- Website redesign is a fact of life. No company can exist in the same form for very long, especially not these days. A website that was state-of-the-art two years ago looks dated now. One from 2005 shows its age and then some.
I had website redesign on my to-do list for about a year and my site is less than three years old. I just didn’t find the time for it.
I was pushed into it by someone who saw the potential, not the problems. I like the changes, the chance to redefine and in some cases reinvent myself. I appreciate the new look and feel, and felt energized to see it for the first time.
My website is my electronic business card. It reinforces the things I say to people and it invited new people to consider my services. It’s incredibly valuable to my business and to me. Can you say the same thing about your website? If not, let’s talk.