6 Signs That You Need a Website Redesign
Originally published: 09.01.12 by Kelly Meeneghan
Ignoring needed upgrades can harm your reputation.
With websites, businesses can attract a vast amount of potential customers while having full control over what information they are receiving. However, many business owners often sabotage their online reputation without realizing it by making decisions that harm or certainly don’t help their websites. Analytics can help to verify what improvements need to be made, but not all HVACR businesses have such statistical tools.
If this is the case, you can still evaluate your website. A successful website can grab customers’ attention, provide relevant information, and ultimately increase profits. Is your website doing all of this? If not, check for these six signs that you need a website redesign.
1. Too much time- and bandwidth-demanding content: When consumers encounter a business website that is lacking availability, such as restricted pages or unexpected downtime, their negative experience is reflected directly onto that business. Poor uptime significantly damages a business’ reputation as a company’s website is often the first impression for potential customers.
1&1 Internet Inc. recently conducted research proving that 53% of U.S. consumers become frustrated and stressed when they are forced to deal with unreliable websites. Additionally, a surprising 58% are unwilling to use that business in the future. Your business can prevent such disappointment by re-evaluating website design to ensure strong functionality.
Slow speed is a characteristic that people often consider to be a factor in their decision of working with a business. Avoid slow loading times by restricting the amount of demanding content on the site, such as too many Flash videos. Limit your site to one Flash video on a project or testimonial, for example. If you have additional videos that you wish to showcase, provide a link to a professional YouTube page.
Another way to maintain a reliable site is to schedule all upgrades and maintenance at traditional downtimes. If traffic volume to your website is low during the evenings or weekends, plan to do maintenance during these periods to provide minimal disturbances to website visitors. Site analytics will illustrate these statistics.
There is also the option of backing up your website with redundant hosting. Some web hosting companies will have multiple levels of redundancy to ensure maximum uptime. Redundancy technology such as dual hosting houses your website on two separate and synchronized servers. These the servers are located in two separate data centers in two different geographical regions. If the first location is suddenly interrupted, the site will automatically continue running smoothly on the second location without losing any data.
2. Ineffective navigation: When potential customers visit your site, they want to find answers to their inquiries as fast as possible. Information such as essential facts and news about your business, professional skills, and services should be easily accessible. Visitors will lose interest and abandon the inquiry if it requires too much time or numerous steps to locate the information. The most sought-after information by your visitors will be your contact information. Therefore, this should be static on the navigation bar so it is available on every page.
When a site visitor or search engine has to tediously search your website to find an answer, your search engine ranking, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value, will lower. A prominent ranking on search engine-result pages increases your visibility to potential customers who otherwise may not know you exist.
3. Distracting fonts: Too often business owners are misled to believe that using many different fonts will generate interest from visitors. The opposite is true. The focus should remain on you and your business by keeping fonts simple and consistent throughout the site. Larger text should be used for headings that organize ideas and content.
Additionally, bold, underline and italics are great for grabbing the attention of visitors when there needs to be an emphasis on certain words or topics. Be careful not to overuse these features as this, too, can become distracting.
Some do-it-yourself website design packages come with industry-specific layouts to help set a foundation for your website. Because many HVACR business owners are unsure of what to include, the pre-determined text, layouts and content specific to the industry provide a solid starting point for getting online.
4. Unattractive colors: Visually unappealing colors can create distress, ultimately providing a difficult and negative reading experience for potential customers. It is important to maintain color consistency on each page of your website, including backgrounds and text. When designing your site, contrast simple, basic colors for easy comprehension throughout the site. For example, use white text against a black background to make the text more prominent and appealing to the eye.
Reading on a computer screen is more difficult than reading on paper, so keep your visitors in mind. They are looking for information as quickly as they can attain it. Help them by sparingly using different colors to highlight important information while avoiding busy designs. Remember the fonts you select, along with the colors, need to work well together for optimal comprehension.
5. Lack of images or irrelevant images: Images are a great method to provide perspective customers with examples of your work so they can gain a better understanding of your offering. Consider adding photo galleries of past projects to illustrate your capabilities to your customers. By omitting such relevant or attractive images, you will miss the opportunity to draw customers and gain their interest.
Images are a real-life representation of your company and should be leveraged as a tool to represent professionalism and skills. Photos of employees allow customers to see who will be visiting their home before they arrive so they can feel safe and comfortable. This is a great method to build trusting relationships with customers.
6. Outdated information: Too often, businesses neglect their website once they are online. Outdated contact information, promotions, and services will lead the website visitor to think that your business may no longer be in existence. To prevent this perception, regularly manage and update online content.
Announce your business’ new services and promotions by highlighting them in a way that is easy to locate and understand. Industry news and trend updates can help regularly create new content for the site, especially if you comment and relate it into your business’ offerings. You will increase the site’s regular visitors when you publish new content to your website.
Web presence is an essential way to advocate for your business — attracting, informing, and attaining a large amount of customers. However, without maintaining an effective professional website, businesses may be unintentionally damaging their online efforts. If you are subject to any of the mentioned mistakes, consider a website redesign in order to best represent your business online. The mission of your website should be to attract visitors, not distract them.
Top 5 Consumer Reactions to Bad Websites
- Abandon the inquiry or order and find another business (72%)
- Doubt that an online transaction/inquiry will be processed (58%)
- Decide they are less likely to use that company in the future (58%)
- Question credibility and trustworthiness of the company (47%)
- Feel negative emotions towards such as stress or anger (42%)
Source: 1&1 Internet Inc.
As a manager for 1&1 Internet, Inc., Kelly Meeneghan is an industry specialist providing expert advice on how SMBs can grow their business online through websites and online marketing methods. 1&1, a global leader among Web hosts, provides companies with the tools necessary to get online and be successful. To reach Kelly, email email@example.com. For more information visit www.1and1.com.
Articles by Kelly Meeneghan
6 Signs That You Need a Website Redesign
Many business owners often sabotage their online reputation without realizing it by making decisions that harm or certainly don’t help their websites. Analytics can help to verify what improvements need to be made, but not all HVACR businesses have such statistical tools.