I was watching Law & Order: SVU last night when, with an air of technical know-how, character George Huang whipped out a PDA (personal digital assistant for you young folks – think prehistoric Siri). I immediately backdated the episode 10 years and started scrutinizing hairstyles.
There are some things that date you, and, unlike skinny jeans, they don’t ever come back around. None of us want our website to say, “I’m partying like it’s 1999.” What you want it to say is, “NASA called me last week for business.”
A modernized website is an irreplaceable asset. It projects your company as a professional, legitimate business and helps you establish credibility. While a poorly designed website can give the impression that you’re not interested or competent in attracting business, a well-designed site gives the impression that you are a professional, capable organization serious about serving your clients.
Here are three important guidelines to make sure your website is saying all the right things.
1. Appearances count.
You have one shot to make a good first impression. These features show that you’ve put time and attention into your site.
- Organize your information. No one likes a wall of text – and no one will read it. Break up information and use intuitive menus and links to help your visitors navigate quickly.
- Answer common questions before they are asked. If you get the same question repeatedly, provide the answer in an appropriate place on your site. Relevant and complete information makes you look like a professional.
- Put your social media icons on the front page. If you have active social media accounts, add them to your website to draw an image of responsiveness and energy (keyword being “active” – if your Twitter channel is deader than a dormouse, skip it; it will work against you).
- Incorporate a unique design. Unique aesthetics can reinforce any brand message. Going for a youthful vibe? Use big pictures and bright colors. Want to instill a sense of trust? Try a neat, sans serif font and a blue color scheme. And for the love of the Backstreet Boys, absolutely no clip art or animated icons!
If you feel like your website design is out-of-date, but you don’t know where to turn, professional design help is invaluable, and we can help you. Our expert web developers can refresh your existing website or work with you to build a unique website from the bottom up.
2. Function first.
A website may be pretty, but if it doesn’t give the user what they need, no one will use it. Modern online clients expect certain basic functions.
- Include search functionality. Have you ever been on a company’s website and left out of frustration because you were unable to find what you were looking for? Don’t let this happen to your web visitors. Adding search functionality makes it easy for visitors to quickly find exactly what they’re looking for.
- List your products and services. Let’s say you are a client. You need branded red and white raglan tees for an upcoming company softball game, and you’re looking online at a handful of companies in the area who sell branded tees. A few of the companies’ websites show that they sell the exact tee you’re looking for. Are you going to call the other companies to see if they also sell the tee? Not a chance. You’re going to save yourself the trouble and go with one of the companies you already know has it. Listing your products will keep potential clients’ attention and give you the chance to win their business.
- Accept online orders. Online shopping is a way of life now. Many people won’t do business any other way. Give your clients the freedom to do business when and where they want, and expand your potential sales to anyone on the Web.
3. Responsive is in.
It’s 2017, and hopefully everyone realizes that mobile is not a fad. With more than half of online searches coming from mobile devices, you need a mobile-friendly (also known as “responsive”) website.
If you don’t have a responsive website, it can be difficult for mobile visitors to view and navigate your site without zooming and panning. Responsive web design adapts your website to the screen size it is being viewed on to provide the best experience to all visitors.
A responsive website improves your Google ranking on mobile devices, and you could see a significant increase in the number of visitors to your site. And research shows that a mobile-friendly website is able to generate almost twice the average traffic per user, and website visitors are 51 percent more likely to do business if you have a mobile website.
If the idea of updating your website all on your own is keeping you from starting, you can stop worrying right now – there are plenty of SAGE experts willing to help. Our professional web developers can refresh, redesign, or maintain your website to the highest standards. Click here for details and examples of SAGE websites, and see how SAGE can give you the digital makeover you need!