Does your website look the same as it did in 2005? Are the leads just not coming in? Are you in danger of losing Google traffic on April 21st because your site is not responsive?
There is an awful lot to think about, but OverGo Studio's redesign specialist, Laura Hogan is here to save the day! Get ready for an inside look and some invaluable tips for making the most of your next redesign!
What is Not Working in Website Design in 2015?
FLASH! Kelly had a little bit of an emotional reaction here. Not only are they awful, but they don't work on iPhone or iPad.
Sliders were unanimously voted down. They don't work - and yes, I know I use them. I suspect the appeal for many business owners is that you can pack a lot of information into the home page when it rotates. But, you really end up watering down your message - so stop it.
What Works Better? Smart Content!!
Laura started talking about smart content. Wooooaaah, there! You mean, you can show one home page to one set of users (say, you're a landscaper and you have residential and commercial customers) and another to the others.
Simply speaking, it works when you have people come to your site and identify themselves as one type of buyer when they fill out a contact form or a form to receive an ebook or something similar.
You can also show one version of a page or a portion of a page depending on where people are coming from. Serve up something special just for Twitter visitors! It's amazingly flexible. We use HubSpot for this.
Website Redesign Question Number One: How Much Does it Cost?
Ahhh, yes, a question as old as time - or at least as old as the internet. And the answer remains the same: it depends. Yes, you can get a "free" site online that you can make yourself. But, as always, you get you pay for.
What About Content? Who Writes It?
Well, sometimes business owners want to write it themselves, and of course, they know their business the best!!! However, the best results often come from a collaboration. Your designer and their team know marketing and provide a valuable outside perspective. Laura liked my "coach" analogy.
Will I Lose SEO in the Process or the Redesign?
Nope. Not if it is done right. So often, there isn't much search engine juice to lose. That said, a good website designer will do a careful audit and make sure nothing is lost. Your keywords will also be reviewed to make sure your content will help you rank for the right words and phrases.
Laura likes to call it "Honey, I blew up my website." Big pages with end to end images, action, endless scrolling. On the other end, some sites are using a lot of white space.
Kelly asked about HTML5 - Laura likes a little movement. It's true - a little bit of movement can really help direct attention to what is important.
Websites Laura Loves
Laura collects website inspiration all the time. She breaks it down with notes of why she loves it. So when a design need comes up, she has great ideas ready.
Where Design Starts
Laura Gets Jargon-y, but reveals that good design really starts with where your Calls-to-Action (CTAs) will be. Those are images or buttons that direct a viewer to a landing page - a page with a form that will allow you to download premium content (ebooks, webinars, etc.). Since the point of most websites is to generate leads, it only makes sense to start with that outcome in mind.
Laura's Super Power
Laura turns websites into lead generating machines and demands a green cape.
Because I couldn't get the word "GooglePocalypse" out, we're calling the big April 21st crackdown on non-responsive sites Google 'Armageddon'. If your site isn't responsive (check it here), get it fixed NOW.
What to Expect During a Website Redesign
The first thing Laura will ask is why you want a redesign and what you have seen online that you like. She'll get your buyer personas or help create them. This is a detailed profile of your idea buyers. Some companies have just one - others have multiple personas. This is vital for your site's success!
Then the team will do page audits, SEO research, and competitor research, looking for what works and how to set you apart. Various other back-end stuff goes on without you having to do anything... :)
Laura designs the wireframe and functionality and sends them off to the designers and coders. There are a lot of client edits back and forth.
How to Make Your Redesign Faster
It is so difficult sometimes to communicate what you want. It's even harder for Laura to read minds. So, communication is so important - if you can send an example of a site you like, that helps. Another thing that can help is to try to trust the team who is working on your site. Find someone you trust.
Sometimes it comes down to a little stage fright - it can be a little scary giving up that old comfortable website, so endless rounds of changes can make the launch take much longer than necessary. If you're 90% happy with the site, launch it now and realize that adjustments will continue to be made. At least then your marketing is working better now as you continue to make small changes.
Laura never thinks a site is perfect - she tweaks and tests all the time!
Tips for Finding a Great Website Designer
Knowing the power of HubSpot, Laura suggests working with a HubSpot agency. Shop around and ask potential designers, "What is wrong with my site?" If they start off with design and don't quickly get to your business goals, messaging and lead generation, move on.
It is so hard to know who to trust. Ask what kind of content they would suggest. Get a feel for how interested they are in your business and the needs of your customers. If they're not - run away. You're putting a great deal of your business in the hands of someone you might not know very well, so be careful! Ask for live examples, too.
We hope you enjoyed the show!
About Laura HoganLaura is OverGo studio's go-to for website redesigns and edits. She's also the resident Landing Page Queen and mama to Piglet the pink-nosed pit.