New Year, New Website?

As 2016 heads for the finish line, it is time to evaluate what your company needs from your website in 2017.

While you may say "I've heard this all before" having the right website for your business is essential for your continued success and development, and with ever changing technologies it is fairly easy to be left behind. Here are some suggestions to help you evaluate if your website needs updated...

What are the business aims for 2017?

Once you know the answer to this, you can decide if your current website can match up to what you need, perhaps your thinking about taking the leap of selling your products online or adding more to the stock you currently sell. Does your current website allow for a flexible e-commerce environment with easy to update products? If the answer is no, it is probable that your content management system is out of date, technology moves fast and not all content management systems can keep up. Looking at increasing or changing who you are marketing your services to?

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960)

Consider your website from the perspective of the people you want to sell to, not from your own. For example as a 32 year old web professional - I certainly don't want to market damselfly digital to people like me...they can make their own websites, create their own content and images, they don't need our services. I want to market to business owners from a range of sectors and from no specific age range, and the way I hope to achieve this is to be as jargon free as possible - I'm not out to bamboozle anybody with techie speak that only someone like me would understand. Certainly other businesses will have a more precise client range than us, perhaps try creating some imaginary clients - who are they? what do they want from your website? can they get it easily?

How old is your current website?

If your current website predates responsive design as a standard service, it may mean that it is not compatible with mobiles and tablets. The look and feel of your website on desktop could be exactly right - but if it doesn't work well on mobiles and tablets you could be seriously losing out to your competitors who have more user friendly websites.

The age of your website can also reflect on how up to date it's design is - unlike the old adage "don't judge a book by it's cover" in the digital world first impressions count and your website should mirror your business image in a professional and contemporary manner. If your website looks old people will expect a bad user experience from the outset, this might prevent them from staying on your website and again push them towards your competitors.

Draw up a comparison list and look at your competitors websites - what are they doing? How can you do it better?

Worried about Cost?

A new website often presents the issue of having a large outlay and no set point or proof of return - so is it worth it? Having the right website design does have a high return on the money you put into if it is done right. Imagine you are a restaurant owner in a busy town center, there are a group of tourists in the pub across the road from you who have decided to go for a meal, they google "places to eat in *insert local area*", this is the kind of return you can't see but if you were top of that list and your website showed tantalizing pictures of your food, up to date menu's and links to your reviews etc - they are going to come to you.

Now lets say if you have a group of 4 tourists who google "Places to eat in *insert local area*" 300 days of the year and who spend an average of £20 per person per meal so around £80 for the whole group and of those 300 days 200 groups of 4 pick your website... that's £16,000. I'm not a restaurant owner so I won't calculate an approximate profit from this figure and my imaginings are a little vague but I would suggest there might be enough profit in this to pay for your new website.

It doesn't have to be all singing and dancing - while many companies out for profit will tell you about all these amazing whistles and bells you need to have so your website rocks the world this isn't usually the case. If you start with a flexible system that can be easily extended and built upon you can add the whistles and bells as your business grows.