Your web designer came up with a great design reinforcing your brand. Your copy is on target and you are excited because your new website is going to attract new clients. You launch the website and sit back to reap the rewards of your hard work. You are at peace with your website.
FOUR WEEKS LATER…you want to make changes figuring that is okay because a website is always evolving. EIGHT WEEKS LATER…the peace is gone and you think you missed the mark. Or did you?
To redesign or not to redesign? To rewrite or not rewrite? And if you do redesign how do you avoid having to go through this again?
This is what I call the “Website Dance”. Businesses all around the world are dancing away as I write. Some leave the party never learning how to dance and hope they get more clients through their website. Others pour more money into a redesign.
There is a better way to be the belle of the website ball. Follow these five steps to save time and continue to attract clients with your website.
1. Accept Your Website Will Change – The first step is accepting your website will change over time. The key is building the website in a way that makes it easy to make changes without needing to start from scratch. As your business evolves, your copy will need to change. As you up level yourself, you will want to up level your website. As you introduce new products and services, you will want to create a sales page and different call to actions. Investing in those changes is important to your growth so build a website that lets you invest in growth and not starting over and over.
2. Use WordPress – You need to blog and update content on a regular basis; therefore, use WordPress. WordPress makes it easy to update your content, navigation and manage various elements of your site without technical skills. You save money by not needing to call your web designer every time you want to change a word on your website. Tap into your web provider for the nice call to action graphic or the new sales page that requires a sales oriented designer for best results. Changing the name of a link on your navigation can be done by you or your staff using WordPress.
3. Layout Flexibility – Websites are always evolving. That means focus on a clean, usable layout first. A layout that lets you move different elements around within minutes. If you want to move that Twitter stream down you should be able to go in and move it in minutes. If you want to add something to your sidebar you should be able to do that very quickly. You want to be able to change which blog post is featured on the home page within minutes. Flexibility is key!
4. Make Changing Colors Easy – Colors are very subjective; therefore, my first word of advice is ignore some advice. If your target market is women over 55 years old, ignore what your 22 year old kid thinks of the soft muted colors and large fonts. My second tip is to create a design and build your website in a manner that makes it easy to change colors without breaking the site or needing to recreate some complex graphic in Photoshop. You should be able to change all of the colors with simple styling (css) changes. If your site requires a redesign and heavy duty design work to change a few colors then your web developer did you no favors. Textured backgrounds are easy to change as well so don’t shy away from a nice background.
5. Plan Aesthetic Changes – The best way to implement design changes is in batches. The look and feel of your website requires you to take a holistic approach. Changing “that button” color may have a negative impact on the nice icon below the button. Therefore, don’t do piece meal design work if you are planning to start changing colors. Tell your designer how you want to be perceived and let them recommend a few color palettes. If you did #4 above, making these changes should be easy.
There you have it. To save time and money while continuing to attract clients with your site, accept that it will always be changing. Then build it in way that makes it easy to change without the expense and effort of a complete redesign.