When and how to re-structure your website
There’s probably no need to explain to you just how important having a hard-working website is to a business and this is equally true for companies that sell online and those that don’t. In the case of the former, the figures show that e-commerce now generates around 11% of all retail sales, and globally the value of these amounted to a staggering $2.3 trillion in 2017.
Therefore, it’s easy to see just how very important the online channel has grown to be in a relatively short space of time. What’s more, as the graph below demonstrates, it’s a trend that’s set to rise and rise in the years to come, reaching $4.5 trillion by 2020.
Even if there’s no direct selling from a business website it’s still one of the key touch points everyone from clients to potential employees will have with your company, so it’s vital that it can do the job demanded of it. This means you’re going to need a site that will give visitors exactly what they want in terms of information and which effectively reflects your brand while being easy and intuitive to navigate.
It’s also got to look good too. A few years ago Google did some research and found that it can take as little as 17 milliseconds for someone to decide whether they like the look of a website – and if they don’t there’s a good chance that they will leave it straight away as well, taking an unfavourable impression of the company with them as they go.
Of course, reworking a website can be a major undertaking and not one to be rushed into. So before changes start to be made it’s also well worth running through a quick checklist to see if it’s really necessary. So ask yourself these 10 questions.
- Are we ever complimented on how good our website is?
- Do we look good against our competitors?
- Has traffic to our website increased over time?
- Is our website quick to load across all devices?
- Is our website optimised for mobile browsing?
- Are we ranking well in Google searches?
- Do visitors respond by submitting forms or placing orders?
- Is our website easy to navigate?
- Do visitors stay on our website and click around or leave after a short time?
- Are we happy to show our website to potential clients?
If you find yourself answering “no” to five or more of these questions then it could well be time to think about re-working or restructuring your website. This, hopefully, will make it more welcoming and easier to use leading to even greater business success. As to how you should do it, there are countless options to explore but here we’re going to run through five of the most critical.
Improve the navigation
The navigation of your site is perhaps the most critical element of creating a good user experience. After all, if visitors can’t find what they’re looking for frustration soon follows. So examining ways of both restructuring the site and making the content easier to locate is an important first step. Of course, the bigger the site the more complex this can be. But it’s by no means impossible. Even a huge organisation like Unilever has been praised in a major Index of Online Excellence for just how easy that have made it for site visitors to get to the right page.
Brevity is key
There’s no doubt about it, attention spans are getting shorter as we all have more and more information to absorb over increasingly limited periods of time. Hence the rise and rise of video marketing and the prediction that by 2019 it will represent as much as 80% of online content.
So it looks like the writing may be on the wall for written content and it could be time to dramatically reduce the word count on your site. Again, this is very attainable as sites like Microsoft’s have shown. Their “About Us” page is an exercise in brevity, explaining all you need to know about one of the world’s biggest businesses in just a couple of hundred words.
Don’t replace when you can just polish
There can be a temptation to give a site a complete overhaul but before taking this potentially huge step it’s worthwhile asking yourself if it’s really necessary. It could be that a refresh is all that’s really needed to give site visitors the message that it’s changed and become far easier to use. Here, you can find an example of a company that offers an outstanding online casino user experience, they have managed to maintain their colour scheme and modern feel while ensuring the site is easy to navigate through the menu that is displayed on the left hand side of the page. This has also given them the added advantage of really standing out from competitors’ more traditional approaches.
Make sure your content’s first class
We’ve all heard the expression that content is king and it’s never been as important as it is today. Taken with the second point above about brevity, the key thing to consider is also relevance. By restructuring your site to have plenty of killer and no filler at all you’ll be immediately making it more appealing to visitors. It’s something that big businesses like Shell and Siemens have been practicing for quite a while now and you can make it even more effective by constantly adding relevant blogs, news stories and all the other sorts of information that people want to read.
Be guided by the analytics
Our final tip to restructuring your website is to rely on the figures, not just your hunch. Dig deep into the analytics of which pages are getting the most visits and you could well be surprised. Then, when you have sorted out the wheat from the chaff it’s time to restructure your site to bring those highly-visited pages right up front, possibly even replacing less popular pages with them.
So follow all these tips and you should certainly find yourself with a website that’s more fit for purpose than ever before. And with that, even greater business success should follow!