Keep Your Website Fresh and Effective

By Carly Crow
March 6, 2012

Website

This year you need to put freshening up your website at the top of your To Do List, just having a website isn’t enough. Yes, it’s a must for your business, but nothing is more disruptive to a visitor than a drastically outdated site with confusing navigation, annoying pop-ups, broken links or boring copy. People are checking you out first online and if you are neglecting your website, it may be reflecting poorly on your business.

2012 is heralding a new wave of innovative web technologies and design, and a page that stays in step with these trends is bound to pique interest and lower your bounce rate. Even more, a well-done and on-trend website remains effective well after the year is over reeling users in with thoughtful design and building a design-conscious and taste-making reputation. Keep these tips in mind when you clean up your company’s website, and stay ahead of the curve for the new year.

Don’t be afraid to be bold

Mail Chimp. Instragram. Pinterest. All of these websites are joined together by a commitment to bold designs and layout. Whether an exaggerated footer, a dramatic color palette or a dominant focal point, they all demand attention and attention to detail. Opting for a bold design element is a great way to modernize a website and keep it on trend in the coming years. However you choose to go about it, a bold design dusts off the cobwebs on your old page and makes it fresh.

Keep it simple

The traditional layouts for websites often call for separate pages that encapsulate the “About us,” “Contact us” and other informational areas of the website. 2011 saw minimalist designs from multiple websites, and that often translated to cutting these pages in favor of a sleeker overall design (think Tumblr). As we move forward in 2012, further exploration into minimalist websites is likely. However, that doesn’t mean to forgo trimming entirely. Keeping the best parts of your website and discarding the rest will result in a sleeker, more intuitive design — and sleek never goes out of style.

Don’t Wait – Integrate

Linking to and promoting your social media presence on your own website is an absolute necessity, but it needs to be done with care. Integrating social media, whether in graphic links or a social ticker, should be done with the user’s perspective in mind. When social media is done intelligently and with consideration, your website will instantly look socially connected and organized. Furthermore, it is likely to improve your SEO as search engines love dynamic content in your website. And, with the focus on interactivity, anytime you can provide visitors a chance to watch videos, see reviews from other customers or interact with your brand in any way that is a plus.

Keep your Content Fresh

If your business, services or products change regularly, you need to be able to administer changes to your website on the fly. In some instances this can be done through your social media channels or blog posts that are housed on your website, but for more in-depth needs you may want to consider a Content Management System (CMS).

A CMS is a software system that provides website administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web to create and manage website content with relative ease. Within a password protected area, you can change copy, ad pages, update calendars etc. using an easy back door editor. This is a handy tool. It keeps your website fresher longer because you can consistently make changes yourself and, in the long run, it can cost you less.

So, how do you know if a CMS is an appropriate consideration for you website? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have someone with the time and knowledge to make changes to your website on a consistent basis?
  • Do you have a lot of content to add or changes that need to be made?
  • Do you have a lot of content types that need to be added or changed? Ex. Photos, copy, pages, events, video etc.

Developing a site with a CMS can be a little more costly so, if you are not going to use it consistently, it may not be worth having. In some instances a CMS can limit design, so just make sure you ask the right questions in the beginning.

To have your website be fresh and effective you need to be consistent. Start with a theme and an approach and go with it. If you are bold – own it. If you choose a CMS – update often. The key to your success is to give users a reason to visit your website – and come back. They won’t come back if they don’t have a motivator to get them back. Give them one.