Have you become disappointed with your website, or are you merely bored? Have you been visiting the websites of your colleagues and contemporaries and thinking about how you may want to do a website makeover? Think carefully about your goals before making a decision.
What would I like the site to do for my business?
Ultimately, a website gives information about your products and services and communicates how doing business with you can benefit those who would become your customers. Your job is to develop a website that gives prospects the confidence to explore more seriously the idea of working with you. Whatever is on your site—text, audio, or visual—must support that action.
Older websites are likely to be static, rather than interactive. That means in order to update the site with new information, it’s necessary to pay a web developer to make changes in text, photos, videos and lay-out. As a result, static websites often do not reflect much of what is happening now.
Some Freelancers depend upon their websites to pre-qualify prospects through the use of an online contact form. Rather than posting your email and telephone number on the “contact us” page, there is instead a form for interested parties to complete, so that they will receive a call-back. Serious shoppers only, please!
Content marketing will be featured on the website. Freelancers who produce a weekly blog or monthly newsletter typically include the link on their website. Your social media platforms will likewise be accessible through your website, as will videos, webinars and podcasts that feature you in a starring or supporting role. Case studies to help prospective clients envision how your insights and expertise might help their organization resolve challenges and achieve goals may be posted to the site as well.
How is my site under-performing?
Much depends upon the information you’d like your website to provide to interested parties. Your site can be a one-page affair that is basically an online business card. You may list three or four services, a photo, a 3-minute video clip of you in action (or not) and contact info and that may be quite enough to convince prospects that you are a capable professional worthy of consideration. But maybe you would like to have a much more active and engaging site?
Up-to-date products and services list
If you’ve substantively altered—simplified, upgraded, expanded, or eliminated— the services and products that you provide, let your website reflect what is current. As well, old content and photos might be replaced and updated with an accurate depiction of how you bring value to clients today.
Can I accurately measure how prospects respond to my site?
This step can be the key to your website design. If you are serious about updating your site, contact an analytics service and sign up to obtain data that will guide the development of your website. There are a number of modestly priced website analytics services available and Google has a level that offers free analytics. Collect three or four months of data before you act.
To begin with, you’ll learn how many visitors the site receives each month and the pages that are most often visited. Now you’ll know what visitors want to know. You’ll also learn which pages are least often visited and if there are pages that are quickly abandoned for other pages, or seem to cause visitors to exit your site. If you decide to update your website, ask your developer to build-in analytics or integration features, so that data will be yours at no extra charge, post-upgrade.
Is the site mobile-friendly?
I write or edit three newsletters and the analytics for each consistently shows that about 50% of readers use mobile devices (smart phone or tablet) to read them. The other half use either desk models or laptops. Don’t frustrate your visitors, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile. Both interactive and static websites can be mobile optimized.
How’s the technology?
Recently, I met a truly brilliant MIT educated web developer named Al. He showed me the site of a nationally known not-for-profit organization that on its website has an inoperable “donate now” button on the landing page. It is imperative that all links and buttons on your website perform as intended on all types of devices. Audio features must produce sound; videos must play; documents must download; ecommerce transactions must be secure.
Trot out your brand story. Connect with site visitors and concisely tell them what motivated you to start your business, how you developed your expertise, your vision and the company mission. Share your guiding principles as the founder and business leader and discuss how that is reflected in your business practices. Finally, let it be known that you love what you do and value the opportunity to work with clients. Recommended length of the text might be 200 words.
Thanks for reading,