As a member of a marketing company in Miami (one of the most competitive cities in the country to business in) there are often times where I wish we did not have so much market saturation and competition to deal with. The difficult thing about the modern-age-marketing world that we live in today is the fact that the competition is fierce. Just when you think you are doing something better than everyone else, the competition starts to creep up behind you and you start to lose market share.
When it comes to advertising, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you own, marketing online is probably the best way to get your products or services out there for people to find. Being that most people will turn to the web to find what they are looking for, having a professional web site is crucial.
Today I’d like to go over 5 reasons why you should redesign your website if you haven’t done so recently. Having an old website is something that can be severely cumbersome to the growth of a company or companies which is why I wanted to write this post. The problem is that most people don’t really see value in spending so much money on getting a new and modern website. I’m hoping to educate those website owners looking for a web design company so that they can understand the value in having their website re-designed. I’d like to cover how to go about finding the best website design firms and how to stay away from choosing a less-than-acceptable web design companies to not waste your time and hard earned money.
A Fresh New Look & Feel!
Obviously the best part of redesigning your site is to have that “wow” effect when a visitor lands on your site so I’d like to touch on that. In a world where everything is done online, having that online “wow” factor is like having a store front with an amazing exterior design. Much like when you walk into an office’s reception area that has fabulous flooring and furniture that makes you feel like you’re truly working with a professional company that is well established. The same thing happens when your website visitors land on your landing page, they either are going to love it or feel like it looks just like any other site that your competitors have.
According to many online marketing experts, you only have a few seconds to captivate your visitors when they land on your page. Having that really impressive layout and design to give the customer exactly what they are looking for in a user friendly way is exactly what it takes to have a successful foundation for any online marketing strategy.
Mobile Compatibility is a Standard Now
First off, it’s important to note that mobile and tablet based internet users on growing fiercely. Over 40% of internet users are now using tablets and mobile devices to make purchases and to find the services they are looking for. If your website is not adapting to the several thousands of screen sizes, shapes and operating systems that all of these phones/tablets people are using… Then you are likely going to have visitors that come to your website then leave right away simply because your page won’t load properly on their phone. How counterproductive is that?! What you should be doing is targeting mobile shoppers and users via SEO/SEM which requires a mobile friendly website.
Above I’ve created a supporting video that demonstrates a website that adapts to the size of your screen in real time, so regardless of which type of screen, tablet or mobile phone you use, the website will adapt to the size of your screen and so will all of the elements in your website. Notice how the fonts change size and how certain elements begin to change and/or disappear to accommodate for the amount of space available as the screen size is being manipulated in the video above. With the mobile responsive website, you can easily read the font on the website without having to zoom in and you can use the menu options easily too.
Believe it or not mobile compatibility is actually something Google evaluates too so not having this feature can be costing you valuable exposure on Google’s search results. What’s more important to notice is that over time, Google is leaning more towards placing website that are optimized for a better user experience on the top of search results (so if you want to have a strong organic placement, you better have a modern site that provides Google’s search engine users with a great experience).
Optimized URL Structure to Increase Search Engine Presence
More often than not, I see websites that have a URL structure that is not optimized to adhere to the modern guidelines and recommendations that search engines like Google put in place for webmasters looking to show up on top for tough keywords. Having your directory path names and post/page URL extensions optimized with keywords is a great way to increase your search engine presence, especially if you are trying to rank for long tail keywords with low competition. It’s important to note that you will obviously need to do more than just optimize your URL’s to rank such as the SEO/SEM basics (i.e. Title tag optimization, content optimization etc…).
Above you can see a great example of what an optimized URL structure looks straight from Google’s support titled “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” and a breakdown chart of how to get a basic understanding of how your URL structure should be optimized for SEO .
User Friendly Management Systems
One of the most beneficial things that come with having a web design company redesign your website is that they are likely going to use a friendly website management system like WordPress or Magento depending on your type of business. In the past, theses management systems were not around and if you have a website that is very old, you might just not even have a management system. When you don’t have a management system that is universally known like WordPress or Magento, often times you will need to hire a webmaster or programmer to complete tasks that would take only a few minutes with a management system like WordPress. The thing about management systems is that they use extensions and plug in’s which allow you to automate things that otherwise would take you or a programmer hours to do. Creating a sitemap for your website or updating the content/media on your website can be done with the click of a few buttons, literally.
For those of you who are doing search engine marketing or SEO, there are plenty of great plug in that can be used to manage your web page’s SEO factors. One in particular called Yoast, is what I consider the best SEO plug in for WordPress websites. Yoast allows you to designate a “focus keyword” for each individual post or page and then will tell you what you need to optimize for the page to be well optimized for that keyword. A snap shot below illustrates this simple but very helpful feature.
Metrics integration with Google Analytics Made Easy
If you have a website that sells products or services, this is critical. Spending the time to configure analytics tracking to see how well your site performs through eCommerce revenue and spend data is invaluable.
9 out of 10 prospects who contact me looking for an internet marketing company don’t have the type of tracking needed to know whether or not their marketing budget is even providing a profit. Setting up tracking for shopping sites can cost you thousands, especially with an antiquated web site that is hard coded.
Did you know that if you wanted to track the revenue and profit made from your PPC campaign you would need to setup unique tracking codes for each and every product page you have? So if you’re like some shopping site owners that could mean you have to spend a lot of time setting up those tracking codes for your thousands of products. With a modern website, there are typically ways to automatically add tracking codes with plug in’s and pre-built programs that automate the process by taking your product data and converting it into a tracking code that tools like Google Analytics can interpret and translate into an ROI report or revenue report. This alone could save you enough money to fund the web site re-design all together if you have a shopping site with a lot of products.
Most website owners unfortunately do not even know that tracking revenue and ROI with Google analytics is possible. I encourage all business owners to learn how to create phone call tracking reports, revenue reports and contact form submission reports so that you can identify how well your marketing efforts are doing for you. Pulling a report like the one above that shows return on your advertising spend is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign or outsourced marketing company.
How to Find Professional Web Design Companies
Now that you have an idea of how re-designing your website can be advantageous it’s time to start finding the right web design firm or agency to do the job. Fortunately, there are tons of talented designers out there that are either working on a free-lance basis or for a bigger company. Regardless of if you’re going to look for a web design company in Miami, Fl or on the opposite side of the country in Silicone Valley CA there are good designers everywhere, you just need to know what to look for.
First, you want to make sure that the design company or designer knows about online marketing because the last thing you want is a website that is built to perform poorly on search engines. Often times web site owners will hire a web design team that does not build the website to perform well on search engines and then that website owner ends up having to spend a ton of money re-structuring the site so that it is acceptable for search marketing.
Second, make sure that you choose a company that has a well put together portfolio that show cases some of the designs they have done in the past. They should also be willing to share contact info from some of their former or current clients so that they can share their experience in working with that prospect company.
Last but not least, you should try and Google the company name. Google does a great job at showing review sites when you search a company name. Often times these review sites will reveal reviews from customers that had a pleasant or sometimes un-pleasant experience working with that prospect company.
Hopefully after reading this post you have some knowledge when it comes to websites and the importance of having a modern site. Like always, please feel free to comment if you have any questions and thanks for reading!
Sergio Aicardi is the proud owner of The Miami SEO Company and specializes in SEO, PPC and Web design. His core focus is in managing Ecommerce SEO and PPC campaigns by using his experience with Google Analytics, Excel and other great tools for improving marketing performance. His Miami internet marketing company is made of passionate marketing gurus who all enjoy sharing knowledgeable content through guest blogs like this one.