Poor site design runs rampant
Your website is the window to your company. The internet is becoming the most accessed form of media, and websites have become the most essential marketing tool for businesses. It's no longer a question of whether or not you have a site -- it's all about having an effective one. One click from a customer is a valuable opportunity that can make all the difference. If created properly, a website should instinctively lead visitors where you want them to follow.
Despite the known value a good website can bring, take a moment and think about just how many poor websites you encounter every day. While not every business needs its site to be a high-budget, multimedia extravaganza, every business does need its site to be effective, and properly targeted to its audience.
Certainly no one sets out with the goal of producing an ineffective website. Why, then, are poor websites so prevalent? The answer is almost always that there was not enough time spent planning. (The harsher reality is that many do not even have a plan at all.) People rush into putting up a quick site because they think it will hold them over until they get around to the big launch.
This is a fallacy -- it is almost always far more difficult to rebrand an existing website than to start with a good one. In many industries there seems to be a huge gap between resources devoted to "old-world" marketing strategies and newer forms of media. Make no mistake about it -- great websites result from an ideal combination of marketing, branding, fresh content, and matching the right technology to the right design.
Time and time again my team is asked what it takes to successfully rebrand a website. All too often we're asked specific questions, such as "should my site be programmed in Flash?" or "are drop-down menus a good idea?" Sadly, questions like these do not get to the heart of the issues that need to be considered when rebranding your website.
The biggest -- and most common -- mistake we see is that people begin their redesign without clear goals for the initiative. Most sites are redesigned for purely cosmetic reasons, which overlook the more crucial content, navigational, and marketing challenges that lie underneath.
Here are nine tips that can help ensure that the site you design today will be an effective investment for years to come.