When is it time to redesign your corporate website?
To answer this question, you must first consider the reason you built the website in first place. Is it still communicating with your desired audience and getting your message across effectively? There are no doubt a lot of things that have changed since you created the site. So another key consideration is whether your website is up to date with current trends in web design.
Maintaining a website is as important as creating one. In fact, an unprofessionally managed website could, on balance, hurt your brand more than it helps.
With that in mind, here are some important questions to help you assess the status of your corporate website and whether it’s time for an update:
Is your corporate website professionally designed?
This is essential. The site needs to be up to date and maintained to professional standards. Whether from a technical perspective or a creative and UX perspective, the content you host on your website needs to be relevant and accurate.
Your corporate website also requires a clear navigational structure that delivers a smooth visitor experience and enables users to find the information they are looking for quickly.
I encounter many corporate websites that repeat the same information on multiple pages — for example, executive bios are often duplicated in the Investor Relations section and the About Us section. Duplicate content is not only a poor user experience, it is also one of the reasons that Google and other search engines penalize sites and thus hurts search engine performance.
The news section presents another major design problem that I frequently encounter. In many cases, press releases are mixed up with media mentions. In my view, the news section is as important as the services and products section. News provides an opportunity to inform key stakeholder audiences about your company.
Do you have consistent branding throughout the site?
Branding is everything. It represents your company’s identity and creates an opportunity for people to draw an instant connection between your products and services on the one hand and your logo, imagery, font and iconography on the other — across all platforms, from website, to social media to print presentations and brochures.
Whatever industry you are operating in, if your site lacks a distinct visual identity you are at a disadvantage when it comes to creating a connection with your desired audience. It’s important not to overlook the opportunity to build up an emotional link no matter what you’re marketing.
Branding and creativity are not just for B2C companies. Even if your company operates in a B2B context, your website is a powerful tool for building connections with your priority audiences.
If your company lacks brand guidelines, this is the place to start. Begin by designing your corporate logo, ensuring that it is sized properly and presented clearly. Separate your tagline from your logo and provide an appropriate color background. Avoid busy or patterned background colors and imagery that compete with or overwhelm the logo. Apply a unified color scheme throughout the site. Employ lots of white space. No one likes a website that is replete with text and busy imagery. Good design principles will help you retain site visitors in a world of shrinking attention spans and snap judgments that cause visitors to leave websites within seconds. It is often not what you are saying but rather how you are telling your story that matters. There are countless sites out there providing the same services. Branding and design will help you stand out strike the right emotional connections.
Is your site heavy on text but light on storytelling?
In your services section, it’s important to be clear and define what the services are that your company provides — and how you differ you the competition. Provide details and imagery and use iconography.
Embellish your services offering by including case studies and testimonials that help tell the story in a compelling narrative. On a blog, your company should be sharing your industry expertise in way that can help your site become a destination for people who seek information about your industry and your company.
CEOs often feel that they understand the importance of a blog channel, but lack the time to write. This is a genuine concern. However, a blog can be animated with guest contributors from inside and outside the company who can help share industry expertise. Useful and unique content helps websites thrive.
Is your website mobile friendly?
You have probably heard of mobile optimization, and you probably prefer to visit websites on your mobile device that render in a mobile-friendly way. This link from Google can help you see just how mobile friendly your website is: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
It’s important to check. According to Google, more than 60 percent of search queries come from mobile devices. This is a remarkably critical factor for mobile visitor experience. In fact, Google can punish your corporate website in search results if it is not mobile friendly.
The upshot is that you may need to fix those elements of your current website design that hurt the user experiences, such as annoying pop-ups, overly small fonts and oversized images that don’t translate well on the mobile screen.
Is your site connected to social media?
If you haven’t connected your social media channels to your corporate website, you are probably missing a huge opportunity to benefit from social media signals. At a minimum, it probably means that you are not enabling your website visitors to share your content with their social networks.
Connecting your corporate site to social media can improve your site’s rankings in search engine results. Social media content-sharing helps build backlinks to your site, and backlinks are a pretty important factor used by Google to rank sites in search.
Is your site search engine optimized?
There are two aspects of search engine optimization: technical factors and keyword strategy. Technical SEO is significant for Google, Bing and Yahoo, and involves enhancements that make it easier to crawl your site. Technical SEO issues prevent search engines from finding your website and displaying your site on appropriate search results pages.
To understand your technical SEO issues, you must run SEO diagnostics on your website. Here are some of the key technical SEO factors that affect site ranking:
- Have you submitted a site map?
Submitting a sitemap is the way to inform search engines about pages that are available for crawling.
- Have you implemented meta tags, meta title and meta descriptions?
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a web page’s contents. The text is located within the code on each page of a site. It is visible to search engines, not web visitors.
- How fast does your site load? Does it take forever to load the homepage?
Site speed is one of the signals used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. Here is the link from Google where you can conduct speed analysis for your page: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Are your URLs SEO friendly? Are your PDFs SEO-optimized?
Ideally, URLs should include keywords that are relevant to the page’s content and not use spaces, underscores or characters. Hyphens or dashes are OK. Google treats hyphens as separators between words in a URL.
- Are there URL canonicalization issues?
This issue relates to whether search engines can figure out which URL is the correct one to index. Your site may use somewhat different URLs for the same page — for example, http://www.example.com and http://example.com display the same website but do not resolve to the same URL.
- Do you have missing image alt text tags?
The alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page.
- Do you use h1 tags?
HTML tags are not visible to users, however they can help clarify the overall theme of your pages for search engines. The H1 tag represents the most important heading on your page, for example the title of the page or blog post.
When it comes to keyword analysis, you must first make sure that Google Analytics and Google Search Console are in place. That way, you can start tracking users journey through your website. Specifically, it’s important to know:
- How people are finding your website
- What keywords are driving traffic to your site
- Who you are competing with for referral traffic
Besides Google Analytics, you can use third-party tools to discover more about your users activity. Here are some interesting third-party tools to consider: SemRush, Moz and SEO SiteCheckup.
- Make a list of your core business keywords and see what is the positions on Search Engine Results page
- Find out that what are the keywords that your sites you are competing against
Are you benefiting from back links?
Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another website. Backlinks are important because Google considers backlinking as a significant factor when its algorithm ranks websites. As I mentioned earlier, social media is one of the best ways to drive more backlinks.
Once you start telling your story and sharing your expertise through social media, there are many bloggers who would be willing to reference your website and link back to the site. To drive more backlinks, consider engaging with bloggers. If you share their content on social media, they are probably going to be more likely to return the favor. In this way, both parties benefit.
Is your website up-to-date with current branding, design and SEO standards? Are you contemplating a redesign? Reach out and let’s have a conversation.