February 13th, 2017

I Hate My Website Design. Now What?

by Christine Hennessey

There are a lot of reasons you might hate your website design. Maybe it was designed in 1999, and those flashing lights and neon colors just aren’t cutting it anymore. Maybe you kept adding pages as your business grew, and now it takes thirty minutes just to find your contact information. Maybe you hired a designer who didn’t share your vision and delivered a site that wasn’t at all what you wanted. Maybe you just changed your mind. Hey, it happens.

No matter what path brought you to this place, one thing is clear. You hate your website, and you feel like you’re stuck with it. If this sounds painfully familiar, I have good news—change is possible. There’s no reason you need to suffer from an ugly, disorganized, or clunky website that harms your reputation and drags down your business.

At Sage Island, we spend a lot of time helping our clients fall in love with their virtual homes. When an existing website needs a serious overhaul, we begin by focusing on two key areas—design and content. Below are some of the strategies we use to save such sites.

DESIGN

You may not think of yourself as a shallow person, but let’s face it—we’ve all judged a book by its cover. Websites are no different. Visual by nature, users will form an opinion the second the page loads, so you need to make sure your first impression is a good one. When we design a website, we ensure the following items are checked off our list before moving forward.

  • Navigation. As soon as a user lands on your page, they should immediately know what to do and where to go to get what they want. This funnel will change depending on your goals, so it’s important to know those, too. Do you want them to buy a product? Sign up for a newsletter? Attend a class? Make an appointment? Call your office? Use a straight-forward menu and a clear call-to-action to get them there.
  • Usability. A website isn’t a one-and-done project. In order for it to remain an effective business tool, it needs to be updated regularly to keep up with changing technology and your growing business. This is why it’s incredibly important to use a content management system that’s easy to update. At Sage Island, our CMS of choice is WordPress, and we offering our clients training so they can learn how to use it effectively.
  • Imagery. Make sure all images align with your content and serves as a visual aid. Avoid cheesy stock photos that users have seen a thousand times. Sad desk salads and people in business suits jumping for joy are overplayed and make your site look trite and forgettable. Make the time to take original photos or check out one of the many free stock photo websites out there for something a little different that will stick in people’s minds.
  • Responsive. A good design is a flexible design. Your site might look awesome on a desktop, but if it isn’t optimized for mobile and other devices, the vast majority of your visitors won’t be able to appreciate it. Make sure your website is responsive and optimized for mobile in order to best serve the most people. This is also an easy way to improve SEO!

CONTENT   

In order to be truly effective, a solid website design isn’t good enough. It also needs great content. The alternative is writing that doesn’t convert into sales or leads, doesn’t help your website show up when your industry is Googled, and doesn’t clearly tell visitors who you are, what you do, or how you can improve their lives. At Sage Island, our content marketing experts know how to craft copy that informs and entertains. Here are a few of our trade secrets.

  • Voice. Your content should be written in a way that conveys your business’s brand and flows naturally. You don’t want it to sound like a keyword-stuffing SEO-bot wrote it. People respond better to people (and so do search engines).
  • Expertise. Each page of your website should be crafted to answer the most common questions you’re asked. Most people come to your website wanting something, whether it’s information, entertainment, a product, or a service. Make sure your content addresses these concerns in a way that fosters trust and goodwill.
  • Blog Add a blog or news section to your website that you can update regularly. Fresh content is great for SEO and raising your ranking. More importantly, it shows visitors that your site is updated, relevant, and alive. Your business or brand will appear more engaged, and visitors will immediately take you more seriously.

I hope these tips help you see the light at the end of tunnel and understand that a bad website isn’t the end of the world. With a few tweaks and some revised content, you can and will fall in love again. If you need help tackling any of this advice, contact Sage Island. Our team will be happy to make your site lovable once more.