Out with the old, in with the new

Clever Business WebsitesIt’s a brand new year and here at Clever Business Websites we can’t wait to get stuck into 2013. Not that the old year wasn’t a good one, despite all the rain (!), but there’s always a scent of promise in the air when the calendar flips into 1st January. Something that gives you a bit of a spring to your step for all that’s to come.

We’re not talking about trying to stick to those half-hearted resolutions which inevitably end up being broken sometime in February. Instead we think there’s every reason why ringing in the New Year offers you a great opportunity to look afresh at your business website and to think of ways of engaging more effectively with your customers.

Creating an impact

There’s one very straightforward way of making a positive impact on your business. Look at your website – could it do with a facelift, a refresh of the design? Are you reaching your target customers with the current layout and content? We may come over all techie by saying that refreshing your web design is as important to us as following the latest fashion or gadget trends is to others. But we’re not just saying this for show...

Make the change but stick to your core values

We all know the Shell brand, a very familiar sight at petrol stations across the country. But were you aware that little by little over the past few decades, Shell has cleverly kept the core ‘shell’ logo that we all recognise, and evolved this from a realistic engraved mark to an elegant shape with minimal moving parts? This is a great example of a brand being able to stick to its core values whilst at the same time making the necessary changes to move with the times. It’s important that as a business evolves, so is keeping a logo updated to match the company’s target market.

Why you should engage with your customers

Great website design needs to be kept fresh and of interest to your website visitors. You want to make sure that your regular visitors are seeing something eye-catching each time they land on your site, and of relevance to them. There are lots of ways of making people want to find out more and not just to click off straight away. Here are 4 clever reasons why:

  • Make it interesting – As customers become familiar with your site they will start to trust your company and your brand – making it more likely they recommend you to others. Fresh material added regularly to your site keeps visitors coming back to see what's new. Get creative and regularly feature new graphics, images, videos & content to build the traffic of new visitors.
  • Make it new – New features and services are a great way of updating your design. You can add items such as blogs, news feed, video feed, email newsletters & special offers to attract new website traffic and generate new interest.
  • Make it Google-friendly – Google gives higher page rankings to websites that are updated regularly because this presents the best quality content to their search-engine customers.
  • Make it easy to maintain - When your website is well maintained, links to external sites will continue to work, images and videos will all load correctly and email signups will function. Get this right and this means your customers can find what they’re looking for more quickly, are more likely to make repeat visits and therefore to recommend you.

What’s new for 2013?

So there were some short and snappy reasons for why it’s important to keep your website brand fresh in 2013. As a web design company, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to improve the entire look of our customers’ websites and recognise how much the visual impact of a site has on your site visitors. Look back 3 or 4 years and if you had a website then, you’ll be amazed how much things have changed in web design between what you had then and what’s recommended now. The focus used to be more on media capabilities but going into 2013 we’re seeing the trend for usability and style coming to the fore.

Here are some hot tips for 2013 web design trends:

  • Responsive web design – with more of us increasingly going online via mobiles and tablets, RWD means designing a website that responds to different devices and screen sizes.
  • Oversize everything – big image, big impact! Maximise the width of the screen and stretch your home page image across the whole page or make sure your visitors can click through to other parts of your site by bumping up the size of your homepage buttons.
  • Simple, but not simpler – we’ve said it before but we always love repeating it – stylish, simple layouts and interfaces work the best and get across your message most effectively. As the smaller number of page elements no longer distract, you can then really focus on content.
  • Videos on landing pages – you have such a short time to capture a visitor’s attention and a short video on the landing page is a great way of getting your message across.

Make the right New Year’s resolution

So however tempting it might be to make a long list of resolutions you are only half-hearted about, we say make just the one right resolution this January: to focus more clearly on your business website, to generate a real buzz around the design and content so that your customers are happy customers.