The recent lockdown brought many issues to the fore, not least for businesses and how they operate. We are being advised that post-lockdown life and business will continue to look very different from the norm for some time. Does this mean it is time for a post-lockdown redesign?
Your website is your online window to the world. It is where customers find you and, in many cases, your main selling portal too. E-commerce is as strong now as it was pre-lockdown, if not stronger. But that alone may not be enough to carry your website into a new era of business.
The fact is your competitors are probably asking the same question but have already started to update or redesign their website so that it is fit for purpose. Your consumers have been hard hit financially and emotionally by the virus which makes them a different prospect post-lockdown. And that means their expectations have changed.
How has your business changed?
Understanding how your business has changed in recent weeks could be the key as to whether updated website design is on the cards or not.
- What have been your business strengths during the last few weeks?
It’s true to say that all business owners have learnt a lot about their business in recent weeks. As well as spotting weaknesses, we have also seen the strengths of our business. What we know need to do is capitalise on these strengths to move the business forward at a time when challenges lay all around.
This may prompt a change in direction for your business that means a new website to represent where the business is now heading.
- Are you changing products or services to meet a new demand?
A change in direction will also mean different or updated products and services. How people will live their lives in the coming weeks, months and beyond will change – and beyond recognition in some cases.
This may impact on WHAT you offer.
- Is how people access or use your products or services changing?
From flexible working and working from home to offering services online, HOW you offer your products and services may be changing.
Social distancing along with people’s reticence to plunge back into mainstream ‘physical’ events mean that many channels for selling and promotion are obsolete. And that means how your customers access what you offer will need to change.
The above three questions are just three ways in which your business may have changed in the last few weeks. Aside from the worry and concern of a global pandemic knocking at the door, business owners have had to stay clear-headed, with their business heads firmly on their shoulders. Adapting to the current climate is simply essential.
The challenges of a website redesign
There are, of course, issues with a website design that may initially be off-putting. For many companies, large and small, investing in web design at a time when cash flow and revenue are under severe pressure may not make financial sense.
Or does it?
Customer expectations are changing. More than ever, they will do online research and will need to be reminded of just how trustworthy a business you are. They need to be confident you have their best interests at the forefront of everything that you do and offer. They need to see this confidence.
Updating or redesigning your website is a strong visual clue that you are a business or organisation to be trusted. It also shows you are forward-thinking, adapting and growing at a time when others are falling by the wayside.
Could you simply update your current website?
An e-commerce website is never really finished. It is a living entity, with content updated and graphics changed as and when needed. Surely, you may think, just because a few products and services have changed, that pages should just be simply updated.
There are a few issues that can result from updating a website:
- Poor flow between pages – more products and services may mean more pages. Whilst this alone isn’t a bad thing (providing you follow the page template for cohesion), it can affect flow between pages. Are all your pages directing customers to the place they really need to be?
- Cluttered design – at some point, the design of your website becomes too heavy and cluttered, especially with pages and content added. Unless it follows a pattern, it can begin to jar against itself.
- Overload of pages – if there are pages and pages of items and content, it can look a complicated website. Simplicity is often key to a successful site.
- Obvious updates that stand out for all the wrong reasons – sometimes, the additions are not subtle. The result is a clumsy look and feel to the site.
- SEO considerations – whilst webmasters are not saying that underperforming pages should be removed, if search engines ‘feel’ that there is a glut of underutilised pages on a site, you could be earning marks against you in terms of SEO.
- Page loading speeds – a bigger website means more content and data to load when customers land on it. Impatient beings, anything more than three to five seconds loading time means customers navigate away. Are updates and any additional pages optimised? If not, they’ll be slowly your site down.
Updating a website may look like the way forward but unless it is planned and executed well, it could work against the business.
Now is the time to look forward
Post-lockdown life in the coming weeks and months will bring many challenges. But they’ll also bring opportunities. And like many businesses, you’ll be keen to carve out a new or different path.
There is only a certain length of time that you can update your current website without it looking and feeling clunky.
We are entering a new dawn in terms of business, what we offer and how. Doesn’t your business, which has just survived the worst disaster in peacetime, deserve a new website?