It’s March already but you’re still hanging onto that new year motivation. You look to your marketing to-do-list for 2015… top of the list? Redesign website.

OK, so where to now?

Before you get caught up in the flashy design and selecting plug-ins, pop the creative juices to the side for a moment. Consider these top tips first…

 

1. SEO

So often this aspect of website development is an after thought, when really it should be at the top of the list. If a user can’t find your site then what’s the point? If you consider SEO from the initial stages, it will save you time and money later. Invest in understanding what pages and keywords are performing well within your current site. Identify search terms and keywords that appeal your audience and will drive traffic to your website. Search engines give credit to content that is user-centric so consider these keywords when you’re developing content for your new site. Your content should be meaningful and useful to your visitors. Above all, remember to put the user experience first and the SEO gods will reward you.

 

2. User Experience

So, what are your visitors looking for when they come to your website? It’s all well and good to develop a beautiful site, but if it doesn’t deliver a good user experience, you’ve lost the battle. User expectations of brands have evolved and people now expect more. It’s really important to take the time to understand what your users want, and expect, and to align these expectations to your business objectives.

 

3. Content Management

Your website content is critical to your success. It reflects on the user experience, SEO and the authority of your brand. You should give consideration to not only what that content will be and how it will be useful to your users, but how it will perform as an effective tool within your marketing strategy. But, the big question is, how will you manage the resourcing of content development? Who will be responsible for updating the website?

An easy to use content management system (CMS) is critical to ensure there are no barriers to updating your website and a realistic plan of action for regular content updates is also important. A blog is an awesome platform to engage with your audience but don’t set yourself up to fail – there’s nothing less inspiring for a user than an out of date blog.

 

4. Website Design

Now we get to the fun part – the creative. Great design + content + user = success.

Much like all elements of creative work, trends come and go and design evolves. Websites are no different.

In 2015 the biggest trends are:

·       The long endless scroll

·       Flat, seamless design

·       Engaging typography

·       Enticing visuals (images and video)

·       Interactive infographics

·       Personalisation

·       Responsive design

Design should always be informed by business objectives and user experience. Don’t include elements simply because they’re trendy – they must add value to the user experience and help to grow your business.

 

5. Mobile

And finally, get mobile. If your website is not already built to be mobile responsive then now is the time to change that.

Responsive design is no longer a nice to have – it’s essential. It is embedded into everything else listed above. It has been the biggest trend in website design for the last couple of years and it’s not going away.

Responsive design adds to the user experience (how often do you click off a website that won’t load properly on your iPhone?). Users are ‘multiscreening’ and they expect a consistent experience across each device. Plus there is SEO value thanks to Google’s recently released “mobile-friendly” labels for organic search results.

If you’re still not sure, how’s this for a stat – 80% of Internet users own a smartphone and mobile has now overtaken fixed internet access.

And my final piece of advice? Partner with a provider who can help you through each step of the journey – from scoping out your user requirements and understanding your content needs to designing AND building an effective website. This continuity in approach will streamline the project and ensure the end result mirrors your vision.

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20 business tips after 20 years in business