Mar 31, 2015

When Does a Website Upgrade Result in a "Downgrade"?

 Original Website
A business website should always be thought of as a process, not a project.

For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) reasons and to best benefit the human visitor/prospect (future customer!), it's imperative to keep ALL content on your website relevant and up to date.

The updates might not be weekly or even monthly, but at least once or twice a year it's a good idea to revise and/or add content (images, text, new features, etc).

NOTE: Click Images for Enlarged View

Cole WebMarketing Website

On the left is an example of a professional website overhaul by Cole WebMarketing.
However, sometimes a website "upgrade" can actually result in a "downgrade".  

New Site - DIY by Customer
Many of us have seen this happen, and it happens for various different reasons.

Sometimes a new marketing or other manager comes on board with a company and is not as skilled as his or her predecessor in the ways of the web and related matters (graphic design, virtual visual merchandising, SEO, website statistics and analysis, etc.) and the new site turns out to be not as good as the old site.

Another reason for a worse new site is an internal connection - somebody knows somebody that knows a "web guy".  Everybody these days it seems knows someone who can design, build and manage websites, but many times these self proclaimed web gurus aren't actually experienced website professionals, but rather wannabes.

Some primary examples of a Website Downgrade include: (not in order of importance)

  1. Reduced Visual Appeal - without a good solid design, a website can lack a professional "layout, look and feel" - logical placement of images, proper image selection (relevant to text on page), 
  2. New SIte - DIY by Customer
  3. and careful arrangement of all parts of a page are important (avoid "text boxes" that overlap background "placeholders".
  4. Excessive Use of Widgets, Add-Ons, Buttons, Etc. - just because you can add a feature to a page or website doesn't mean you should - avoid a site that is too "busy" - visitors prefer clean and simple for most websites (photography website, rock band, night club might be a few exceptions where more bells and whistles may be more acceptable)
  5. Unprofessional Graphics/Images - poor quality graphics, the use of "clip art", animated GIF's and/or outdated navigation "buttons", poor quality photographs, backgrounds, etc. can give even a well thought out and developed website an amateurish appearance
  6. New SIte - DIY by Customer

  7. Poor Font Selection - using more than a few different fonts and/or using super cool/cute fonts is to be avoided and it's critical to keep all text font colors the same, except for active hyperlinks. In addition, select one main font for most all text on you site - using several font styles just increases the amateur look & feel of a website.
  8. Excessive Use of Different Colors - pick a nice color scheme and build your site around it - unless you're targeting children, using more than a few colors on your site is usually not a good idea.  Also, unless your intent and need is to "dazzle the visitor", avoid harsh colors and color combinations - such as bright green or yellow & black
  9. De-Optimization: when overhauling a website, it's important to keep in place those components that helped get the website to rank high on Google and other search engine results pages.  Use of target keywords and keyphrases, proper placement of those keywords and a good keyword ratio is important to maximizing a site's listings across the web and also to getting to and staying on page 1 or 2 when past, present or future customers search for your company by the products you make/sell or the services you provide.
  10. Mobile Friendly - since many people first view a website on their smartphone or small tablet, it's critical that a website be "mobile friendly" - appear and function well on a variety of different platforms (and browsers).  Comprehensive testing is not an option - it must be done to make sure a website renders appropriately on any device.

THE PROBLEM WITH COOKIE-CUTTER SITES: Many sites these days are created with Wordpress, which was software originally created for use in creating web logs (blogs).  Most Wordpress sites have a very similar layout, look and feel and tend to appear "blogish".

In addition, all of the "free website builder" tools available from companies you see/hear advertised on TV and radio are all "template based", which results in more and more websites looking very much the same.

THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOM SITES: A professional website designer/developer can, and usually will, create a website "from scratch" and therefore YOU have complete control over layout, placement, arrangement, appearance, look & feel, etc.

A company website must serve as an asset; not a liability. The site should reflect the high caliber and professionalism of the business, especially since a website is often the first impression a prospective new customer gets about your business.

So, before you decide to overhaul your website and have it done by "your neighbors nephew for $200 and a case a beer" or using one of the "free" online website builders, consider first contacting a professional website design/development company for an initial consultation.  The money you spend upfront could result in a huge return on investment in the long run, rather than going the super cheap $49.95 a month route for the rest of you life -- for a site that might never make it into the Top 10 on Google or might never make your phone ring/make you money.

For a FREE initial website consultation, please call
Cole WebMarketing at 704-456-9321.

NOTE: All images on RIGHT SIDE do NOT reflect the work of Cole WebMarketing - only the one image on the LEFT SIDE does.