Is Your Website Still Sporting “The Rachel?”

Remember that hairstyle, dubbed “The Rachel” that all the ladies were wearing back in the mid-90’s? It’s from when Friends was a hot TV show, and everyone wanted to look like Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel Green. It was a cute haircut, don’t get me wrong, but it’s sooo 1994!

I’ve been noticing a lot of websites out there of that same vintage that are still sporting the Internet version of “The Rachel.”

We have got to do something about this, people!

Once your website has been designed, it’s not done forever. Trends change and new technologies become available. Maybe the nature of your business has evolved over the years. Whatever the deal is, it’s important to make sure your website is current so you can stay competitive.

But before you pick up the phone and call someone to re-design your website for you, there are some things you should think about beforehand since designing a website involves a lot of decision making. Here’s a handy list of some things you’ll need to have worked out before your first design meeting. Consider it a cheat sheet to make you look like fantabulous

What are your goals for your new website?

The goals you write out will be what drives your project so be thorough and clear.

  • What do you want to accomplish with this new design?
  • Do you want better functionality, cleaner design, improved SEO?
  • Would you like some fresh content that includes new services or products?

What does and doesn’t work about your existing site?

Take a look at your current website from a user’s perspective.

  • What do you like about the functionality?
  • Is it user friendly?
  • Are there things about it that frustrate you?

There are probably some elements of your site that work great and some that don’t. As you look through, keep your goals in mind too. Does this site help you reach those goals?

While you do this step, try not to be emotionally attached to things. You might actually find elements of your site that you still love, but if they’re not working for you, you’ll need to let them go. This happens to folks a lot, so don’t feel bad if you find yourself having an unexpected emotional reaction to the changes you’re planning.

Someone should start a support group…

Is your copy SEO friendly?

Is your content Search Engine Optimized with lots of keyword goodness? You want to make sure your copy is spiderable, meaning that search engines can pick up on key words throughout your content when someone does a search. Another thing to look at is whether your copy matches the right tone and has messaging you’re happy with. What has changed about your business that needs to be reflected in the copy?

Is your coding old?

Not only can older websites look a little outdated, some of them don’t work very well. Some older sites can be very slow to load, while others don’t work with new Web browsers like Google Chrome. Older table based HTML code is slow and clunky compared to new CSS, and it’s not as good for SEO.

While you’re having your overhaul done, would you like to have a Content Management System that allows you to make updates to your site yourself? These are all really good things to think about. It’s not all about messaging and aesthetics!

How are people using your site?

Are your customers accessing your site from their mobile devices? If that’s the case, you’ll want to think about making your new design responsive, which means that it can be viewed from many different kinds of devices like phones, tablets, or home computers.

Do people like to interact with certain elements of your website?  If so, maybe gamification is an option to make your site even more interactive and keep customers coming back to earn points and special rewards for their loyalty.

Study your website analytics to help you understand how visitors are finding you, and what they’re doing once they’re there. This will help you get a clear picture of how people are interacting with your site and what changes you need to make so that their experience is fun and engaging.

There are many other things to consider too, but these are some good ones to help you get started. Remember that making the transition form your old site to your new one is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Just keep your goals in mind while you’re planning and your new website will be amazing!

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