Many companies have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to their business websites. From my experience as a web designer, if a small business already has a website established, it was usually coded in the late 90s by the owner’s niece or nephew and hasn’t been updated since.
Your Company and Your Website
A website should be a living, breathing, crucial part of your day-to-day business operations, but with an outdated look and feel, you may be missing huge opportunities for growth in your online lead generation and web presence. No matter your industry or company size, your website must reflect that you’re current with technology, are ahead of the curve in all aspects of business and have a solid online foundation. Keeping all this in mind, I strongly advocate refreshing your website at least every two years.
To help readers who are considering a website re-design or considering building a website for the first time, let’s walk through the reasons that on November 1st, 2012, TMR Direct’s website got a full overhaul, the success we’ve seen so far and a few elements that have set us up for greater visitor conversion.
Why We Decided to Re-design our Website
We actually weren’t planning on re-designing at all, but in the process of shifting our website from one server to another and changing our content management system (CMS) to Joomla, we changed our minds. We knew we wanted easier updates, faster loading times and a greater range for features, however, we began to think that our website didn’t accurately reflect our internet marketing strengths in inbound marketing and website design.
Since both of these are internet related, we wanted our internet presence to be incredibly solid: not only to showcase what we can do as a web development firm, but showcase how you can utilize your website as a lead-generation tool.
Here are the top reasons we needed a re-design:
- We wanted a site that better reflected the quality of work we do
- We needed a more robust CMS
- We needed a stronger layout to better convert visitors into leads
- The old website wasn’t user friendly, and it was difficult to navigate to where the user wanted to be
- We wanted to showcase additional services, free tools and resources for our visitors
Every page was meticulously thought out with inbound marketing and online lead generation in mind.
For example, the image below shows how on every interior page there is a Call-to-Action (CTA) button that rests above the fold, offering customized offers based on the page a user is on. This button can be customized on a per-page basis and has already yielded great results since launch day.
“Contact Us” Page
A huge conversion opportunity that’s sometimes overlooked is the “Contact Us” page. Most companies would assume that if users go out of their way to visit a page, they’re going to find a way to contact their business—however, that isn’t necessarily the case. There’s still huge opportunity to convert visitors on the page based upon how it’s laid out and the number of conversion opportunities you have. On our old site, the “Contact Us” page was a long directory of direct phone numbers to our staff followed by a form below the fold. We now have a quick contact form that appears above the fold, and only two options for phone numbers: main office and fax. Click here to see.
Instead of giving a list of our entire staff, now it’s easier for the visitor to determine which phone number to call since there aren’t many options. We also decided to keep the page simple: phone number, contact form and directions. By limiting the choices, the user will ultimately have to convert on one of them.
How the Site Benefits Our Company And Clients
The chart above shows traffic from a year ago to today and the launching times of our redesigns. The large spike of traffic after the TMR Direct v3.0 launch is mainly due to the huge push of marketing our new website launch; only time will tell if the new design will boost traffic.
More Conversion Opportunities
With the restructuring of content and layout, we now have more conversion opportunities and can showcase every aspect of our company prominently: inbound marketing, website design and direct mail.
The site is now easier to navigate and is ultimately more user friendly. This means site visitors can find what they’re looking for faster, decrease frustration levels, save them time, and hopefully provide them with what they were searching for immediately. Our new navigation breaks elements into categories, sub-categories and interior pages. This multi-tiered navigation allows us to build out a large quantity of interior pages without the website becoming cluttered or difficult to navigate when a user enters the website via the home page or a category page.
New Features And Website Capabilities
I’m most proud of the responsive and dynamic shrinking main navigation menu. When a user visits the site, the menu is much larger and more prominent. This leads to easier navigation into sub-categories. When a user scrolls down on any particular page, the menu automatically shrinks to save screen real-estate and also stays fixed to the top. This fixed menu allows for quick navigation away from the current page into other areas of our site.
View of the interior page of the “Inbound Marketing” category shows the menu in full size:
View when a visitor scrolls down on that same page. The menu automatically shrinks and stays fixed to the top of the window.