Updating a Poorly Designed Website
Updating a bad web design doesn’t have to be overwhelming and doesn’t need to be done all at once.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a well-designed website for EVERY business no matter what year it is right now. This is the face of your business. Your website is the first thing your target audience will see. How will they spend the first 15 seconds on your website while deciding whether they want to continue learning more about your business or not?
In this Videocast episode, we dive into some bad website design examples to investigate what makes them ‘bad’.
Start with the basics
A solid website platform is SOOOOO key. Our team always recommends WordPress – even if you’re on a completely different platform such as Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy. WordPress can get a bad rep because you kind of need to invest a little time, in the beginning, to learn how to use it properly for your business. Here are some example steps and questions that could be useful, borrowed from our own project processes:
- Consider who you’ll be partnering with to get this all done.
- Understand how to look for common web design mistakes and design principles.
- What baseline items do you need to have in your website design to begin? Take this questionnaire.
- Grab a basic SEO report of how your site’s doing. Don’t worry about interpreting that now. This is to keep for later once you choose your site design partner.
- Is your website producing the results you expect? Get a website health checkup, the love is in the details.
- Is your current website design beautiful?
- Will your website content match your core values?
- If you don’t have a logo or branded materials and don’t have the investment to create a custom logo, use a “logotype” and some customizable marketing materials. There are plenty of cool fonts to use that can be styled (color scheme, font, etc) just so that it matches your brand well.
- If you can’t create a website or redesign your website right now, make sure you’re on LinkedIn and have an updated LinkedIn profile. This is like a mini-website pretty much already set up and ready for you to start networking and finding great opportunities.
One priority is mobile responsiveness or responsive design. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your site will rarely ever be found in this day and age. Not designed for a mobile device = a poorly designed website. Check your website with Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.
Get secure! Another priority is making sure your entire site (every page) is secured with an SSL certificate. This means that little green lock in the address bar at the top of the browser. Although, having a secured website is merely one of the five things that every website owner should know before diving into website design updates.
Check Your Website
With over 600 algorithm changes per year—it is more vital than ever to pay close attention to the technical health of your website.
Launch our Site Checker and conduct your free Technical SEO Audit to find out what you should be focusing on first.
Consider your audience
After you’ve decided on the website platform you HAVE to dig into who you really want to be talking to through your website and how they want to be spoken to. A great place to start is a buyer persona, which is basically a fictional character created to represent a user type that might engage with your website, brand, or product.
Secure a domain
We’re assuming you’ve already purchased a domain (your website URL address) at this point. But if you haven’t taken this step, it’s pretty simple. In the past, we’ve used sites like namecheap.com to find and purchase domains for a very affordable price.
Choose a hosting service
If you have a Squarespace, Wix site, or some other type of content management platform, it is likely that you’ve signed up for their hosting. While this can be attractive in the beginning stages of your business, it’s questionable whether that still remains in the long run. If you don’t host your site, there is little control over things. For example, website maintenance, search engine optimization, and any further customizations to the look, feel, and functionality of the website are severely limited. Definitely, something to think about when you’re making decisions.
Choosing a hosting provider where your domain and website will live can be challenging. Every platform is really heavily marketed and it’s hard to tell which is the right one, so it typically ends up coming down to price. Don’t fall into that trap! If you’re looking for a full-scale hosting solution that helps you sleep at night while your website stays online, secure, and reliable, here’s how to choose the best WordPress hosting service.
One final note to consider – What is a staging website and why do I need one? Choosing a hosting service that makes it easy for you to do this will save you many hours of worry when you make a change and your website goes down. (This happens to everyone, which is why things like backups, staging sites, and ongoing website maintenance are so important!)
“Custom website design is too expensive.” Try not to think of website design as an added-on subset of your business where you’ll pay a service provider to make updates for you. Think of it more like a beneficial ongoing relationship with a team of people who are more like your partners who care about your business and your success just as much as you do. This is an investment, not a cost. You’ll be jumping for joy when you realize the returns of having a beautiful, well-designed site versus a poorly designed website. Plus, there are other options available like simply starting out with a turnkey website that gives you the basics, a nice theme, and gets you up and running in a shorter period of time.
“I don’t have time or the know-how to write my own content.” This is THE biggest hold-up in every project. Content can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Take this website content questionnaire to figure out the basics of what you need to start. There is no real rhyme or reason for creating blogs either. Honestly, worry about that later, because the more you get to know your true audience the better the place you’ll be in when it comes time to write valuable content for them. It’s not true anymore that the more content you write the better. It’s mostly about value and consistency.
“I need SEO because I want to show up on page one of Google.” Ok, so this is a loaded statement for me. This has been one of my own biggest challenges because it’s an intricately technical concept to grasp and at the same time is really simple. Like, throw everything you think you know about SEO out the window. Similar to writing content, much of the SEO practices that are mentioned to me aren’t as important anymore. It is all about the user experience. Start at the most basic concept: keywords. We don’t need or want to start out by writing down a list of 100 keywords. Here are four keyword tasks to get you started.
Another piece to this is that SEO takes time. Figuring out how to rank and then actually implementing any strategies stemming from that research could take six months or more to start seeing any results especially for a previously poorly designed website (whether they’re good results or results that need to be tweaked to get better ones).
Here are a few other frequently asked questions that I’ve written some articles around in the past:
- What are some SEO red flags to watch out for?
- What can I do NOW to improve my SEO?
- My website traffic suddenly dropped—what now?
- Why isn’t my local business showing in search results?
- How can I change the way my business shows up in search results?
Say goodbye to that poorly designed website
From here, you could begin planning some high-level strategies you’ll need to get the right (not the most) eyeballs to your website.
Or, you could make this all a little easier on yourself and whip out that dusty pile of business cards and start by reaching out to a website marketing professional that will help guide you on the best path to success.
Download our guide for 10 ways to make your website user-friendly—tips for making sure your website is easy to use, keep your visitors happy, and keep them coming back for more.