What to do When Your Website is Ugly

Ugly DogYou have a website and it’s a great place to learn about your product/service.  Some would even consider it an online business card. It contains all of the necessities; things like contact information, company history, prices etc.  Now, this sounds like a decent start to your online marketing presence but there is a problem.  Your website has a face only a mother could love.  That’s right, you have an ugly website.  Someone had to say it.

The great thing about the web is that it’s constantly changing and websites take on major improvement given time and care put into strategy and detail.  There are numerous things to consider when taking on this type of make-over.  Even before you consider the fun things like color schema and other visual aesthetics, one of the most important things to take into account is your target audience.

How your audience interacts with your website – If you’ve had a web presence for a while with minimal or no changes, people will be used to things like navigation and user conversion being in the same place.  Humans are a creature of habit and if they go to a site they frequent and things change a little too dramatically (whats up, Facebook?) you could receive some negative feedback and even see a decrease in traffic.

Where to put your major calls to action – If you were getting great conversions (lead generated inquiries, significant whitepaper download numbers, etc.) before, using links accompanied with great graphics/icons, keep a similar approach.  Changing locations of a major conversion piece is also a risky move, but when executed correctly, could produce more clicks.  Remember that the top 1/3rd of a website is the most important location for user conversion because this is the first area of the site users see when they reach your site.

Colors and your logo – Call me crazy, but when I am redesigning a website, the thing that influences my design strategy most is the logo and any other previously existing marketing collateral.  It is difficult to create a masterpiece of a website when your logo is unattractive.  Consider a logo redesign if you think your current logo does not accurately represent your company brand or style (please, make a designer’s life easier!). If not, an update to your current logo can go a long way.  Things like adding a gradient for color depth or updating your font shows that your company actually cares about their marketing look.

Load Time – I know everyone back in 1997 loved the animated gifs and scrolling text, but it’s time to kick those habits.  Producing a visually attractive website sometimes requires a lot of graphics.  Now is a great time to increase usability potential by having a fast loading website.  Repeating backgrounds, low file size and clean code will be a benefit for impatient visitors!

Cross Browser Compatibility – Another great opportunity for redesign!  Depending on the programming of your site, some browsers might interpret that code differently, making the website look different in other browsers.  With the change in design comes a change in code.  This code should be executed with cross browser compatibility in mind.

A redesign opens up many doors to strengthen your brand and online return.  Don’t neglect the needs of your returning visitors, but don’t be afraid to keep your company image fresh!