Are you planning to take your business to the next level in 2021? Maybe 2020 has been brutal on your business and you’re looking to relaunch and get it back on track. This time of year, tends to be a busy time for me, preparing proposals for clients who plan to kick off new marketing efforts early in the new year. For small business owners, the summer holidays are an excellent time to work on your online strategy.
For some businesses such as retail and travel related industries, summer is the busiest time of year. For most of us, it’s time we can take a mental break and come back refreshed. As business owners, we are passionate about business and we can’t help thinking about the new year and the opportunities ahead. This is why many brands refresh their website early in the new year and why we often find ourselves booked solid.
It could be time to tinker with your website to bring it up to speed with any changes you’ve made or are planning for the year ahead. If the websites too far gone, it could be time for a complete overhaul. A complete website redesign doesn’t come without a few potential risks that can do more harm than good without the right plan in place.
Should you change your website over the holiday season?
With the holiday season drawing near, some businesses will anticipate higher online traffic than they experience throughout the year. These businesses can work on new strategies at this time however they probably shouldn’t implement any significant changes since it’s probably too late for that. For many businesses, particularly B2B, the traffic to your website may drop off over the holiday season, making it the perfect time to work on and roll out new strategies.
If you want your website to take your business to the next level in 2021, here are three ways to optimise your website:
1. Consider designing for mobile devices first
For an increasing number of websites, the majority of your visitors will be viewing it on a mobile. If this is the case, you may choose to redesign your website with the mobile experience front of mind.
With the growing developments of phone technology, many of us prefer to use our mobile phones when browsing the web. It’s often quicker and easier to use a phone when browsing online. Nearly all of us have a phone suitable for browsing websites these days and even if we have a laptop or desktop, it’s more convenient to pull out our phones than fire up a computer.
You should absolutely focus on your website’s responsive design, that’s a must and has been for a number of years now. A responsive website will respond to the screen size in which it’s being viewed, adjusting its layout automatically so it’s content can be consumed easily.
Clean and simple websites usually look the most professional and sophisticated and they also tend to be the best when it comes to responsive design. The less items that need to shuffle around the screen, according to the size, the more straightforward the content layout will be and the better the User Experience (UX). This is the key to designing for mobile users first.
The smaller screen of a mobile phone means online users will have less time and patience to process and understand your websites message. If you are reworking your current website it could be as simple as stripping out unnecessary visual elements or reworking them to be more sophisticated so they become less of a distraction.
2. Build your site for faster loading speeds
Every year we become less patient with websites and 2021 is likely to follow that trend. A clean, simple and sophisticated website will also tend to load faster than a website that’s graphic intensive. Building the website right will also help ensure your online viewers experience minimal delays when navigating through your website. If you’re selling online, a slow loading time is the leading cause of high cart abandonment. It’s also the cause of high bounce rates in many websites.
When designing a new website, you’re starting with a clean slate and can build your website with speed in mind from the ground up. If you’re reworking an existing website there’s usually a few little tweaks a web developer can make to edge out a little more speed.
A couple of quick and easy refinements to improve slow-loading pages is to optimise your images and eliminate complex coding scripts. You can also switch to a more capable hosting server to boost your loading speeds.
3. Spy on your website visitors before changing anything
You don’t need to make wild assumptions when planning a website redesign. If you’ve got a website you plan to rework in the new year, it’s worth installing heatmap software now. This will give you time to collect data so you can better understand how people are interacting with your current website and improve the user experience.
The heatmaps will help show you areas where visitors are having issues with your website or help identify what they are most interested in. This knowledge might help highlight to what elements are not engaging and can be stripped out of the website so the more engaging items are featured more prominently.
Hotjar is our preferred heatmap software and it also comes with video recordings of actual website visitors engaging with your website. You’ll see how they move their mouse around screen and where they click which can be very helpful knowledge when reworking a website. Theirs also surveys and incoming feedback we tend not to use for our clients, however they may be of interest to you.
2020 has been a crazy year and you might be feeling weary and ready for a break. At some point you’ll probably feel refreshed and ready to take on 2021. This holiday season is an opportunity for businesses to plan for the new year so they can hit the ground running. Early every year we have an influx of new clients returning to work with a fresh outlook and ready to rework their websites. There’s also a number of savvy business owners who make contact late in the year so some of the planning, research and data collection can happen now, in preparation for taking action the following year.
We’d love to have a chat about your website as soon as you are ready so we can help with the planning, research and heatmaps if that’s appropriate for you. Uplift 360 is an Australia-based web development agency that can rework or redesign your website. Get in touch with us today to receive a free consultation!