Is It Time to Redesign Your Website?

Is it time to redesign your website? You’ve thought about it more than once… perhaps more times than you’d like to admit. But other things just seemed more important to do — or you preferred to do -– like running your business, taking care of your customers, or cleaning your sock drawer.

That’s all good, but having a professional website that helps your business is important, too.  Maybe now is the time to redesign your website.

So your socks have been mated, and you’re ready to tackle redesigning your website. How do you make sure your efforts pay off?  What things should you consider when you redesign your website?

THE WHYS?
First have a clear understanding of why you’re redesigning your website. What do you want to accomplish? Here are some common reasons for a website makeover:

  • update the look – nothing says stagnant more than an outdated looking site
  • increase leads and sales conversions – the traffic is good to your site and you offer a compelling service or product, but maybe your site can do a better job of getting people to take the next step of contacting you
  • improve your search engine ranking positioning (SERP) – it’s hard for web surfers to find your website or your business if your site doesn’t show up until page 7 in keyword search results for your industry
  • need additional functionality – maybe you want to add the ability to capture leads, have visitors book an appointment, have a members only area, offer after-hours chat, or for visitors to more easily share your blog posts
  • make it more user-friendly – have you been told certain information insn’t on your site (even though you know it’s there)?
  • make your site mobile-friendly – in addition to Google SEO ramifications, having a website easy to view on a phone is more important than ever since viewing sites on mobile has surpassed on the desktop;
    Read my own story of redesigning my website to go mobile (after cleaning out my sock drawer, of course).

Having your goals defined will help ensure your website redesign is successful.

DON’T LET THE DOG EAT YOUR HOMEWORK
If you’re like me, you don’t like homework. But it is important to understand what’s going on now so you can make the right choices for your new site.

  • dog-eat-homework.jpgCheck your current website traffic – whether you use Google Analytics, your hosting provider’s statistics, or another tool, review your current site stats:
    • What pages are visited the most?
    • Which are the most frequent entry pages (first page visited when someone enters your site)?
    • Which pages are the most frequent exit pages (last page visited before leaving the site)?
    • What keywords are used to find your site?
    • Which pages have the longest visit times?
    • Where are visitors coming from?
  • What is your current search engine results position for your target keywords?
  • What sites are coming up first on page 1 for those keywords – check them and try to glean what they’re doing right.

SITE HIERARCHY
I like to start with my site page hierarchy – this is a list of all the pages your site should have, and arrange them within a logical structure. Be sure you organize it from your site visitor’s perspective, not yours. The hierarchy will help you determine your site navigation.

Have an idea of what kind of information you would have on each page – don’t worry too much if one page becomes two pages or vice versa — this can easily be adjusted.  The most important thing at this step is to make sure you capture the information and content most important to your website visitors.

If your site will have any special functionality, determine where in your site those should be made available.

CONTENT

  • Initially, focus your writing efforts so the content is of value and interesting to your audience.
  • Write from the perspective of the benefit to the visitor, not the features you are selling; in language they understand
  • Review existing website content
    • Are keywords used and well-placed? Are they used in headings and present as early as possible on the page?
    • Is there missing content?  Too much of some content?
    • FAQs and SAQs – What questions are you frequently asked day-in, day-out? What question aren’t you asked, but you think your customers and prospects should be asking? Provide the answers to these on your site so people (and search engines) stay on your site and find valuable information.
  • Visuals – web pages with images or videos are viewed more frequently than what those without; and visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text; use visuals that convey your message quickly and are engaging
  • Once you have well-written webpage, go back and break up your texts with headers and bullets

 

DESIGN

Pay special attention to your Home Page. It is often the first impression a new visitor has of your business. You only have seconds to engage a visitor to learn more.  Be sure your site:

  • is mobile friendly
  • conveys the feelings you’re trying to engender about your business or organization, e.g., professional, humorous, kid-friendly, or serious.
  • prioritizes information – the most important messages should be emphasized visually and fall “above the fold”, that is appear in the monitor screen when the site is first opened. Be sure your Call-to-Action (CTA) and contact information are prominent.

PROTECT YOUR SEO “JUICE”
Especially when your current site is well-ranked, when possible and sensible, keep a similar site hierarchy and filenames when redesigning your website. Retain the meta tags and heading tags on your pages. Use 301 redirects as needed so people don’t get lost if they go to link that no longer exists.

Learn more about how to retain your site’s SEO ranking during a website redesign in the white paper available below.

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

What is a Browser Cache? (And Why Should I Care?)

Can’t see updates to your website? “Did you clear your browser cache?” Has your website designer asked you that?

Clients will ask me to make changes to their website, and when I let them know the changes have been completed, I often remind them to clear their browser cache to view the change.  Why? Because often they’ll say, “I don’t see the change,” if they don’t.

What is clearing your browser cache? And “How do I clear my cache?” is a question I often hear.

For those unfamiliar with what a browser cache, much less how to clear it, here’s a primer that might be helpful to you.

WHAT IS A BROWSER CACHE?

To help display web pages you’ve visited before quickly, your browser (such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) will store a copy of the page in your browser’s cache (pronounced /kæʃ/, like “cash” ). So when you enter that web site address (i.e., URL) again, your browser will serve up the version of the page you last visited.

Therefore, you may not see a recent change that was made on your web page. To be sure you are retrieving the most recent version of this web page after you’ve made updates, you can “clear your browser cache” so your browser goes out and displays the current version.

HOW DO YOU CLEAR YOUR BROWSER CACHE?

The instructions vary from browser to browser, so we’ve listed the steps for some of the commonly used ones. For those not listed, the steps are similar for other browser. Look for the similar menu items.

how to clear your cache in Google Chrome

GOOGLE CHROME version 47.0
1. Click on the settings icon in the top right corner of your browser window
2. Click on the “History” tab
3. Click on the “Clear browsing data” button
4. Select:
– timeframe you want to delete (you can use default of “the past week”
– check the boxes of your preferences (e.g., browsing history, download history, cookies, cached images and files, passwords, auto-fill form data)
5. Click “Clear browsing data”

MICROSOFT EDGE version 20
1. Click on the “More Actions” icon (3 dots horizontally) in the top right corner
2. Click “Settings”
3. About half way down the Settings pane, click “Choose what to clear” below “Clear browsing data”
4. Click boxes of items you want deleted (e.g., browsing history, cookies, cached data and files…)
5. Click “Clear” button

FIREFOX version 42.0
1. In the top menu (File, Edit , View….), click on “History”
2. Click “Clear All History”
3. Set time range to clear
4. Click items to clear (e.g., browsing & download history, cookies, cache, active logins, offsite website data, etc.)
5. Click “Clear Now” button.

SAFARI version 5.1.7
1. In top menu (File, Edit, View…), click on “History”
2. Click “Clear History”
3. Click “Clear” button.

iPhone 5
1. Go to Settings
2. Click on Safari
3. Swipe down to bottom of window and click “Clear History and Website Data”
4. Click “Clear History and Data”

Depending on how long its been since you last cleared the cache, it may take several seconds, or even minutes.

Driving Cars ASC 1940 Presentation at Toyota Museum

Denise Shiozawa of UmeWorks was honored to be invited to the September Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) Chapter 1940 meeting. The invitation was extended via UmeWorks client and Chapter member, Dave Carney of Hillside Auto Repair.

Denise shared a presentation on “Building Car Count with Organic SEO and Content Marketing,” covering topics:

  • Website basics
  • On-page SEO
  • Incoming Links
  • Content Marketing
  • Reviews
  • Data

ASCCA Chapter 1940 meeting at Toyota Car MuseumMany thanks to Victor of Lion’s Automotive for his tech support and Vanna-White-assistance.

 

DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

 

*Note: Videos and YouTube were not been covered, but are important tools. More on this to come…

Ume: Lessons from a Plum Blossom

In Japan, ume (plum) is associated with hope and longevity. It’s the first tree to bloom amid winter’s lingering chill and has the longest lifespan of all fruit trees.

Ume heralds the coming of spring with delicate flowers of white, pink and red. Their fragrance sweetens the cold air. Ume Matsuri (plum festivals) are held in February and March to celebrate the ume blossom and reflect upon the values it symbolizes: endurance and devotion; beauty and elegance; virtue and a pure heart.

Ume inspires us at UmeWorks. Its meanings influence our approach to website development, website design and project management. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned from the plum blossom.

Endurance and Devotion

The ume tree endures the harshness of winter and then, in an act of faith, presents its flowers to the snow and ice. A loyal life force — this is the essence of the ume plum.

Similarly, dedication and the long-range perspective are core values of UmeWorks. Our mission is to help your business to flourish, season after season, year after year.

Our process is collaborative and individualized. We listen carefully as you describe your vision of success. We ask questions to clarify your objectives and strategies. We strive to fully understand your goals and provide the best solution to you.

Beauty and Elegance

In the town of Ninomiya, Kanagawa Prefecture, lives an ume tree said to be 300 years old. Its gnarled form is strikingly handsome. Several elements contribute to the tree’s majestic presence: a trunk stretched in the triangle pose; sparse, twisted branches; craggy, mottled bark. And most spectacularly, the emergence of new buds every winter. The blossoms’ ethereal beauty is accentuated by the tree’s time-worn ruggedness.

Umeworks organically combines the elements of website development, content creation and project management to improve your company’s presence on search engines and social media.

Developing a website is akin to a tree growing a healthy trunk and root system. We apply our programming and coding expertise to build and maintain a reliable, resilient framework for your website.

Content creation involves skillfully weaving art, images and words into a beautiful design that appeals to your audience and clearly communicates your message.

Though effective project management, UmeWorks delivers an elegant solution that helps you to achieve your goals.

Virtue and a Pure Heart

According to folklore, ume’s virtues imbue it with protective powers. Landowners plant ume trees in the northeast corner of their properties to prevent evil from entering through the “Demon’s Gate”.

Umeboshi (pickled plum) contains citric acid, an antibacterial agent. A traditional condiment, it was first used to purify water and cure ailments 1,000 years ago.

UmeWorks acts with integrity and client-centered professionalism. We are results-oriented, pragmatic and efficient. We endeavor to continuously improve our knowledge, skills and processes so we can offer you the highest level of service.

Contact Us

We welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and help you fulfill your vision of success.

Go Mobile

Despite the fact that I’ve been advising my clients to use responsively-designed websites for the last couple years, I hadn’t updated our own website. We were the epitome of the “cobbler and his kids.”  As a appropriate, our Clients’ work is priority over our own.