For many Web marketing professionals, suggesting a website redesign can be an intimidating conversation. At Page 1 Solutions, we frequently talk to existing clients and prospects alike about redesigning their practice websites, and the subject often causes debate.
This is understandable. Legal and medical practices invest substantially in their websites and online marketing services to build their Internet presence, and the thought of “starting over” is often daunting. And though design and functionality practices are guided by tried and tested principles, individual preference is just as important for a Web developer or designer to take into account when creating a site that represents a practice.
However, if your online leads have dwindled and the return on investment from your website has dipped, it might be time to speak to your marketing agency about redesigning your site. Here are five factors to consider when initiating this conversation.
Your Website Isn't Mobile-Friendly
More users now access the Internet on their smartphones than they do on desktop computers. Next year, more than 60% of online activity is expected to be mobile. With so many consumers surfing the Web and finding businesses – including lawyers, dentists, plastic surgeons, and ophthalmologists – on a phone or tablet instead of a stationary computer, your practice website needs to evolve in order to capture and retain this changing audience.
Many decisions that guide a conversation about website redesigns boil down to subjectivity. However, the upward trend of mobile use is a fact, which means the need for your practice website to use a responsive design is practically a foregone conclusion.
Visitors Have Trouble Finding Important Information
Every practice is different, and there is no doubt that the design of your website should embody that unique personality. It's good for the look of your site to stand out, but that favorable impression will quickly dissolve if users can't easily find your phone number, online contact form, or some means of navigating the site.
Your practice website is the cornerstone of both online and offline lead generation. Unintuitive organization generally results in poor user experience, which could mean visitors leave your site just as quickly as they arrive without making contact.
Websites with a high proportion of single-page visits have a high bounce rate. In addition to resulting in possibly fewer leads, high bounce rate is considered a potential negative SEO ranking factor, meaning your search positioning for important keywords could also stumble if users persistently land on your website, can't find what they need, and immediately push the “Back” button.
Photos on the Website Are Outdated
When you first designed your website, it was an accurate reflection of your practice. However, even a lapse of two to three years can mean big changes. Some staff members have probably moved on, and you've likely hired some new employees. You might have changed offices. One or more of your partners might even have retired or pursued new ventures.
If there is a large discrepancy between how your team and office really look and how they are presented on your website, then the design of your website is not fulfilling its purpose of accurately representing your practice. The same is true of any stock photos you might have chosen to round out the design – outdated clothing, old photos of your city's skyline, and obsolete technology are just a few visual cues a website visitor might interpret as a sign that your practice is out of touch.
Your Priority Practice Areas Are Hidden or Unclear
Change defines any marketplace, and the winners are those who can adapt and provide consumers the services they're seeking. Whether it's to increase revenue or to pursue a particular passion, practice owners often want to prioritize certain practice areas.
The best way to draw attention to priority practice areas on your website is through highly visible calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website, often by combining text and visuals to entice users considering your services. But if your CTAs use poor graphics, unclear language, or get buried below “the fold” (the portion of a Web page where users have to scroll), you could lose these potentially valuable leads.
This goes back to two points discussed above. Your website should be:
- Easy to scan, with the most important elements in an accessible, logical place on the page
- Visually appealing and representative of your practice
And remember: Your website has as little as 15 seconds to capture a user's attention. Every aspect of your design should be situated to maximize the impact of those first 15 seconds.
The Design Obscures Valuable Off-Site Content
Your website is no longer the beginning and end of your practice's Web presence. Social media, blog posts, and online reviews (to name a few) are all potential channels for driving online leads. In order to do this, though, your website needs to be designed to provide exposure to these channels.
In the past, many outbound links were consigned to the website footer or hyperlinks within the text, if included at all. Blogs were generally hosted on an external domain.
Now, these features need to be equal parts of a holistic strategy to market your practice. And it starts with your website.
Like any CTA, social media icons and links to prominent review websites can be seamlessly and prominently incorporated into a website with a modern, user-first design. You can drive traffic to your blog by including it in the website's main menu. Be sure to maintain consistent activity on each profile – if you make access to these channels a core part of your website, users need to feel like they get value from their click.
In most cases, cost is the overriding concern when discussing a website redesign. Practice owners often question the necessity of investing in a redesign when their current website is still generating leads and revenue, especially if the current design was put in place relatively recently.
However, it's important to remember that previous spending on the design and functionality of your website is a sunk cost. If you are unhappy with the performance of the website, it's time to ask yourself how much the potential deficiencies of your website are costing you in terms of lead generation.
Of course, change is always scary. But if your existing Web design is underwhelming for visitors and underperforming for your practice, it might be worth considering the benefits of a redesign.
By Andrew Leschnik, Internet Sales Consultant, Page 1 Solutions