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Do you need to redesign your website?

A friend lamented how little value he was seeing from his website when he remarked that it really needed a redesign. He gets much of his site’s traffic from search engines (more organic than paid), but doesn’t convert much of that traffic into sales. Should he redesign? Possibly. But I doubt it.

A quick look at the site called out several little things that could make a huge difference to his business performance:

  • Make the company phone number prominent on every page (right now it’s buried on an About Us page)
  • Add the storefront address to every page (also on the About page)
  • Increase the font size
  • Add specific calls-to-action on product pages
  • Improve online-to-offline tracking (where I suspect the sales their site does originate are going)

Many of these probably seem obvious. But here is a successful business, with a well-trafficked, well-indexed website that reflects their brand well. Sometimes you will need to redesign. It happens. Maybe you’re altering your brand positioning or updating your creative to reflect changing tastes.

But more often than not, you’ll see great returns from effective tweaks. Sometimes, the least you can do is the best.


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Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hey Tim,

    Great blog post! I have to agree with most of what you are saying, although must argue with you a bit and wouldn’t mind tacking some more on.

    Going into my ninth year as a web developer I have realized that things have changed drastically from when I started, to where we are now, and to where we are going. The biggest thing in my book is web standards (good book by http://www.simplebits.com if interested). The grasp they have on the web these days is fantastic and the efforts and groups working towards achieving true standards are growing rapidly.

    Reason I introduce Web Standards here is to argue with one of your points, and introduce a new one. What I wish to argue is increasing the font size: user’s should have the most control. In all reality the font-size that is set by the designer has no meaning. Most browsers have an option to override any font-size and even set its own default overriding font. What should happen here is a happy medium deal, let me explain:

    In the design process (while in Photoshop or whatnot) the designer should consider nothing smaller than a 12-point font. 12-point is the most common font size to use and what most people are going to be familiar with. On your site, having two links (or small buttons) with an A- and A+ to allow the user to increase font-size with Javascript (without CTRL+ or APPL+) is ideal to conform to general standards and would have even the slightest effect on revenue generated from a website.

    My second point here rides along with the entire font-size idea, although it is a more-recent industry boom: the em-based design. If you are unfamiliar, an em-based design has a px defined size replaced with an em defined size. This allows the user to use CTRL+ or APPL+ to increase the text-size AND the size of all of the elements (block or not) on the page. This means increasing font-size won’t break the page nor will it look just outright stupid. A more-recent major em-based redesign can be seen at http://ikea.com/ . Use your CTRL+ or APPL+ on their design and see what happens. Then compare that to what happens over at http://cnn.com/ .

    Overall great article though, and I hope to see more like this. You’re now in my blogroll. =)

    Best,
    Ryan Barr
    Spooky

  2. Ryan,
    Thanks for the insightful comment, and for the add. You’re preaching to the choir with regard to web standards. Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you all about my Section 508 adventures. Or, better yet, buy me two beers and I won’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Since I focus more on the business strategy for websites, I don’t often go into specific techniques. But, following standards has terrific strategic benefits, too. I feel a post coming on…

    Having said all that, I can’t completely agree with your comment. While you’re absolutely right that users can change font sizes – assuming your web design uses the outstanding techniques you outlined – I suspect most consumers don’t know how to do what you suggest. Sure, I do. But I do this for a living. And, at 40, find I need things to display larger than what most web designers seem to think is “large enough.” Also, 12-point appears as different sizes depending on the chosen font. For instance, I find Arial perfectly readable without glasses at 12 point. But 12pt Times New Roman is a bit difficult. And I’m still (relatively) young. My 77-year old father (Hi, Dad!) might struggle more.

    You may laugh today. But, trust me grasshopper. Your day will come. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Finally, I’m glad you mention em-based design. The Ikea example is very cool.

    So, let’s compromise. Use a larger font and use standards so your users can grow – or shrink – the size to suit their needs.

    FYI… note Jakob Nielsen’s thoughts on font size from way-back in 2002. Well worth the read.

    Thanks again for the thought-provoking comment, Ryan. And look forward to some future thoughts on this.

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