Website Reconstruction: When it’s Time to Rebuild the Drowning Ship

The world is changing every day presenting us new and fresh ideas, approaches and tools to use. There are a lot of great features that found their places on the modern websites. Have you implemented them on your website already? Or you don’t need any of those? You like your website the way it is but somehow it doesn’t give you any revenue.

Website Reconstruction: When it’s Time to Rebuild the Drowning Ship

It’s important to now the right moment for the website to have the big reconstruction and to save the ship that is going down. Remember that any rebuilding requires time and can’t be handled in a day so you should watch the site to spot the alarming signals in advance.

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The Goal and the Website. Any Relationships?

Try to recollect why you have established the website in the first place. Certainly you had a reason to do it. There are some popular reasons:

  • To have the website address to put in the booklet or a business card. Then you have business card with the website.
  • To present services and/or products in the web and promote them. Then you have website promoting your business in the Internet.
  • To earn money by selling products via Internet. Then you have E-commerce website.
  • To establish web presence for a community.

In this article we’ll talk about the first two categories because it’s impossible to cover all the sites using one umbrella. If you are the owner of the E-commerce site you might like the article The Ultimate Guidelines of E-commerce. There you’ll find a lot of useful information covering tendencies in the E-commerce today. Creating a web community is the great job too and it deserves a whole post for itself and we won’t mix it up here.

instantShift - Website Reconstruction

So what are the purposes of your site? Why is it useful for visitors who found it using search engine or referral link? Focus and decide what valuable information or service you present on the site:

  • General information about the company. That would be brief the description of your business, locations of the head and filial quarters, contact information, types of services you provide. This information will help your clients to reach you.
  • Detailed description of the products and services. Here you put the information to show how good your products or services are. I’m not talking about general phrases “the best”, “the leading”, “and the cheapest” but about your own way to tell people why you are unique. Let’s say you are a vet (not too unique) but you are the only one available within 30 miles.
  • The latest facts and updates such as news, schedules changes, posts on the relative topics. Here you show your expertise and provide helpful tips.
  • Portfolio or Case Studies. The most interesting information for your potential clients.

This list is just the basis. Normally the website resembles you and your business and invites people to contact to you as a professional.
Is your website a good invitation? Answer 10 major questions to find it out.

10 Major Questions about the Current Website

Now look at your site and answer following “Yes / No” questions. It would be great if someone else will help you to test it and give the second opinion.

  • Does the website attract many visitors?
  • Do you use corporate colors in design?
  • Does the website have intuitive user interface?
  • Is it easy to reach every page of the website?
  • Is it easy to find the required information?
  • Does it take the web-page to upload less than 2 sec?
  • Are there clear error messages and 404 page?
  • Does the website behave as expected?
  • Is it easy to support, edit and update the website and content?
  • Does the website look good in every popular browser and any monitor?

You have answered “Yes” to all these questions? Then leave this page…

However, you might be still interested why all these issues are important.

Website Popularity

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Is your website popular? Do you have many visitors? What pages are visited the most? How many visitors reach the contact page? How many people have found out about you and your business from your website?

If you are not satisfied with the answers then it’s the right time to think about rebuilding your website. Rebuilding will not only bring new life to your site but give it a lift in the search engine results for a while.

Start with analysis of the traffic. There are many tools to track and analyze the website traffic. The most frequently used is Google Analytics. It helps you to see all the required information using different dimensions and define the possible weak points of the site. If you don’t have Google Analytics account then create one and the code on the website.

Data from Google Analytics will give you the review of the site but not the solution on what should be changed. Check and analyze next issues to find it out.

Brand Design and Style

No matter if you are a newbie or already work for a long time on a market you have a brand style and design to identify your company. If you don’t then establish it!

The website is the invitation to contact you and to work with you. Anyone who happens to come to your site must catch your logo from the header, see the brand colors and associate it all with the information on the web-page.

For example, it’s not a good idea for a big industrial metallurgical company to use soft-creamy-pink-peach colors to present themselves. Also these colors can be great for a website connected with baby products and gifts.

Pick up the colors for the web design with the help of the Color Scheme Designer 3. It’s great for choosing the right colors for the layout and CSS creation.

Test design and layout of the website on someone who hasn’t used it yet. Ask what he or she expected to read about when they it for the first time. Were their expectations fulfilled? Did they get the right opinion or there is something misleading?

It’s very important to make the right first impression. Otherwise the visitor will exit and never come back.

To learn more about the design and its refreshing read the article Redesigning Your Website: Are You Making the Right Move. There you’ll find more guidelines and reasons to redesign of your site.

Try yourself as a web designer with the Mockingbird service and show web developer what kind of web-page you want to get.

Intuitive User Interface

The visitor who came to the site for first time should be able to understand what kind of site it is, what main pages and categories it has. People don’t waste their time on the something too hard to understand at the first sight. There are plenty competing sites where they may go.

Reaching Pages

The pages of the site must be easy to reach from any point of the site. No matter how deep the page is placed it should be included in the proper category and associated with appropriate tags for the visitor to restore the entrance path.

Spend some time on thinking about the structure of the pages and their entries. Thus you’ll make website more searchable and convenient.

Information Search

The information on the site should be easy to find and spot. Use categories, contextual links and tags to give a hint where to find interesting information.

All the important information and the latest updates must be just in one click from the home page. Importance must be measured from the visitor’s point of view e.g. changes in the schedule or working conditions might be truly important for visitors.

Upload Time

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As you might already know Google added upload time to its parameters. No wonder it has happed as the minutes of waiting make visitors leave the site and move on. The only exclusion can be made for the sites with reach photo and image gallery and, of course, sites build with Flash. But still even those one provide something catching to make visitor wait for full download.

To test the uploading of the site as well as other technical points you may use tips from the Website Performance Testing.

Hints and Error Messages

Broken links and errors happen. Don’t leave the visitor disappointed: create 404 page in case some is looking for a page that was deleted. Then visitor won’t leave the site but will find the necessary page instead. Look for some inspiration at the Creative 404 Error Pages Around for Inspiration.

Help your visitors with filling forms and fields, give them hints and inform if they left a required find blank.

You may lead visitors looking for a non-existent page like this one 404 page.

Website Behavior

This one can be really thrilling. Imagine that you fill the form on the site to send some information, then you press Submit button (why not to call it Send Form) and then nothing… You got no confirmation, no messages – nothing. Was the submit successful or not? Confusing, isn’t it?

This particular satiation isn’t the frequent one but the point is that if user makes some action he/she must get what he/she is expecting.

Website Support and Update

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It’s important to have the possibility to update and edit information on the website.

Your developer says it’s too complicated to add new features to the site. It takes you a couple of days to add an announcement for your visitors or a new page.

Have you faced such problems? Then it’s time to move on and rebuild your site and use new technology. There are several popular CMS and each of them can be customized according to your needs and design. Any theme if it’s done properly can vary from site to site and be used multiple times. We are using our own framework when developing new website with WordPress. Wondering how long and how much it will take you to rebuild the current website? See the WordPress Websites Portfolio and feel free to ask us any questions about the process and the price.

We’ve chosen WordPress because it’s convenient, it was awarded as the CMS of the year and InstantShift is built on WordPress too.

Cross-browser Compatibility and Flexibility

There are more than one browser and several types of the monitors. The website must look good under any conditions. The site should not be too small on the large monitor screen and stick to the left side. There are should be no bugs. If you are using IE6 please look for more recent browser as this one doesn’t support a lot of stuff.

Website Performance Testing

A simple way to test the site performance is to use Firebug web development tool and its integrated plugin YSlow.

YSlow analyses the web page and suggest the possible improvement based on the general. The page will get the grade for every issue. The best grade is A that means there is no need in improvement.

After you install YSlow plugin you may open any page and check it. The plugin will provide you recommendations explaining every suggestion. However the plugin will only advise you what should be improved but not the best way to implement it.

There would be about 20 issues with different grades such as the following:

  • Make fewer HTTP requests
  • Put JavaScript at bottom
  • Configure entity tags
  • And others…

We don’t say you need have all A’s to consider your site has good performance but too many F’s is an alarm for rebuilding.

Services to Test Your Website

Site-perf

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Site-Perf.com provides you an accurate and realistic estimation of your site’s loading speed. It fully emulates the downloading behavior with all web images, CSS, JavaScript and upload files.

Official Link

Pingdom

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Pingdom let you view the list of objects (CSS, JS, etc.) either in load order or as a hierarchy. The hierarchy view allows you to see which objects are linked to in for example a CSS file.

Every test shows general statistics about the loaded page such as the total number of objects, total load time, and size including all objects.

Official Link

The Reason They Come to Your Website – the Content

The main reason visitors come to your website is the content.

I believe you’ve heard it already and know all the importance about the valuable content. But is the content on your website really the one of that kind?
Remember how you were working on your resume when applying for a job. You tried to make it:

  • Full but not too big and boring
  • Awaking interest to your personality and experience
  • Up to date containing all the latest information
  • Structured and formatted

These rules work perfectly for the web content! Use them and check the content. Rewrite it if needed, optimize for search engine queries (but don’t go too far).
And some more:

  • Share your expertise
  • Provide help
  • Give the opportunity to find more about your job (company, services, product) and ask you a question

How you Can Boost the Website Popularity with the Proper and Fresh Content

The content of the site is its heart. There is no point in reconstructing the website that no one will support with the fresh and quality content. The content on your site can be of any type:

  • Textual
  • Images
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Music
  • Files for download

Text is the only content that is indexed by the search engines. This is the only way how people can find you by searching in Google and no other. Think what key phrases can be associated with your site and use them when writing a copy, a title for the web-page and even page URL for the new post.

Website rebuilding is the great reason to update the content of the site and implement blog, visitors’ comments, news and other features that make website more interactive and interesting for visitors and owners.

Blog and news page are the good possibilities to upgrade the site on a weekly basis. Google always put the most recent relevant content higher in search results.

What should you do if you got many great photos and images to share with visitors but not the text? Add title and alt to the images, provide brief description of the photos. People often use search within pictures in Google. Let them spot your website this way too.

Any video on the site can be described in the Video Sitemap. Thus you will increase search ability of the video files significantly.

instantShift - Website Reconstruction

The only websites that has no particular content are those ones built up totally with Flash. Yes, they look great and fascinating and can be a real pleasure but you can’t use any part of it or save an image or search on site. The solution is the usage of HTML5 or embedding the Flash onto the website. Thus you’ll get site with animation and other effects but it will be searchable and visible for search engines and visitors.

Files and tools for download are the great stuff. But don’t let them stay untouched – promote them with the comprehensive copy.

When the website reconstruction is complete and the content is ready start the promotion.

Share new and helpful resources on your website with the community. Go to the popular relevant forums, check the questions and tell where the answer can be found, put the link to the required page.

And soon the awareness about your website will grow like a snow ball with the help of the social media, twitter and bookmarks. Don’t forget to put Share This button or any other button of that kind on a blog.

Cooperate with the social media and tell your friend and followers about new stuff. If you are looking for much more attention from the social media create a Facebook application or a game.

Pros and Cons of the Web Content Creation

instantShift - Website Reconstruction

Pros of the Great Web Content:

  • Higher rankings in Google search engine results
  • Increasing visibility of the website in the Internet
  • Increasing traffic
  • More visitors and clients
  • More sales

Cons of the Great Web Content:

  • Time and efforts required for content creation
  • Necessity to protect the content from stealing
  • Time required to moderate the comments and filter spam

Yes there are few cons but the pros totally beat them all.

Think about rebuilding today to defeat your competitors tomorrow.

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14 Comments

  1. Nice Post, As i am in the stage of changing my site layout and design for a new look and it made me some worthable points.
    Cheers.

  2. Great article, thank you

  3. nice article, covering almost everything needed to be considered..

  4. This article is truly original shows how to rebuild a website!!..

  5. Brilliant post, at great timing for me too, missing a few points me thinks!

  6. I’m currently in the midst of redesigning our business website and I found this article really useful. Thank you!

  7. I really enjoyed this article. I’m glad to see someone else mention that a website cannot possibly be re-designed or built in a day! It takes time and lots of effort.

  8. Excellent article! I’m in the midst of a redesign of my site, and looking for bullet point to use in my own marketing efforts. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  9. Useful article, nice job

  10. The design of my business site is a shocking 7 years old, and in urgent need of a major overhaul. This article is a useful reminder of the bases to cover. Watch this space!

  11. Thanks for providing such a substantial post. There is so much detail I’m going to have to revisit the page.

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