Web Site Redesign – from stagnation to rejuvenation

2004-11-18by Herman Drost

When surfing the Web these days, you often come across web
sites that suffer from stagnation - they look old, obsolete or
appear to have been designed by an amateur. Your web site needs
continuous improvement to capture and engage your visitor's
attention. If not, they can easily click away to your
competitor's site.

12 steps to prevent web site stagnation

1. Define a clear purpose - when visitors arrive at your site,
they should immediately know what your site is all about.
You should introduce this in your first paragraph. A graphic
may help to supplement your explanation.

2. Create a clear theme throughout your site - as time goes by,
you may add things to your web site that has nothing to do with
your original theme. You hope it will attract more visitors.
This may be in the form of banners or links from other popular
sites. Don't do it! Why?

This only seeks to distract people from the focus of your site.
Instead, reevaluate your site's content and overall design.

3. Provide valuable content - "content is king" on the Net.
People are looking for easily accessible information about your
product or service. Your homepage should entice visitors to dig
deeper into your web site. Sometimes you are too close to your
web site, that you can't see what changes are needed to improve
Get other people to visit your web site and ask them for their
honest feedback. Based on this, make the appropriate changes.

4. Harmonize text and graphics - recent sites I've visited, had
hard to read text (they used the same font as they would for
printed media). Sometimes sites have all their text capitalized.
Others have a graphic that takes up most of the page, making the
web page slow loading or the text rolls onto the graphic.

Create your web pages where the background colors of your web
page are lighter than the text (black text on a white background
is still the easiest to read). Create graphics that enhance the
appearance of the page and support the content.
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5. Create site interactivity - a static web site won't allow
visitors to interact with your web site. Because the Web, is an
interactive medium, create ways in which your visitors will
either want to return or be invited to return. Here are a few
ideas to get you started:

Write an informative newsletter - create a subscription box on
your web site with a link to a sample of your newsletter. In
your newsletter you can invite them to new products and services
on your site.

Run a contest - include a contest form on your web page and
invite them to return to see if they are the winner.

Create a poll or survey - you could have a weekly or monthly
poll or survey, then publish the results at the end of period.

Create a chat room - invite people for one hour a week to chat
with you about your area of expertise. This may become something
they look forward to.

Give something away - people love freebies. If you do a search
for "freebies" on google you will get 1,400,000 sites that offer
free products or services. Make sure the product fits with your
target audience. 

6. Simple navigation - sites that make it difficult to find the
information you need, or make it hard to get back to the
homepage, lose visitors very quickly. Other sites have multiple
navigation systems that only create confusion.

Create a navigation system that is simple, quick and makes it
easy to guide the visitor through the site. This can be in the
form of text links or graphical links that are consistent on
every page.

7. Build trust and credibility - if your web site doesn't give
the impression that you can be trusted because you make
unbelievable claims, you will lose visitors fast. Here are some

Ask for testimonies from satisfied customers Give a guarantee
with your service or product. Provide well-written content
Create an "about us" page to give folks a little background of
whom they are doing business with. List any professional
associations you are associated with.

8. Web page popularity - examine your site statistics and see
which pages most of your visitors are landing on. If most of
your visitors are entering the less significant pages of your
web site, you may want to change the keywords of your best pages
to drive web traffic to them instead.

9. Site loading speed - this is the most important factor in
having folks visit your web site. If it is slow loading (more
than 10 seconds with a 56K modem), your visitors will click away
to your competition. Here are some ideas to speed up and cut
down on loading times:

Optimize your graphics so they are small in size. Don't use too
many graphics on one page. Clean up any bloated or unnecessary
html. Don't overdo your site with flash, java applets, java
script, and dynamic html

10. Research your competition - constantly keep an eye on your
competition for new technologies and new ways to communicate
with your audience. Take a look at the design and keywords they
are using. If they rank high in the search engines, this will
give you some ideas of how you can improve your own site.

11. Keyword density - analyze the amount of keywords you are
using in each of your web pages. Try to aim for a keyword
density on your site from 3-20%. This will give you a good
range. You can analyze your keyword density by using these
online tools:


Don't repeat your keywords more than 3 times. Use different
keywords for each web page.

12. Find a good web designer to redesign your site - look for a
design company that knows all the facets of the web site design
and marketing phases. This ensures you will have a web site that
sells (not just a nice design).  

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Herman Drost

Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of iSiteBuild.com Site Design and Low Cost Hosting from $30/year. (http://www.isitebuild.com)

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