Designing Your New Website in 2016-17
It’s tax time! Also . . . What’s happening with the website?
We’re currently in the process of re-designing websites for existing customers. It’s a big job.
Clients who have been with us for 18 months get a website redesign for 60% of the cost of a new website. While that sounds like a great deal, most of our clients don’t get around to even updating their existing websites for a few years. Usually around 4 years – when their website is truly old and grey. Oftentimes this is fine in terms of how a site looks or works but mostly there are problems and it makes me wonder about the plethora of websites out there that were designed in 2012.
Best practice SEO changes almost weekly (most certainly every month) and what I’m finding with most of the site upgrades are problems beyond just technical out-datedness.
Here are a few things to look out for when updating your website and some tips as to how you might fix these issues in the short term – until you can afford to have your site updated.
Website Redesign Thoughts
User-friendly Web Design
In April 2015, Matt Cutts, senior developer at Google announced that Google wanted all websites to be responsive. Google didn’t say that sites would be removed from search engine results, but it gave heavy-handed hints that non-responsive sites would be penalised.
The quick fix for all my WordPress sites was to implement the WP-Touch plug-in. Sometimes this rendered and awkward mobile version of the site but at least site content could be read on a mobile device and it avoided any nasty (and secret) Google penalties for not being a “going concern”.
Your Website Content
Most websites I’m currently upgrading haven’t added new content since they were built. Oh sure – a product or a service may have been added or new staff names and numbers, but in the scheme of things, this is a missed opportunity. There are some rumours on the web that Google is keen to reward expertly-crafted, long-form articles by positioning them higher in search. Here’s Google’s take on the issue.
We can all understand that with more than 1 billion websites, it must be difficult for Google to choose where to place results. Imagine the phone calls from people who crave to be Number #1 in search. As time goes by, I envisage that Gooogle will become stricter. It’s their search engine, so how they index your website and its associated content is up to them. My bet is that they will index long-form content and give that a few extra brownie points.
So in the meantime, before you are 100% ready to totally gut and re-build your website, you might want to think about what kind of expert articles you can include on your site.
We actually offer this as a service. It’s called Content Marketing and it’s effectively the modern form of SEO.
Updating website images
You need to think about your old website images. Do you have new ones from more recent projects? If not, you can still use older images but you will have to go back to the original files and output higher resolution versions. Many of the old sites I’m doing have 800w x 640h pixel images. Today I need the images to be 1920px wide – to cater not only for larger monitors but the recent move towards large full-width images on websites.
Author: Edwin James Lynch
Edwin wrote his first (Harrier Jump-jet) computer program in 1982. Today he builds websites and guides companies through best practice, future-proof web development. He lectured 15yrs+ at Curtin University where (in 2007) he was voted 5th best tutor out of 2,500+ Open University Australia tutor / lecturers.