A website is like your home base. It’s essentially the foundation to which your other marketing pieces are built. Without a strong foundation, your collective efforts will likely crumble.

Maintaining a website that provides value to your target audience is an ongoing battle. It’s not like a Ronco Rotisserie where you can Set it and forget it!

Your website requires constant attention and updating. Now, that’s if we lived in a perfect world.

Business owners small and large know firsthand just how daunting the day-to-day management of their company can be. And, keeping tabs on their website on a regular basis can easily be left on the back burner.

But, if you’re reading this, you’re here for a reason. You understand the importance of a website and you want to know some tell-tale signs that it might be time for a facelift.

Let’s get to it.

Five Signs You Should Redesign Your Website

It’s not mobile responsive

In this day and age, your website has to be mobile friendly. Why? Because according to Statistica, 52 percent of all website traffic comes from mobile users. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, that percentage of people who land on your site via their mobile device will be greeted by a less-than-favorable experience. Not to mention, Google is now focused on basing their rankings on mobile rather than the desktop version of a website. If you’re not quite sure if your website is mobile responsive, check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to get your answer.

High bounce rates

One of the biggest indicators that you’re more than likely due for a website redesign is a high bounce rate. This piece of data shows the rate at which users are leaving your website. The higher the number, the quicker your users are jumping off your website and on to the next one. Some factors that can increase your website’s bounce rater are, but not limited to:

  • Slow load times –  You’ve probably landed on a website only to be met by a webpage that loads just about as slow as a turtle crossing the road. In those instances, you probably rolled your eyes and then navigated back to the search results to start over. Not only can slow loading pages inhibit your website’s overall performance, but Google holds sites with faster loading times in higher esteem which can help your site’s rank.
  • Errors – If by chance you notice a spike in your website’s bounce rate, you might want to take a look at your site to make sure that you’re not experiencing any 404 errors. A 404 error occurs when the server can’t retrieve the page that was requested. This can be caused by the following:
    • The file that was requested has been renamed.
    • The requested file was moved to another location and/or deleted.
    • The requested file doesn’t exist.

Simple updates are difficult to make

Making minor tweaks and changes to your website are a common occurrence. However, when simple changes like adding a blog post or even changing a product description are difficult to make, you might want to consider building a new website with a content management system (CMS) that everyone on your team can use. So, if your website is difficult to work with or a third-party holds the keys to making updates on your site, no matter how big or small, a website redesign can be your solution.

It’s hard to navigate

User experience can make or break your website’s performance. A great website is created FOR the user meaning it provides valuable content that’s relevant to the users’ needs and it’s easy to navigate. If your site is, for lack of a better term, clunky in that it makes your audience do nothing short of jump through hoops of fire to get the information that they want,  then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and draft out a new design and user path to better their experience while on your website.

It looks old

Last but certainly not least, perhaps the most obvious sign that you need to redesign your website is if it looks old and outdated. We’re living in a time where facelifts are as common as grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning and that same mindset should be applied to your website as well. If you’re rolling with the “What’s wrong with it? This website worked for us 20 years ago,” you DEFINITELY need a website redesign. Because even people with absolutely no web design background can spot an outdated website. And, let’s not forget that every page on your website acts as a first impression.  Aesthetically-pleasing and easy-to-use websites help make a good first impression and build and gain the trust of your consumers.

If you feel like you’re in the market for a website redesign or aren’t sure if your site needs an update, contact us today and we’ll work with you to get you the site you want and your audience deserves.

Being in the world of marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase persona thrown around in a strategy meeting. You likely have an understanding of what a persona is and how we in the industry use them to help craft messaging that resonates with the target audience. But perhaps you’ve taken them for face value and never really dug deeper to figure out the real (romanticized) reason behind personas.

Until today, that is. In this Flying Cork blog, we’re going to break down the reason you should incorporate personas into your process.  But first, where do you begin?

The starting point is in the discovery phase.

The process for website projects at Flying Cork consists of various phases. For larger and more complex projects, we start off with our discovery phase, otherwise also known as “Ideation.”

As with any design project, it is extremely important to know exactly what you’re creating, for whom, and why.

For the creative types among us (myself included), it’s difficult to fight the urge to dive right into the more tangible elements of a project like the features, technology, and visuals. However, this road is pitted with huge risks and hurdles, the biggest one being that the end product won’t address the wants and needs of the end user. While it may have all of the bells and whistles, it might not resonate with the people who matter most – your target audience.

This creative nightmare can be avoided by implementing a discovery phase into your project.

This leads me to the crux of this blog post: personas.

When all of the tools and exercises are complete, personas are at the very center of our discovery process. So what exactly are personas and how do we use them?

Personas are fictional characters – not real people. They incorporate traits and properties extracted from real-user research data, insofar as they are relevant to the users’ interactions with the website.

Although personas are fictional, good personas are very precise in their description/definition.

What are personas based on?

Market research, user behavior patterns, and any other target audience data you have available form the basis for personas. What you’re after is the information – most often around needs and wants – that outlines how different users approach and use the website. This data helps inform decisions about which personas should be created and how many.

They’re not user profiles

Although there are definitely dotted lines between personas and user profiles, they do differ in definition and usage. Whereas user profiles describe groups of actual people and their characteristics, personas are fictional entities that are artificially created to serve as a tool during the design process.

Elements of personas

Personas usually consist of attitudes, behavior patterns, goals (needs/wants), skills, and anything else relevant to the project, such as the context in which they will interact with the website. To add more realism, we also establish the following:

  • Name and portrait photo
  • Characterizing slogan (Ex: “Nit-picky Patty puts quality first”)
  • Marital status
  • Family background
  • Profession
  • Company information
  • Character traits
  • Emotional stances relevant to the interaction with the website

Different kinds of personas

Personas representing the website’s main target audiences should be treated with more detail and priority than personas representing audiences of lesser importance. A common categorization is the following, in order of importance:

  1. Focal – Primary users who are the main website’s target.
  2. Secondary – Also use the website. We satisfy their needs when we can.
  3. Unimportant – Low-priority users.
  4. Affected – Don’t use the website but are affected by it.
  5. Exclusionary – We’re not designing for them. Period.
  6. Stakeholders – usually clients who will benefit from the end product.

So, how many do you need? The number of personas is dictated by various factors like the scope and complexity of the website, the variety of needs of the target audience (more variety requires additional personas to represent the audiences), budgets, and time constraints. For example, medium-sized websites with limited functionality serving only two distinctly different audiences will need an average of four to eight.

I think I’ve covered enough for one week; check back for parts two and three where I’ll discuss how to use them, why to use them, and when.

Millions of marketing dollars are spent every year on digital paid advertisements. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make those dollars work harder for you?

Imagine if you could increase lead volume by 20-50% while keeping spend levels unchanged. With an effective landing page strategy, it’s certainly achievable—and may be easier that you’d think. Whether you’re dabbling in paid advertising efforts or you’re a long-time veteran, remember to pay special attention to your landing page content and design—it can make or break your campaign.

Ready to pump up your paid advertising efforts? Try out these easy tricks to increase landing page conversions.

Minimize any opportunities for a user to click away without converting.

That means taking out the top navigation or any links that could direct users away from the landing page. If you’re paying to send traffic to your landing pages, you really don’t want them to leave before you capture the lead. The ROI for that tactic is roughly equal to flushing your money down the toilet.

Put a form at the top right of the landing page, above the fold.

At Flying Cork, we’ve built a lot of landing pages. The ones with the best conversion rates almost exclusively have the form in this position. Why does this work so well? When a user sees the form first thing above the fold, they immediately understand that there is a value proposition: Is it worth it to trade their information for the offer? They don’t get stuck reading a page only to find out that they have to fill out a form in order to get what they really want.

Furthermore, a typical Internet user looks at a page like a book, reading from left to right. If there’s a form on the right side, then where does the headline, text and imagery go? In the empty space to the left, of course, becoming the first thing the user sees. With the right copy and feel-good imagery, you can prepare users for the information request.

Include a clear call to action on the form.

And by clear, I mean something that helps the user understand exactly what they’re getting in return for filling out your landing page form. Good button text includes language such as “Download,” “Get More Information,” or “Schedule Appointment.” Avoid vague text such as “Click Here” or “Go!”

Think about the mobile experience.

Mobile visitors usually have a different intent than someone on a desktop or tablet, and they tend to have a more urgent need for information. They want to act quickly rather than draw out the research process and wait for a reply after filling out a form. To help them get what they need as fast as possible, consider using a trackable click-to-call phone number.

Use clear headlines and scannable content.

No one is going to stick around to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of text on your landing page. Well, some might, but for the majority who won’t, make sure your headlines and design are conducive to scanning. Do your best to enable users to understand your offerings and unique benefits at a glance.

Up the trust factor.

You can make your landing page more trustworthy by including relevant partnerships, certifications or customer testimonials. Partnerships with or endorsements from recognizable associations can make users feel more comfortable with giving away their information. Including testimonials shows users that other people have used the product or service before them with good results. This should go without saying, but always make sure to include REAL testimonials—never fabricate them. You want people to trust you, after all!

Always have a thank you page.

Remember in tip #1, where we said to minimize any opportunity for users to click off the landing page? Well, if you have a thank you page, you can encourage users to click around your properties all you want. I wouldn’t suggest adding a top navigation here, because it will most likely lead to an inconsistent design experience. However, you can include links back to your website so users can learn more, or try directing them to your blog and social pages. Help them get engaged with your online properties—open up those gateways for them and make it easy for them to discover more. Of course, make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh content there to keep their attention!

Intrigued? Check out this blog post for more tips on thank you pages, or read how a former unbeliever saw the value of paid search.