The sad fact is that advances in technology can make a website design obsolete overnight. This is the case of many website owners who are realizing that their sites are not mobile-friendly. Not having a mobile-friendly website is basically to be obsolete, according to the new Google worldview, and these sites are downgraded. Now, you must challenge yourself to build a new website, whether you want to or not, or risk losing traffic. But, how do you get started?
Evaluate Your Old Design
A major redesign can be a positive experience. It allows for the addition of new features while it creates more opportunities for you online. Now is the time to address your old website’s drawbacks even as you upgrade to a responsive web design. Evaluate your old design for structural as well as design issues, and you can get a good handle on some new features you would like to incorporate in the new design. Some requirements, like responsive web design are critical, but others can be added to your wish list, like email list building, auto-responders, and more website automation for reporting, deliveries, and billing.
Check Out Other Websites
When was the last time you looked at your competitor’s site? Don’t just browse their pages, do a thorough analysis on it using tools that can break down their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy and social networking statistics. Use tools, like Alexa, to narrow down traffic demographics and gain some competitive insight. Make a list of the features the sites offer and how they differ from your own. This will give you an idea of how to best challenge yourself to build that new website so that it supersedes your old one by miles.
Once you understand the demands you will place on the new site, in terms of traffic and functionality, it’s time to look at the features that can handle them. It may be that your old hosting platform just doesn’t have the required features you need, but you won’t know until you make a list detailing what you want your new site to be able to do. Here are a few potential additional features you may not have on your original site, but it’s high time to implement them:
Responsive Web Design – You will need to decide what elements of responsive web design is best suited for your site. Will you be using Google’s Material Design standards or simple Flat Design? A grid may be more functional for an inventory of products, but an immersive video with hidden menus may be more appealing for a publishing venture. Figure out what is important in the design and nail down the look and feel you want before you spend one penny to get it done. Then, take a look at some free themes that offer web responsive design on the platform you wish to use to see if you can use one in your next website design.
Integrated E-Commerce Capabilities – If you have been using a third-party shopping cart, you may want to set up your own integrated e-commerce capabilities to manage inventory and pricing better. Some online entrepreneurs don’t want to deal with the intricacies of an online shopping cart because they think they are hard to install. In actuality, Internet providers that offer Joomla web hosting sometimes also offer 1-click installations, which include integrated e-commerce solutions.
Content Management System – You may have a website that is purely informational, with a blog and some teaser offers to get signups for a mailing list. However, to get a really professional feel to publications, you can offer online magazines, newspapers, and other publications in a format that reminds people of a glossy magazine. If your hosting package offers a content management system, you can also use it to create a multimedia presentation online that can be created in a collaborative environment even if your contributors are spread halfway around the world. You can set up rights for moderators, editors, and have a full-fledged publishing venture where you can engage your visitors daily.
Create Your Own Online Community – Once you start attracting a large audience, you may want to create your own online community, either as an intranet (for employees) or as a forum or portal for people who are visiting your site querying others for information in a specific industry. This helps to reduce the burden of having to publish new material constantly, if others do it for you. Fans may also like the idea of volunteering some of their time as moderators to help weed out posts that are distracting or offensive. The benefit of having an online community that is vetted by your audience is that you will always have a captive audience that you can survey for new ideas, pre-sell to, and that can vouch for your expertise, but it has to be supported by your platform.
Reservation Systems – If you want to set up a reservation system, Joomla web hosting can do this as well. Not every hosting package and platform has the capability for reservation systems, so if this is a priority, make sure yours does. Travel agencies, hotel bookers, car rental agencies, and other types of event planners can really benefit from reservation systems that can be booked online, without the need to involve a real live person. It can reduce manpower requirements, while keeping your reservations organized easily.
Make Your List, Check It Twice
A website redesign can catapult your business into new service areas, however, it has to be done with some forethought and planning. Test out potential platforms by taking a test drive before you decide on which offers the best features. Outsource, if you need a little extra help getting it off the ground. In the end, you will have established a website that not only is a better business model, but also makes you proud to be the owner.