As a marketing consultant, I see the design of a website being overly prioritized, while the marketing and sales teams miss out on valuable leads. It’s a frustrating experience for everyone involved. So here are the top six reasons that you should fire (or at least, have a good talking-to) to your website designer or developer:
1. Your Website Is Being Held Hostage During a Redesign
Oftentimes during a website redesign, your webmaster or web designer will take your website “hostage,” meaning that you cannot make any updates to the current site OR new site until the new site launches. Since website redesigns can take months, it can be months until you can optimize your website for SEO and lead generation.
Do you really want your website to remain dormant for months? Leads are qualified prospects, so you could me missing out on months-worth of customers, just because your designer is being possessive of your site during a redesign. Just think of how much cash you’re losing out on. At the very least, you should be able to add a few call to action buttons to your homepage and other website pages, leading to simple landing pages that include a form so people can exchange their contact info for whatever you’re offering. If you can’t make those simple updates, it’s time to start looking for a new developer.
2. Your Website Is Being Held Hostage ALL THE TIME
I’ve seen it happen where someone’s website is held hostage not only during a website redesign, but all the time. Every little button, tweaked paragraph, or new page of content needs to be added by the designer/developer, and this can often be a time consuming and expensive process.
If you have to pay and wait for every little tweak you make to your site, or every time you want to switch in a new call-to-action (CTA) button, you should think about finding a new web developer (or switching agencies if you’re outsourcing).
3. You’re Not Being Allocated Any Space For Calls-to-Action
During a website redesign, your designer will be focused on the aesthetic details of your site. He may be giving you a hard time when it comes to reserving some space for you on the homepage (above the fold) for a couple CTAs. When this happens, it’s important for you to remember that the true goal of your site is to generate leads. Without having CTAs on your homepage and other website pages that lead to landing pages with compelling offers, you will not easily be able to get leads.
Your designer might not only give you a hard time about the space, but he may insist on designing the CTAs himself, adding another step between you and getting leads, or optimizing your conversion paths. Be firm and make sure that his highest priority should be to create a website that effectively generates leads. If he can’t agree, he should be out the door.
4. Images Are Where Text Should Be
If images are being used in the place of header (H1, H2, H3, etc.) or your navigation, that should be a big warning sign that your designer is not taking your search engine optimization efforts into consideration. It is important that the header of your page uses the HTML tags <H1>, and I’ve heard web designers argue till they’re blue in the face that having an image for the text in that place looks better. Remember, your website exists so that people can FIND your content and become LEADS. Your website visitors don’t care if the header text is a shade of red that isn’t of a standard web HEX code, and neither should you.
5. The Color Scheme Is Being Prioritized Over Site Structure
In addition to including search engine optimized content, your website should be very easy to navigate, and your content should be logically organized. Do not let your designer sacrifice usability in favor of a more “sophisticated” look. Confused users lead to abandonment and high bounce rates, rather than leads.
6. Your Site Is Being Converted to a Flash Site
Although Google’s ability to crawl Flash has improved over the years, Flash is not as effective at search engine optimization as an HTML site. Flash should be used sparingly, since you want to search engines to be able to crawl and index your website pages based on that remarkable content you’ve been working so hard to create. In addition to limiting your SEO benefits, Flash can make it difficult for your site visitors to navigate your site.
If your website designer doesn’t do any of the above, then you’ve found a keeper! But if so, you should recognize how much they’re hurting your business by preventing you from getting traffic and leads.
What frustrates you most about a website redesign process? Let me know in the comments below!
Diana Urban is a User Experience Manager at HubSpot. You can follow her on Twitter @dianaurban .
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