Website Redesign: When It's Time for a Change

Article excerpt

A web presence is now a must for almost any business. According to Mary Elges of Pinnacle Decision Systems (www.pinndec.com), a computer consulting and software development company, "The web has grown up so much in the last couple of years, with faster connection speeds, new development technologies and browser enhancements, [that] many of the older, static or frame developed websites now look outdated." She offers the following suggestions for freshening up a website:

* Clear look and feel When the Internet first started, it was geared more toward technical people, and many early websites reflected that. The current standard is for a website to have a clean, understandable, and consistent look and feel.

* Updated content. Update your content at least quarterly, if not more often. One of the worst mistakes to make is to allow your site to be static with no change. When someone visits your site a second time and sees that the information remains unchanged, chances are they will not come back. * Simple navigation. If you make your navigation difficult to follow, visitors will not only get frustrated and have problems finding information on your site, they also won't return. Online users have become accustomed to a certain style of navigation and site structure that avoids confusion and allows them to easily take full advantage of the information available.

* Not just text. Unlike the simple webpages of the Internet's early days, today you need a hook to keep visitors coming back for more. This can be done by incorporating newer technologies such as Macromedia Flash, motion graphics, news feeds, and other ideas so that the site never gets stale. Strike a balance between design and content so users with slower connections or older equipment don't get frustrated.

* Make it interactive. An attractive website can be an expensive proposition, but there are ways to provide low-- cost interactivity. For example, design a member portion of the website for newsletters and forums, or create a database for visitors to log personal information. …