As customer expectations move at the pace of the web, letting a website linger way past its sell-by date will have a lasting, negative impact on your business. Deciding when to start again can be tricky, so we’ve put together a guide to summarise some of the signs that show it is time to invest in a brand-new website.
In 2023, we know it’s never “just a website”. In most cases, your website gives people the first impression of your business, so having an up-to-date, user-friendly and fast website gives you the best chance to generate more business.
Quick Check: Why might I need a new website?
You know it’s time for a new website when yours is:
- Difficult To Use
- Doesn’t Render Correctly
- Not Mobile Friendly
- Hard To Update
In this guide, we’ve put together 9 reasons businesses need a new website so that you can assess for yourself whether it’s time to get a redesign. Many of these are rooted in the expectations of potential customers searching online today.
Here, we’ll cover the 9 reasons to get a new website:
- Your website looks dated
- The site is no longer fit for purpose
- Your competitors are way ahead
- You’ve not updated your website for a long time
- Your website isn’t easy to use on mobile devices
- It’s slow to load
- Customers find it difficult to use
- Your Employees find it difficult to use
- Employees are spending a long time working on the website
1. The web has moved on, and your website looks out of date.
The online industry moves at an incredible pace. There are new web design trends, techniques and layout options almost daily, so it is inevitable that your website will be out of date to a degree, and there is no getting away from this. Sure, you can re-skin a site and patch it up, but you’re essentially putting a plaster on it until the next time, and it will cost you more in the long run.
While some website trends come and go, it’s clear when a website looks dated. Customers searching for the first time make huge assumptions based on the quality of a website, and one that looks more suited to 2013 than 2023 will turn people off, losing potential business. But how can you tell which website trends are worth pursuing, and which will simply date your website further in a few years’ time?
Rather than falling for the ‘wow’ factor, this checklist helps us identify the trends that are here to stay:
Does it improve the User Experience? If it helps people navigate your website better or have more enjoyment from using your site, it’s worthwhile.
Does it improve website performance? A new design could decrease loading times, or help the website function in a more integrated way.
Would the website be a success without it? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – there’s no point in adding superfluous trendy features to an already successful website. But if it could be the lynchpin that holds the whole user experience together, go for it!
Does it help the site achieve its goals? Bespoke website design rejects the idea that there’s a one-size-fits-all formula for every business’s website. Each design is grounded in the specific goals of the business, guiding us to choose only the features that will advance the site towards them.
Using this checklist, I have been able to utilise existing new trends which are of benefit to the site as a whole and understand which trends to dismiss.
2. The site is no longer fit for purpose.
Sometimes the lack of functionality of a website is affecting the day-to-day running of your business, or you can identify holes in the online ordering process. When this happens, the site is working against you, rather than attracting and converting customers.
Your website should work with your business, not produce problems and extra work for employees. It can often be frustrating if you are constantly working around your site or having to change your workflow because of it.
If your website no longer works for you but against you, it’s time for a redesign.
3. Your competitors are way ahead.
This is a particularly tricky arena. Sometimes following the trends of the market leaders can reap excellent rewards because your new client base will already be familiar with the look and feel of your website, and it will reflect a professional approach to your business.
On the other hand, trying to keep up with competitors can lead to looking the same as everyone else, which is just as unhelpful as having a dated site. Rather than simply copying your competitors, updating your website can help your brand to stand out from the crowd.
We achieve this with a Design-First approach, putting the needs of your customer and their journey through the site before aesthetic changes.
This is the same approach used by Apple in the 90s when they decided to produce desktop machines that looked totally different to the beige boxes that were on the market at the time. Apple pivoted to emphasise design-led products and reaps the rewards to this day.
The decision to update in line with competitors or innovate to stand out normally depends on what market sector your business is in, so consult a web design expert to find the best approach for your business.
4. You’ve not updated in ages
The average lifespan for a well-designed website is normally 3-5 years, depending on the sector and competitors. In all honesty, if you had a website built yesterday and it was built poorly, it’s already time for a redesign! The day-to-day operations of your business can take up a lot of time, but without showing your prospective customers a professional and usable interface, you will struggle to gain their trust and increase purchases.
Your website should be your statement: your first impression. If it’s dated or, worse still, broken or not rendering correctly in modern browsers, it will be harming your image and your reputation as a business.
As developments in website creation, browsing and hosting capabilities progress rapidly, the longer you leave it to update your website, the more problems will arise. For example, if your website is using a payment method that hasn’t been updated since 2019, most likely it is not compatible with SCA (Strong Customer Authentication) systems such as 3DS2.
Using an outdated, non-compliant payment method is problematic for your customers and your business, as customers will be unable to pay, get frustrated and leave. We recommend simply using up-to-date payment methods that allow quick checkout. The best of these are self-contained and protected under a green lock (HTTPS) SSL certificate.
5. Your website isn’t easy to use on mobile devices
Ensuring your site can adapt to mobile phone screens, accounting for the differences in dimensions and orientation, is particularly important in today’s mobile markets. Responsive web design is a standard these days because almost everyone searches for services and products on their mobile phones more frequently than on a desktop computer.
If your website is not responsive, users will need to scroll sideways or zoom in to read the text. But mobile users are all about convenience. Rather than going to the extra effort, people will simply move on to one of your competitors. It is absolutely paramount to have a website design that can provide a positive user experience on every device, using responsive design.
6. It’s slow to load
Websites that take more than 3 seconds to load lose potential customers quickly. With millions of search results, at least 53% of users will simply click on the next link instead of waiting for a slow website, so it’s important to get this fixed quickly.
However, it may not be as simple as patching or reducing the number of plugins. Your website might need an updated CMS or a full overhaul to get speeds up to scratch.
It’s easy to assess your website’s speed with tools such as PageSpeed Insights. If you find that things are taking a while to appear, it’s worth speaking to a web designer who can advise as to what is slowing your website down.
7. Customers find it difficult to use: You need UX Design
User Experience (UX) is important to factor in when deciding whether your website needs a redesign. If it’s too difficult for visitors to your website to find what they need, purchase products or understand what your services are, you are missing out on potential business. The journey from your homepage or landing page to the checkout or enquiry can be simplified and directed even if your offering has many complex layers, with some clever UX design.
This usually involves creating an easy-to-follow “navigation flow”. If the flow is interrupted or not fluid, visitors can be frustrated and have a tendency to leave. In certain situations, there are accepted standards and habits that customers follow which we can play into to create easy navigation. For example, an eCommerce platform usually shows the cart or basket icon visibly in the top right of the page.
If your eCommerce site makes the customer search for the basket or scroll a long way to add products to the basket, or if the information around product pricing, VAT or deliveries is difficult to find, then your customer will struggle to complete the purchase, and you lose the sale.
8. Your Employees find it difficult to use: You need an up-to-date CMS
Using a Content Management System (CMS) that is not intuitive can also lead to frustration, delays and damage to your visibility online. With a small amount of training, you should be able to manage content on your website yourself, adding blog posts and new product pages in a few easy clicks via the admin area.
But if your CMS is out of date, it may not be user-friendly and require a more specialised operation, costing you more in the long run and leading to struggles further down the line.
9. Employees are spending a long time working on the website
Even with a usable CMS and appropriate training, there may be long processes of updating the website which can now be solved. For example, your website may be requiring a lot of manual work from you and your team to process enquiries and orders.
New integrations and automation options are being released all the time, so it may be worth updating your website to make the most of these algorithms, APIs and widgets.
If you can relate to any parts of this post, then you already know whether or not to redesign.
Having a new website built begins with an aim: a purpose. One of the first questions we ask is: “What do you want your website to do for your business?” and we go from there.
A new website can be tailored specifically to your goals, whether it’s lead generation or helping customers find information easily. A website redesign can help with:
Improved Branding: An updated website with a modern design can promote trust and brand recognition among consumers and improve the overall design and quality of the website can help to evaluate the trustworthiness of the company, thus enhancing the brand image and keeping the business relevant.
Smooth information flow: The core goal of a website is to provide information that helps visitors learn more about the business, products/services, and ultimately close deals, by having an optimal information flow and a website redesign can help to structure and present the information in a way that all the important stuff is easy to find.
Reduced business costs: A complete website redesign allows for re-evaluation of hosting and CMS, can run more efficiently, save costs in the long run, and cut costs of missed opportunities and lost revenue caused by an outdated website.
More sales and business: A website redesign allows you to make conversions the primary focus by presenting a flow of information that guides visitors towards actions such as purchase, subscription, or request for more information, which is something that older websites often fail to do effectively.
If you’re hoping a new website will help you gain business via search inquiries or if you just want more traffic to your website, you may be looking in the wrong place. In this instance, I would advise you to read about Search Engine Optimisation first, before completely rebuilding a possibly perfectly good website.
To get the most out of your website design, make sure your designers understand your requirements, functionality and sitemaps. Be open and honest and set goals. Take advice and, if it is in line with your website’s goals, then go for it! Employ designers and developers that have a track record of delivering. For that reason alone, eSterling is a great place to start.
Whether you are an eSterling customer or just looking around the web for some solid design trends for your next project then you’ve come to the right place. Every year brings its own trends and design fads and only a very select few stick, so I’m here to go through the good and bad of trends for 2022.
Light / Dark Options
This particular trend involves giving the user the ability to view your site in either dark or light mode depending on their preference. Having initially come from the back of Android & Apple’s UI options there’s a good reason for this trend to really take off in 2022. It has been proven that dark-mode reduces eye strain and conserves battery power on Mobile, Tablets & Laptops so it’s got that going for it too.
My take on this is a little more complex – I think if your websites traffic revisits your website either weekly or monthly then this would work and will give the user the impression that they’re getting a personalised experience.
If it’s added just because it’s a trend, then I’m not sure what value it really adds? Personally, I have Dark-mode set to my iPhone because I prefer the aesthetic but nothing more.
Would it work for your customers? What do you think?
These are traditional gradients that include normally 3 or more colours that are pulled together to create a gradient effect that can be seen online more and more. You can use them as element backgrounds or as part of a hero section.
I’ve seen this as a design style for corporate brands to appear more contemporary and ‘fun’ especially used alongside bright, vivid colours.
Although this trend leans heavily on the colours that have been selected, if you choose the right combination, this trend can look eye-catching and quite impressive.
I think if the target audience is right, the branding colours lend themselves to this look, this could be a trend which will continue to be used throughout the 2020’s.
Most Minimalist Design
I feel the word ‘minimalist’ features on every single design trend since the early 00’s. This new take on minimalism removes all unneeded elements and leaves the bare essentials, replacing them with whitespace.
This look is mostly used for ultra-modern brands who seek to be associated with a contemporary, minimalist lifestyle. So this look would work for modern furniture stores, tech brands and clothing brands aimed at 18-30 year olds – It’s all about the target audience!
I personally love this look as it cuts out the BS and leaves just the product/content etc. but it’s not right for everyone.
Now we’ve all seen the animated ‘menu’ or ‘hamburger’ icons which turn into a big ‘X’ to close the menu – Yes, this has been around for a while but LottieFiles has opened their doors and provided Web Designers with a toolbox of animated icons. I think this trend will really take off in 2022.
These light-weight icons can really enhance the UI of a website and as they’re SVG’s too – they are fully interactive on all devices and browsers.
When used correctly, this trend can really make a site look and feel more polished and complete. It gives the impression that the designer has taken their time to get things just right.
It’s a no-brainer, just do it!
If I was asked to give our customers or other like-minded people some advice for the web in 2022, I would say the following 3 words: Speed, speed, speed.
With every passing month, Google reaffirms their stance on slow, poorly built websites stating that they will be penalised resulting in a lower Google ranking which could be devastating for small to medium sized businesses.
Essentially this could be the death of these ‘off-the-shelf’ website builders such as WIX, Mr Site, Et al. If building your own website is a serious option due to cost then I would say it’s not worth it. You could do more damage than you could imagine.
If you rely on website enquiries or calls originating from your site, if it doesn’t rank, you’re dead in the water. In essence, what Google are trying to do is promote well built, fast websites over the slower, more poorly built websites. The Google Core Vitals are the new metrics which will come into force that test your websites responsiveness, speed and performance and potential they could decide on the success of your website.
Whilst we’re all experiencing the initial teething pains of ‘the new norm’, it’s becoming evident that businesses across the country are looking to invest more in Digital solutions to help bring their products and/or services to a wider market, so with that in mind we thought it would be a good idea to provide some insight into our pricing policy.
First of all, each business we speak to have their own requirements, but it’s imperative we know the targets of the new site so that once we have that information, we can then provide advice on how best to achieve those goals.
There are many different types of brochure websites so it’s important to know what’s right for your business and this is where we come in – once we know your aims, we know the ingredients that will let your business thrive.
Here’s a range of questions we’ll probably ask you prior to quoting:
- What makes your business different from the rest?
- Do you have a site map?
- Do you want to display previous works?
- Do you require a Blog or News Section?
- Does your business have any specific corporate branding?
- What is the main Call to Action of the new site? (Essentially, what do you want your visitors to do?)
- What level of design would work best for your target audience? Simple, corporate or ‘WOW!’
These type of questions really give us an insight into the type of Brochure Website you’re after but more than that, they give us the initial spark of interest which allows our years of experience to flourish. We’re then in a position where we can help, advise and support your new project.
Brochure Websites can cost anywhere between £2,000 to £10,000 depending on your specific requirements but it’s important to know that every decision made during the project is based on your goals and targets. We always try to educate and give the best advice we can to our customers.
Where to start with eCommerce!? First of all, it’s important to grasp just what an eCommerce website gives a business. You can’t hire a Salesperson who’s available 24/7 or is willing to take and process orders on Christmas Day!
No other asset will do what a well-built eCommerce website can do for a business – it’s that simple.
So with that in mind, just how much is a well built eCommerce website? Well just like Brochure websites, we ask questions, we probe for information, How many products? Do those products have options? Do those options change the price? Is their tiered pricing? How is shipping calculated? What payment provider(s) are you using? All these questions need to be answered so we can plan out the project and provide a clear quote.
Part of the eSterling fact-finding stage involves our eCommerce Specification document which is forwarded to all eCommerce prospects and gives us a solid base to work from.
Our eCommerce offering ranges from £5,000 – £30,000 but as I said at the start of this section, you can’t hire a Salesperson to do what a well-built eCommerce can do.
You get what you pay for
In every industry around the world, this phrase is true but in Website Design, it’s apparent even more so. Our industry is also populated with Freelancers, one-man-bands and people who have taken a course in Web Design 101 and think they’re experts.
When you’re dealing with an agency that has been around for nearly 25 years you get a lot more for your money. You get an experienced team working on your project, some of the best Designers and Developers in Birmingham, a dedicated Project Manager and access to one of the most dynamic Digital Marketing Departments around – and that’s all before your new website goes live!
Once live, your main contact will be our HelpDesk Department who can help and advise you with any queries you might have. You’re also in the capable hands of our Commercial Manager (Wave White) who can advise you on how to make the most of your website and be on hand to support your online presence.
Need help with your Website project or Digital Marketing?
Talk to one of our experts today on: 0121 766 8087
Call our Business Development Team on: 07533 898249
During these unprecedented and difficult times, there are many business owners who are trying to minimise financial risk for their business by pausing advertising efforts or cutting advertising spend.
This could be seen as a short term and temporary fix but eventually, this will lead to needless lost time and effort later on when it comes to rebuilding your marketing strategy from scratch.
So could this be the time to re-evaluate your existing budget and invest more in Digital Marketing? This blog explains why continuing with your marketing efforts is now more crucial than ever.
Grow your online presence & connect with your clients.
Following the government announcement regarding halting the spread of the virus, people are spending more time online and are using social media to connect with others. So this is the best time to grow your online presence and get more people to engage with your brand.
This could include working on your website to improve rankings and increase your site’s visibility when someone is searching for a particular product or service and being more active on social media. Even if your business is currently closed, you can still use social media to stay in contact with your current clients by showing your empathy and support during the outbreak or posting about small steps you have taken as a business to help people in need.
Make sure that information on your website or social media is up to date and keep your clients posted about any changes in regards to your services.
If you are not familiar or confident using social media, eSterling offer a complete Social Media Management service. We can manage your social activity and provide you with reports to track your online performance and engagement.
Understanding the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process which includes a number of steps and actions that aim to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website via organic Search Engine results. SEO is a long term process and the results are not immediately obvious. So now is the right time to invest in SEO so that your website is fully optimised for when the sanctions are lifted and business returns to normal levels.
eSterling are experts in all things ‘SEO’ and our SEO services provide regular reviews, up to date reporting and on-going support. We make sure the site is fully optimised and that you are targeting the right keywords as well as resolving all technical issues.
That gives you a big advantage over your competitors as many of them may have not looked at their SEO campaigns.
Time to invest in content.
Content is one of the main ranking factors for all Search Engines and Google has made it clear that a great content strategy can increase traffic and in-turn improve rankings. During these days people are spending many hours browsing the internet and reading articles. You should focus on updating your website’s content and optimising pages for desired keywords for your products or services.
Don’t forget to add or update your blog section with interesting and informative content to keep your customers engaged, even if your company is closed or you are not operating usual hours.
Take advantage of our copywriting services and we’ll create well-written, original and engaging content based on your brand and target audience.
Start online advertising by creating profitable Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns.
People are staying at home and searching for products and services online, so you could take advantage of the increased search volume and invest in PPC advertising. With Google Ads you’re in control of the money you spend and are only charged when someone clicks on your ads so most of the clicks will come from customers who are looking for your products or services.
If you have already set up PPC campaigns and your business is still operating then it is worth leaving these campaigns running as your customers may still be looking for your services or products.
Should you have any questions about online advertising and PPC, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here at eSterling we are still fully operational and can help you with online adverting and offer full support throughout this period and beyond.
Focus on your website and improve User Experience.
With daily traffic at an all time high, now could be the right time to think about a new website or a redesign of your old website to improve user experience. You need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, the page speed is good and navigation is easy with clear structure and defined call to actions on all pages.
If you are not currently selling products, now is a great time to convert your site into an eCommerce site or improve your existing site since most of the transactions are taking place online. With so many people in quarantine and not being able to go to the stores, eCommerce sales are booming!
We have years of experience in designing and building websites and we always endeavour to build sites that exceed your expectations and generate you more business. Give us a call to discuss your project & requirements today!
At some point in the future this pandemic will pass, so you will need to make sure that you’ve got your business ready to go. Investing in your online strategy now, will reap the rewards further down the line.
We are here to help! We can help you promote your business online and develop an effective and measurable Digital Marketing strategy.
Call us on 0121 766 8087 and tell us what you want your website to do for your business.
The COVID-19 pandemic means that almost all businesses have had to change how they operate to cope with the new social distancing measures in place.
Consumers are currently seeking out as much information as possible regarding services and products that have been affected by the lockdown. For all businesses, getting this information online is vital in ensuring your business can continue to operate as smoothly as possible whilst everything remains in flux.
Although your website might be the primary point of contact for all of your customers, there are other channels that are key to ensuring all updates are as visible as possible.
Here’s some tips on how you can communicate effectively with your online customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Your website can often serve as the main point of contact for customers or clients looking for more information. If your business operation has changed significantly due to COVID-19, it’s definitely worth getting this on your website as soon as possible. It is also worth updating your site to reassure any users if your business activity is unchanged to let them know that any services or deliveries will be uninterrupted during the period of lockdown.
Notices should also cover any impact to customers, how employees are being protected with social distancing, any services or timescales that will be affected, changes to opening hours, any alterations to how customers can contact your business and anything else may be changed due to the restrictions.
Depending on the amount of information you need to communicate, this could take the form of a short message in the header, a paragraph on the homepage and FAQ section or dedicated landing page for all COVID-19 updates.
If you need to put notifications on your website, but aren’t sure how to action this, the eSterling design team can help provide a solution that will best integrate with your existing website design and ensure anyone who lands on your site is up-to-date with any changes to your business. We also offer copy writing services that can help effectively communicate your message to customers.
Mailers to current clients and customers is the ideal way to directly communicate with the individuals who will be most affected by any changes to service. A mailing list therefore can be a powerful tool for getting a message out during quarantine.
Recipients are most likely going to be most interested in what measures you are taking to reduce risk and how this will impact any services they have with yourselves.
Producing a short, punchy email with a clear subject line can easily distribute this information to everyone who needs it most. By keeping the copy simple and details down to the essentials, emails can be one of the most effective forms of communication over this uncertain period.
If you don’t currently have any mail campaigns set up or need some assistance with your current campaigns, eSterling can help. Our marketing and design teams are able to put together high quality mail campaigns for you, making the process quick and stress free.
Google My Business/Local Listings
For local businesses, Google My Business can often be the first thing users will see in search when looking for your company. Updating this listing is vital in making sure any changes in local business operations are highlighted to customers.
Google themselves have advised on updating store hours and putting as much information about COVID-19 measures via posts and descriptions in their GMB profiles.
Before making any changes, be aware that Google have changed some features and functionality of GMB listings.
It’s also worth updating any key profiles you have such as Bing Places, Yelp, TripAdvisor and any other directories or platforms that offer local business information to users.
If you need assistance updating your Google My Business listing or any other local directory listings, then eSterling will be happy to help.
Social media is one of the quickest ways to get information out to the world, as it’s the easiest way to provide updates to a wide user base in real time. Facebook and LinkedIn have all put out guides on how to keep customers updated on their platforms. This mainly involves making as many posts as possible, ensuring the most important updates are clearly visible and you are promptly responding to any messages you get during this period.
If you need some assistance with your social media strategy during quarantine, eSterling has a dedicated marketing team who can help find the best solution for you businesses as things continue to change.
Structured Data is a useful way to keep customers updated that may be overlooked by a lot of websites.
Structured data is code in a specific format that can be read by search engines to present the information within search results.
For instance, sites can use the itemAvailability structured data to display stock availability directly within search results. Options for this include InStock, OutofStock, Discontinued, has LimitedAvailability, is available InStoreOnly, OnlineOnly and more. This can be extremely useful if your store has moved all of its products to online only availability to reduce contact between employees and the public.
There’s a variety of quarantine related info that can be presented in search results through structured data, including event cancellations and creation of now-virtual events. Google have also added a SpecialAnnouncement data option for any COVID-19 related announcements to be displayed next to your website in search results.
For more advice on how you can implement structured data or amend existing data, please get in touch with our team now.
User reviews are integral to online success in 2019 – the power of one customers’ thoughts should not be underestimated in its influence on other potential customer.
A Google My Business profile is one of the main ways to gather reviews for your business. Just accumulating genuine reviews through Google is a great way to boost business in itself, but prominently displaying these on your website is even more important.
According to data from BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local business (increasing to 95% for people ages 18 – 34). Consumers are always seeking out social proof to ensure they are making the right decision, If reviews from a trusted source like Google are prominently displayed on your website, this social proof is right in front of them, decreasing the chance that they will look elsewhere.
Google reviews also help build trust more than a traditional testimonials page. Google recommends that all the site owner should have control over all main content except for user generated content such as reviews and comments. Testimonial pages with static reviews are controlled by the site owner, and don’t guarantees legitimacy. Reviews that come directly from Google cements trust in users that reviews are legitimate.
This also has SEO benefits for your website. Review signals are a big ranking factor for Google’s “local pack” – the listings that appear underneath the map on local searches. More reviews mean you will appear higher in these local search results, putting you in front of more customers in your local area. Onsite reviews from third parties also help boost page quality, which can have a positive impact on search rankings and traffic.
Perhaps most importantly, if your website has eCommerce features onsite reviews can help boost conversions massively. Social proof is one of the biggest deciding factors to whether or not a customer chooses to buy a product.
If you don’t have Google Reviews on your site currently, eSterling can help.
Our team of web designers can install a Google review widget onto your site that will fit perfectly into your existing website design.
Contact us now for more information on our Google review widget.
Online shopping has become a central part of daily life for millions across the UK. With internet speeds improving, fast mobile data coverage extending across the country and websites becoming more feature-rich, eCommerce websites are quickly taking up more and more market share from traditional brick and mortar retail stores
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2018 one in every five pounds spent in UK retailers was online.
With so many people now going online to purchase goods, if your eCommerce website isn’t up to scratch, you could be missing out on a lot of business.
To help improve your eCommerce site, eSterling have put together four steps to get your eCommerce performing better and generating more sales.
Create an Easy User Journey
Customers are quickly put off by complex, confusing sites that lead them on a wild chase to find what they want. Sites that have an easy to follow structure, clearly displayed information and simple payment and checkout process are much more likely to convert site visits into sales.
Your products should be grouped into easily identifiable categories and subcategories with a simple navigation that allows your users to quickly see the next steps they can take. Design and functionality should blend together to promote uncomplicated navigation through the site.
Users also expect clearly displayed pricing, shipping cost, estimated delivery dates and returns, so all eCommerce sites need to make this information easy to find. To further support customers, offer uncomplicated ways for them to contact you if they can’t find the information they need.
Multiple steps in the checkout process will cause users to abandon their purchases. Anything that can be done to simplify this process down as much as possible will reduce cart abandonment and ensure that your site is converting to its full potential.
If you need help creating a seamless user journey, eSterling have over 40 years of combined commercial experience in web design – our team of designers & developers are experts at combining stunning aesthetics with simple usability, allowing users to navigate eCommerce sites effortlessly.
Focus on Product Pages
When eCommerce sites have hundreds of products for sale, optimising each and every product pages can often seem like a gargantuan task. However, neglecting this will damage your chances to succeed in the online marketplace.
Creating successful product pages is centered around communicating as much information as you can about the product in the most concise way possible.
Product descriptions should be clear and engaging, including what your product is, what it does and why it’s better than your competitor’s products. Any important info about product specifications should also be prominent so customers will feel confident they have found the right product for them.
Good photography is equally important – when searching the internet for goods, consumers will often scan the page rather than take in every detail. The first thing customers will see is the product image so high quality and correctly sized imagery is imperative to converting more sales.
Track Site Performance
Understanding exactly how your site is performing is key to success in the eCommerce world.
Tracking site performance and looking at how customers interact with your site will allow you to see exactly what you need to do to improve your eCommerce experience.
For instance, if your data is showing that users are adding items to the cart but abandoning the process during checkout, you know you need to look at how you can improve your checkout process.
Installing eCommerce tracking allows for lots of useful insights such as this, and will become one of the most important tools at your disposal.
eSterling offer eCommerce tracking with our eCommerce SEO, which allows you to accurately track how customers interact with your site.
Trust is one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding if you buy a product online. If a customer doesn’t trust a site with their payment details, there is very little chance they will make a purchase.
A professional site design is one step toward building trust with potential customers, but this shouldn’t be the only thing you do.
Getting onsite customer reviews is a great way to build trust – social proof is one of the most important aspects of how people to decide to interact with websites. If it is prominently displayed that other people have had a good experience with buying from your site, it will be much more likely thta others will make a purchase.
Making sure your site has an SSL certificate is equally important to ensuring users trust your store. Google Chrome has now started marking sites without HTTPS encryption as “Not Secure” in the address bar. With online safety being at the forefront of people’s minds, seeing a warning like this could prevent many users from trusting your eCommerce shop.
eSterling offer Google review widgets for your site, prominently displaying your Google reviews on your site’s homepage, as well as SSL certificates with out hosting packages. Get in touch now for more information
It seems like a good thing to have, and there’s plenty of companies out there who harp on about its effectiveness and how it improves the search rankings. So here is some information we thought would be useful
What is Google Business View?
Based on Google Street View, Google’s Business View gives users an inside view of your business. The idea is that, instead of just seeing a shop front, warehouse or generic office facade, you can now do a virtual walk in and see what the business looks like on the inside.
The difference from Google Street View is that there is no special Google vehicle doing the photographs. Instead, to get all those 360° images, you must hire a trusted agency (which we are) – it’s not something you can just do yourself.
The web seems to be unanimous in saying that there are benefits to having your business included in Google Business View. Having images of your business displayed right next to search page results should give customers a better sense who you are, and whether you are a real and trusted company.
So, it would be fair to say it will help your click through rate. But will it help your search ranking?
To date, it there doesn’t seem to be much research on this, and Google are pretty “hush hush” about it.
“An article that appeared in Moz.com in 2013 did show that sites that ranked high in local searches and have also adopted Google Business View managed to retain their dominance.”
Which suggests a correlation between having Google Business View and maintaining a Google ranking.
One thing we are fairly sure about, is that Google usually looks after those who use a Google feature. Having a virtual tour may not directly boost rankings, but is will increase trust, which does play a part in the local algorithm.
What can we offer with this Google 360 service?
- High quality 360 degrees walkthrough of your business from a Google Trusted & Verified agent
- Images linked to allow a virtual walk around offering a Virtual reality experience
- Interior & Exterior images
- Improve your Google presence
- Improve traffic to your website
- We will add the feature on your Google Business page, maps and street view
- Can be viewed across all mobile devices
- The codes/306 will be embedded onto your website
- The codes/306 can be embedded onto your social media accounts
- Ideal to show your showrooms/offices/factory/industrial/Warehouses
To discuss this package please contact Wave White on 0121 766 8087
Letting a website linger way past it’s sell by date will have a lasting, negative impact on your business but knowing when to start again can be tricky, so here’s some tips and signs that will help you to know when to invest in a brand new website.
Here are some of the most obvious signs that your website needs a redesign:
The web has moved on.
The online industry moves at an incredible pace and new trends, techniques and layout options appear almost on a daily basis therefor it is inevitable that your website will be out of date at some point in the future. There is no getting away from this. Sure, you can re-skin a site (this can often be more expensive in the long run – Ed) and patch it up but your essentially putting a plaster on it until the next time.
Web Design trends are a funny business. They can have the ‘wow’ factor but they can also date a website badly. I have a checklist which let’s me know if a trend is here to stay:
- Does it improve the User Experience?
- Does it improve website performance?
- Would the website be a success without it?
- Does it help the site achieve it’s goals?
Using this checklist I have been able to utilise existing a new trends which are of benefit to the site as a whole.
The site is no longer fit for purpose.
If your website is effecting your day to day running or you can identify holes in the online ordering process the site is already not fit for purpose. Your website should work with your business and not produce problems or extra work for employees. it can often be frustrating if you are constantly working around your site or having to change your workflow because of it.
Using a Content Management System (CMS) that is not intuitive can also lead to frustration. It is important that you are fully trained to use your particular CMS once the site is built and neglecting this can lead to struggles further down the line.
If your website no longer works for you but against you, it’s time for a redesign.
Your competitors are way ahead
This is a particularly tricky arena because sometimes following the trends of the market leaders can reap excellent rewards because your new and existing client base will already be familiar with the look and feel of your website and will reflect a professional approach to your business.
On the other hand, sometimes it is better to stand out from the crowd and put design first to help you achieve this. An example of this can seen with Apple in 90’s when they decided to produce desktop machines that looked totally different to the beige boxes that were on the market at the time. Apple pivoted to put the emphasis on design led products which reaped dividends.
This choice is normally dictated by what market sector your business is in so consult an expert on the subject to find the best approach for your business.
You’ve not updated in ages
The average lifespan for a well designed website is normally 3-4 years but in all honestly, if you had a website built yesterday and it was built poorly, it’s already time for a redesign! We get that your busy with the day to day operations of your business but your prospective customers want signs that you’re professional about all aspects of your business and a dated looking website is a surefire way of losing potential business.
Your website should be your statement, your first impression and if it’s dated or worse still, broken or not rendering correctly in modern browsers it will be harming your image and your reputation as a business.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “It’s only a website”. In most cases it’s the first place people go when speculating your services.
If you could attribute at least one of the following words or phrases to your existing website it’s time for a redesign:
- confusing to use
- not rendering correctly
- not mobile friendly
- hard to update
- Content Management System is confusing.
If you’re wondering whether having a new website will help you gain business via enquiries or you want more traffic to your website, the simple answer is no. In this instance I would advise you to read about Search Engine Optimisation before completely rebuilding a possibly perfectly good website.
If you can relate to any parts of this post then you already know whether or not to redesign.
Having a new website built begins with an aim, a purpose. “What do you want your website to do for your business?” is one of our first questions we ask and we go from there. Make lists of requirements, functionality, sitemaps and anything else you can think of! Be open and honest and set goals. Take advice and if it is inline with your website’s goals then go for it! Employ designers and developers that have a track record of delivering and for that reason alone, eSterling is a great place to start.
The new eSterling website has been a labour of love for myself for just over 18 months now and the result is so far removed from the original ideas and sketches I created back in the winter of 2015.
As we know everyone’s a critic so I knew my ideas had to be solid and without doubt, the right way to go. So with that in mind I set about tearing through the old eSterling website to find a more streamlined sitemap which focussed on three main elements:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- Evidence of our success
Once I got a defined page list I was able to begin sketching out the main pages which were to make up the bulk of the new website.
It quickly became evident that the copy from the old website did not have the tone I wanted for the new website – it was stuffy and very formal. So with the help of the beautiful people from our SEO department we were able to come up with more relaxed, engaging copy which reflected a more friendly approach.
After sketching out the layouts of all the main sections of the website and confirming the UI elements, I finally opened Photoshop to address the design’s look and feel. Once I’d selected the right design elements according to our branding guidelines and created some concepts from within Photoshop the home page began to take shape.
The home page dictates the style of the whole website and therefore, at that stage every design decision was pivotal in the make-up of the new site. Now, I would be lying if I said that this stage took a couple of days, it in fact took 3 months! The structure, layout, typography, imagery and individual elements had to flow and with this in mind I began to obsess over every little detail.
I had to draw a line in the sand and when I saw that my revisions were not as good as what I had originally designed I realised I had to move forward or risk the whole project going stale.
I then had a home page which I was (generally) happy with, the mobile and tablet versions were created alongside the desktop version using Photoshop’s lovely Art board feature.
So, do we need a CMS? If so, WordPress? What responsive framework do we use? Maximum grid width? Which font repository do we use?
In short I went with the following:
- No CMS – More light weight and we’re web professionals – we shouldn’t need a CMS to update our own website!
- A much scaled down version of Foundation – Light weight and simple to use
- Fluid grid system of 100% & 1200px – Why tie yourself down to just 1?
- Google Fonts – They have the right fonts and in the right weight
It’s these decisions that we make daily that are vital for any website we build, not just our own.
…It’s off to work we go
At this stage I was fully entrenched in Sublime Text trying to create the best website I’ve ever made. Beautiful, fast, informative, responsive, easy to follow, the list goes on! It was very challenging and a lot of fun!
I would often ask my fellow designers for their input and something which kept coming up was imagery. We lacked high quality images of the staff and premises so I scoured the web for Birmingham based photographers who could come in to eSterling Towers and take some beautiful pictures of the staff at work.
The name that jumped out was Ross Jukes. He was only in the office for what felt like 10 minutes but he produced some really amazing pictures for the new website. We hope you like them because we certainly do! Ross is available for commercial work so visit his website here.
When taking on positive/negative criticism it is important for any designer to keep the initial vision and aim of the site firmly in mind. If any advice or criticism deviates from the original plan, discard it with a polite ‘Yea, I’ll look into it’, but it is just as important to accept criticism when it works towards your original goals. Don’t be too stubborn to accept it with a ‘Yea, that’s a good shout’.
Once the team had taken a good look at the website and decided it was ready, we then set about launching eSterling.co.uk v3.0.
The website launched on Thursday 4th August 2016 and I really hope you like it.
Special mentions: Richard Locke, Wave White & Antoniya Darova for glorious PHP and copy that makes sense!