U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, November 2010 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

What is worse than having no website at all? Having a website that doesn’t meet its needs. The one that only costs money, and does not produce. Sounds familiar? Don’t get the leads or sales you expect from your website? Then maybe it is time for a website makeover.

And I don’t mean just a new image here and there, or a new look-and-feel. A true website makeover starts from the ground up. And a first step is: reviewing the effectiveness of your website – like an audit. What are your goals for the site, and are you meeting them? Have you even given these questions any thought at all, or did you just launch a website because you felt you had to? And if you did not get enough returns on your online investment: do you have a hunch what the reasons for this might be? Not enough traffic, not a professional enough looking website, too little calls to action, poor flow of content, or maybe even not enough content at all? Ask a friend, colleague or online professional for a second opinion if you are not sure what the problem might be.

And when it’s time to rebuild, make sure you don’t repeat some of the mistakes that the old site had. So: refrain from using tables to lay out pages, build all new code rather than porting over your old duct taped code, ditch that Flash introduction page, incorporate some of the new features like Social Media (easy bookmarking buttons, Facebook/Twitter feeds) and make your new site mobile ready. People are searching for anything online these days, and more and more of these searches are done on a mobile phone. Perhaps add a Content Management System, so you can easily update your site from now on. Perhaps add a blog, to let people know who they are dealing with, communicate special offers or showcase your excellent customer service.

And if one of your problems was “not enough visitors” then your website redesign is the time to do your keyword research, and optimize your new website from the start. Make sure to have proper 301 redirects for any pages that have been renamed or deleted, so that incoming links and Google’s search index can be updated. The last thing you want as a result of your website makeover is more dead links!

I know, change can be hard. And we are all busy. But you will see – it will be worth it in the end!

For more information: contact your webmaster, or email Nardo Kuitert at nardo@u-cwebs.com.

Nardo Kuitert is an Internet Consultant with Fergus Website Development and Optimization firm U-C WEBS (www.u-cwebs.com). U-C WEBS also offers Internet advertising opportunities on www.ferguspages.com. (link opens in a new window)

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