Websites are like elements of fashion. While they are functional, they also are subject to the current trends of society. Needless to say, what is in today may not be what will be important in the future. Social sites like multiply and MySpace showed us that what may be popular does not guarantee a progressive success in the long run. As a website owner, it is critical to have a long-term vision for your site, and the willingness to make constant changes to it.
Here are some tips that can help you keep your site in ‘fashion’:
Keep it Simple
Keep the site’s main idea or goal simple. If it cannot be defined by one sentence, rethink the idea. Sites thrive when people can navigate smoothly within its spaces. Make sure that the deepest page is 3-4 clicks away from the homepage at most. While minimalism is not a rule, it is (for now) what people look for in websites. Consider graphic elements such like Flash to be supplements to the user’s experience. They should just be side features rather than the main attraction.
Study Your Customers
Your users’ habits can tell you a lot of things. It is important that you readily observe their movements within your site through Analytics tools. Take notes on things like which sections receive the most visitors, where the users exit or ‘bounce’, and what areas they spend the most time in. Grow your client base by adjusting your site to these findings.
Go Directly to Your Customers
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients what they want. Email them or send them links to a customer satisfaction survey. Most clients will appreciate the opportunity to be a part of making changes to a favorite site.
Make Gradual Changes
While people want progress, they are adverse to dramatic change. It is important that you do not shock them with an overall facelift to your site. People are often sentimental about certain things. Unless you are willing and able to lose a huge block of your viewers, make small changes to your site. Schedule it in such a way that they will have a minimal effect on the users. It can be even prudent to notify them of these changes weeks before they are applied.
The Bottom Line:
Sites can either age well or become defunct. The fact of the matter remains – change is one thing that happens quite quickly on the internet. If you want to be ahead of the game, keep it simple, know your customers, and apply small changes continuously.
Tim Armstrong loves to write about research analysis and internet marketing strategies, particularly focusing on surveys
and the many benefits they can provide to any business.