Some people live for trendy fashion shows and the haute couture of Paris and Milan’s fashion houses — a pastime I’ve never quite understood. Something about the odd shapes, crazy face coverings, and experiments in fabric. Then again, I’m a “jeans and Vans” guy. Give me what’s comfortable and I’ll be happy.
But that’s design for ya.
Christian Dior had his opinion; I have mine. Neither of us is necessarily wrong. We just see things differently.
With business websites, opinions are all over the map. Should the website design be conservative and functional, say for a large corporate consultancy or tax accountancy? Or should it be bright and dynamic, like current trends in SaaS and technology websites.
B2B website aesthetics all differ based on the designer’s opinion and industry, target audience, and requirements. Functionality is paramount, but there is no avoiding that sometimes our employer’s website can be a source of irritation, even embarrassment.
When Websites Go Bad
For example, poor website navigation can make it difficult for visitors to find important information. This puts an unnecessary burden on support staff who have to take trivial calls from confused customers. Instead, a simple design improvement, like better navigation or an FAQ section, could make everyone happier.
What about sales? An outdated or incomplete website can keep you from hitting those revenue targets. Take, for example, the sales pitch. Sales teams may find it difficult to close deals because, after doing due diligence, prospects may find inconsistencies between the pitch and the messaging on the company website.
If your sales are lagging take a look at how your website is affecting your sales numbers.
So, What Can You Do?
So, what can you do if you don’t like your company’s website design? Especially when you are not the decision maker or work in IT?
First, we all need to remember that design is in the beholder’s eye. Below the surface, business websites can be extremely complex. Your executive team may love the corporate website design and may have invested a lot in things like design, plugins, integrations, and functionality.
But, just because a corporate website was expensive to build doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Far from it. If you’re not the key decision maker, you can still approach the subject objectively and logically.
The trick is to steer clear of colors and aesthetics and stick with measurable data, customer feedback, and proven industry trends.
Ready? Let’s gather some data and get ourselves some proof!
Tip #1 Run A Speed Test
We’ve written about optimization tools in the past so we won’t rehash the details again. Read our post Four Free Tools To Audit Your Website For Top Performance. One tip was running a free website speed audit.
Sites like Pingdom and GTmetrix offer speed scanners to measure site speed from all over the world. How do these help you? For starters, they show you how visitors might experience your company’s website.
Slow sites equate to serious problems.
If your site feels sluggish or customers are complaining about slow loading times, you can run a speed test and confirm it. This gives you concrete data to discuss with the responsible party at work.
Tip #2 Spy On The Competition
A simple way to assess your own site is to spy on what your competitors are doing with theirs. Check out other websites in your industry by running a Google search. Many business leaders have said they feel like they’re cheating! They never check, then puzzle over why the competition gets more leads from their website.
Keep in mind, we’re not talking about corporate espionage here. Just some simple search queries. The trick is to think like a potential customer. What type of SEO keywords would you use if you didn’t know your company’s name or industry buzzwords? Do you like what you find?
I’ll let you in on a little secret, your nearest competitors are already doing this to you. All. The. Time. They have Google triggers, data scrapers, and SEO/SEM tools alerting them to your every marketing move. They probably already know your target keywords, your search terms, and whether you’re spending money on PPC or social ads.
Online strategies are nearly impossible to hide with intelligent marketing tools.
Fight back. Arm yourself with proof, then show your leadership team how improved your competitor’s websites are. The longer your old, outdated website stays up, the easier you make it for them.
Tip #3 Take A Long (Virtual) Walk
The third tip is very similar to the one above. No, I’m not suggesting a walk outside will cure your website ills. But it’s not far off. Whenever I run out of creative steam, it’s nice to get outside in the fresh air and let nature inspire me. Sometimes we need to take an inspirational digital walk.
Staring at our same company website day in and day out can give us tunnel vision. We become so familiarized with it; we miss what the rest of the world is doing.
As a web design agency, we regularly see business websites that haven’t changed in years! Talk about stale. Need an example? Use the Wayback Machine to explore what apple.com looked like 5 years ago. Shocking, right? Imagine if they never updated their website?
Think about it… if your site is getting long in the tooth, visitors could respond the same way to your website.
Trends change, styles come and go, and the way people interact with websites isn’t the same as it was years ago. If you want to stay competitive, you need to keep your website design fresh. How?
Hang out where designers hang out.
Designers are a generous bunch. They’re always sharing and comparing their design ideas. You just need to know where to look. If you followed my tip #2, you’ll have a head start on industry trends. Armed with that information, explore the fresh designs on Awwwards, Behance, or read design agency case studies.
Is It Time To Make A Change?
You may not be a designer, developer, or in charge of your company’s website, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless. Executives are busy people. They sometimes miss what’s happening on the front lines. You can be their eyes and ears. Not to point fingers or call someone out, but to lend a genuine hand to the benefit of everyone in the organization.
I mean, what company doesn’t want more leads and website conversions?
If you work in a customer-facing position at work, you owe it to your company and your customers to ensure your website is doing its job. Use the three tips above to measure if it’s slow, outdated, or off trend.
Need more inbound marketing help? Grab our free guide, Make Your Website A Selling Machine, below. Then hit us up with your questions. Our team will be glad to help.