Keeping Your Web Site Current

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Keeping Your Web Site Current

So you’ve got this great website and you’ve got a process in place to keep it current with up-to-date information. Now you can sit back and rest on your laurels and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Not Quite! Your job has just begun. In the wonderful world of the Web, visitor’s expectations run high; they like to see sites that are in a constant state of change with increasing amounts of new information and functionality that set you apart from every other site. This is especially true of business sites where the competition for market share is fierce. In order to stay competitive, it may be necessary in the not-too-distant future you may have to consider a facelift or in some cases a major redesign. At first, this seems like a scary thought, but if properly planned and executed can be fairly painless. There are a number of factors that will dictate the timing and type of change you will want to make to your site.

The beauty of the Web is that it provides a unique form of communication that can be updated almost instantly as soon as changes require. The catch is that because changes can be made so quickly, visitors tend to expect it.

A couple of factors come into play when determining whether a web site simply needs a simple managed facelift or a complete redesign.

Facelift

Eventually every web site needs a new look. Web sites decay with stale out of date text and graphics. Patchwork additions create confusing navigation. It’s time for a new look, and at the very least, a facelift is in order.

The facelift is generally done when there is a change in your marketing materials or marketing program and that change is to be mirrored in the appearance of the web site. This would include such items as:

A graphical presentation of a newly released product or service.
A new colour scheme to freshen the site.
A new marketing campaign with new brochures, CD-ROM’s, Business Cards and other promotional   material such as social media postings or a YouTube video.
A change to reflect web presentation trends within your industry and to keep your site appearing fresh and current.

Typically a facelift consists primarily of superficial changes without deviating from the overall structure of your site. You can just throw in some new graphics and eye candy such as rollover effects or animations. In the grand scheme of things the facelift can include all the components of an update, but augments it with a more visual change

Redesign

The redesign is essentially creating an entirely new web site from scratch and is done in response to advancements in web technology and presentation design. It also entails just as much work as creating an entirely new site from scratch as well. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives you the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the performance of your old site and develop improvements and enhancements for your new one.

Some of the factors that drive the need for the redesign include:

New web design technologies or major upgrades of current technologies to increase presentation and functionality.
Expansion of current information requiring changes to your navigation.
Change in your company’s industry positioning or demographic.
Changes to your site to improve customer service.
Staying ahead of your competitor’s site to develop or maintain a competitive edge.

Whether you need a simple cosmetic change or a complete from-the-bottom-up overhaul, the job at hand presents a unique challenge to both the business owner and the web designer. Both must anticipate future changes in the company such as new products, new processes, co-branding etc., and what technologies can be incorporated to provide a presentation with the highest impact.