the split test idea works well; google website optimizer is supposed to allow split-testing without loss in organic rankings. marketing experiments journal is a good resource to keep visitors on the eye path to influence them to complete the objective for which the site was developed.
and what bob said was right; sell him what he wants; everybody's trying to get somewhere else regardless; maybe he really wants a new site trying to sell a different product; and he is not prioritizing this one. try to find out what he wants out of the website and give him that; a nice concrete line of questioning will get you your answers: what do you want this website to do for you? what type of growth are you projecting for this website? with whom are you planning to meet these projections? etc.
|Ugly site sell and often times sell a lot. |
Yep. I'm in a service niche where 'brochure sites' and sites that show 'big business' and 'stability' are what everyone expects and demands.
My site looks like it was built in 2002. Actually, I think that's because the layout was done around then.
Yet my site converts in as good or better numbers than others in my industry. And that's because everyone coming wants info. (I don't sell anything on my site, just use it to collect leads).
Personally I love it when my competitors jump into a 2.0 website, particularly when the focus is on a new, nice looking website instead of conversions - and that happens in the majority of cases.
I'm actually in the process of implementing a new design on our site. But the new design? Still looks like it was built in 2002 :). Plain text, minimal graphics, some use of css stuff for color and font.
I guess I'm parrotting what what others have said. The focus should be on business needs, conversion and sales and not a new looking design (which has limited benefits and potential drawbacks). So if you think a new design will increase business, then propose it that way. of course the natural question is, why weren't these elements addressed during the initial design?
When you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you're a designer first and foremost, a new design looks like the thing to do. But what the business owner wants is more business, not a new design.
I have successfully sold a site redesign by quantifying the difference in behavior of endusers in various browers/resolutions. If you have access to their analytics/logs, take a look at the difference between visitors at 800x600 vs. 1024x768, ie7 vs. ff, various os, etc etc etc.
See if the higher-resolution, alternate browsers, more sophisticated users are behaving differently than the guy still using aol-dialup. If not, there is no case for a redesign besides pride. If so (and I'm betting there is a difference), you will have a very strong case and convince your client to go after these coveted customers.
Break it out in terms of percentages. 1024x768 are coverting at -20% than 800x600. ff is spending 30% less time on the site - things like this. By doing a little homework and showing the ROI, you can assure them the upgrade is well-worth the small investment.
This is a tough issue - speaking as someone who has worked on many designs back in those days and as a design agency owner who has done several hundred re-designs since I have learnt a lot.
I work in possibly one of the poorest areas of the UK so that has helped me really work with people to make the web a part of their business.
Functional sites that are easy to use make money simple as that.
Anything else is vanity - and unfortunately more in line with the designers wants than the business owner.
A better design does not make a better online business - heck a good template bought for $50 and a good open source CMS (with a nice custom logo) can do the trick.
In this economic environment I am advising people to concentrate on their business and spend the minimum on the web design - we now are doing huge business in hosting a quality templated design with custom logo and paypal or credit card gateway.
|Build a new home page (for free) and split test it against the old version. |
I would love to hear what types of things you do on the new site vs. the old site. If you simply change the design I am curious how even a really nice design improves the performance that much. If you are split testing it you probably don't have all the SEO in place so it probably doesn't pick up as much traffic as the original site since it is not technically a "live" site yet.
I could see changes in copy and information layout, if you have the corresponding traffic as the old site making big strides for you, but what other types of changes do you make?
|If you're a designer first and foremost, a new design looks like the thing to do. But what the business owner wants is more business, not a new design. |
You are right to some extent. The chairman of Black and Decker was once reported to have said, "Our customers don't want drills. They want holes".
But, and it's a big BUT, if a solicitor's, consultant's or real estate business website looks amateurish this WILL reflect on the business. I don't think I need testing or research to confirm this. I shy away from businesses whose websites look like they were done by the boss's twelve year old son as a school project and I don;t think I am any different from any other people. This indicates to prospective client's that this particular business cannot afford to have a proper website or does not have the nous to realise how important it is.
I have a business where I sell a particular type of software application. I don't write the software, I am a reseller and I am currently seeking a suitable vendor as a new partner. I am going through a list of more than 300 links to the websites of companies who supply this software. Many of these are small companies like myself and that's the type of partner that I'm looking for, but if I see a poorly constructed, amateurish website I immediately hit the back button assuming that the business owners are amateurs.
|if a solicitor's, consultant's or real estate business website looks amateurish this WILL reflect on the business |
Who would you want to be the judge of whether the site looks 'amateurish'?
A group of professional webmasters, or a group of potential clients for the solicitor¦consultant¦real estate agent?
|I don't think I need testing or research to confirm this |
I've heard this line many, many times... gets scary after a while
"Wow, I remember building that site! I don't see many of the sites I built before social media became important online anymore. I'd be happy to upgrade that for you anytime, let me know."
In short you're not lying and he will be wanting to add the power of "social media" to his site soon enough after hearing you mention it.
|Who would you want to be the judge of whether the site looks 'amateurish'? |
Me (as a user not a web designer). Believe me, I think I do know what looks amateurish and I credit the majority of other web users with the intelligence to make similar judgements. ;)
|I've heard this line many, many times... gets scary after a while |
Don't be afraid... it's only an opinion.
I think he needs a better looking site and I genuinely think that I could build a site that will get him more visitor conversions.
Rich_b I think two factors should come in here which I would want us to define clearly;
Is your customer resistant to change OR Is it lack of the ability to fund the re-design cost that is hindering him/her from agreeing to your re-design suggestion?
If it is either of them, then you will have to apply a different approach in pursuing what you want.
|Is it lack of the ability to fund the re-design cost that is hindering him/her from agreeing to your re-design suggestion? |
Or do they even want to spend the money for an upgrade, want being the operative word here. I have run into more than a few customers over the years that think you do a web site once, bite the bullet and it is done. You don't update it, you don't re-design it, you don't do anything to it. You incurred the expense once and now you "have" a web site and they aren't going to do it again unless you are capable of really selling ice to Eskimos.
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