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Common website trends to avoid!
Most companies want their website to impress potential customers and stand out from the crowd. Unknowingly, some web design trends intended to make a site unique actually hurt the customer’s experience. This decreased user experience in turn reduces traffic and engagement on your website.
Here are 5 web design trends that you should avoid and why!
Using stock photography
A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? If you choose to add stock imagery to your website, those 1,000 words are saying: lame, boring, unoriginal, uninspired, trite, worn. Those are probably not the thoughts you want associated with your company. That’s why it’s important to include original images on your website.
Studies have shown that decorative, generic images are often ignored by your users. So replace them with original and real photos that represent your brand’s content and personality. Many smartphones take high resolution images of your office, staff, and products/services that can look great on your site. Be sure those fresh images are optimized properly for SEO, which you can learn about on our blog.
Replacing key text with imagery
Replacing the text on your website with an image that includes the text already on it (but not a stock image, as discussed above) will hurt your SEO. Google’s spiders crawl text on a website and returns the result that has the most relevant text to that search query. If your text is said in image format, Google will not recognize your site as talking about that topic, and serve up your competition instead.
If you have a whitepaper with useful facts about your industry knowledge, instead of including it as only a .pdf file, create a blog or service page to complement the whitepaper. The content can then be crawled by Google and help your ranking.
Long loading screens
When you click on a link, you immediately want to be brought right to the content. You do not want to see a ‘welcome to our site’ or ‘loading screen’ that takes up too much of your time, or that you have to click past to see your result. Sites that have too much content or a lot of large images have started moving in this direction, not realizing the extra page added to the customer’s viewing experience may be hurting them.
A very well known website with this issue is Forbes.com. When you visit their site, you are first taken to a Quote of the Day screen for 10 seconds, and then it will load the information you searched for. In those 10 seconds, how many users hit the back button and choose another site for the information they are looking for?
Like loading screens, pop ups that show immediately when you visit a website also annoy users. Some sites give you an instant pop up asking you to create a free account to view their content. This drives many users away, where they then seek their content from another website.
If you’re asking for a customer’s email address or other information to access your content, be sure the content is worth something to them. If you’re trying to get more people to sign up for your newsletter, know that getting the newsletter may not be incentive enough. Offer them a discount on a product, an instructional guide, a free ebooklet, or something to create value for the user.
Non standard or custom icons
If your site’s navigation is represented with icons, be sure to use one that users recognize. For the smartphone view, the stack of three lines (referred to as the Hamburger) is commonly used for navigating the menu. While you might have fun coming up with a different look for your mobile navigation, it will hurt your user experience if you stray too far from the norms.
If you’re displaying social media icons on your site, use the standardized look for those as well. The social media sites have branding guidelines so you can be sure to include the proper one in your design. For example, Facebook’s icon is a lowercase f with a blue background. Creating your own with an uppercase F that is pink could make it hard for your users to recognize the branding. Twitter and Tumblr both use a lowercase t, so having the correct color and having the period after the t for Tumblr is also important for brand recognition.
5 Signs It’s Time to Rebrand Your Company
Rebranding is a perfectly common business move for major companies, and has been for many years. Think about Uber’s recent branding overhaul as just one contemporary example in a long tradition of rebranding.
Most of the time, we don’t typically notice branding changes as consumers, unless they’re serious makeovers. Most are subtle transformations — think of color changes to sports team’s logo or uniforms. It may seem like changing a logo or the font of your company’s name on business cards might not be a huge deal, but rebranding can be a very serious declaration of intent, a marker of your company’s commitment to evolution and upward growth.
Other times, however, rebranding can represent a more substantial effort, perhaps to shift the consumers’ perception of a brand or to show a company’s progression with an evolving market. Is it time for your company to consider a rebrand?
Here are five reasons it just might be.
1. When you want to shake off an old image.
This wasn’t quite as big of an issue in America, but for many years, the Burberry brand was the standard issue dress as a status symbol of thugs and gangs all across England. The association became such a problem that many pubs banned Burberry and other brands from being sported on their premises. Hard to believe that was ever the case, but it was certainly a huge issue for Burberry, as it drove away many potential customers due to negative association.
In order to solve the problem, Burberry put all their weight behind aggressively rebranding themselves as a high-end luxury clothing brand, even courting such noteworthy celebrities as Emma Watson for advertising campaigns. The amazing thing is, Burberry didn’t change their look or their prices, so the tradition of Burberry stood strong. Instead, they just focused their efforts on artistry and cutting edge fashion in their presentation. It may not happen as drastically as it did for Burberry, but it’s quite possible that your company will attract a different customer base than you originally planned. If the unintended audience latches onto your business, don’t scrap everything. Just rebrand, and do so very consciously, with an eye on every detail of the presentation.
2. When you want to tap into a new demographic.
Sometimes, for the sake of keeping your business moving forward, it’s an absolute necessity to reach out and tap into a new audience that might be interested in your product. Take the crowded market of alcohol sales, for example. In America, when you hear the brand name Pabst Blue Ribbon, a very specific image comes to mind — the cheap beer beloved by hipsters and frat guys.
Related: The Ultimate Rebranding Checklist for Entrepreneurs
It may come as a surprise, then, to find out that China’s version of PBR, known as Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, is a wildly popular luxury beer that sells for $44 a bottle. Pretty astounding, right? Well, the smart folks at Pabst took a good look at the rapidly growing Chinese craft beer market and realized they could easily capitalize on a demographic that was not familiar with their association in the United States. So when you look at Chinese PBR ads, you’ll see a fancy bottle next to a champagne flute, with stacks of barrels trailing off behind, as if a high-end scotch were being advertised. Taking the time to do your research, finding a new market and capitalizing on another demographic can be key for your company’s growth.
3. When you outgrow your original mission.
A rebranding effort can be crucial to making sure your company’s expert services are given maximum exposure by an increasingly demanding audience. “Key to a company’s relevance is the evolution of the brand,” writes Jim Freeze, CMO at Aspect. “A primary responsibility of any chief marketing officer is to know when it’s time to advance a company’s legacy by transforming its brand.”
Take the newly-rebranded Altify, for example. The company was a cloud-hosted sales transformation solution before “the cloud” even existed. The company was one of the first to build sales expertise into a software solution, combining customer insights and data with decades of tested sales knowledge, so salespeople can have intelligent business conversations with their customers.
But over time, the market changed. In the age of big data, Altify found its customers using the solution at every stage of the revenue process — not just the final sale. CEO Donal Daly explains, “As we now serve the whole revenue team, not just the sales team, we felt it appropriate and timely to change our name to reflect that. Altify is about altitude, and is our promise to elevate your revenue team to a better-equipped go-to-market approach by helping you put your customers at the center.”
4. When the market is evolving quickly.
Sometimes a rebrand is necessary just to keep your company competitive in an ever-changing and evolving market. It’s very often the case that companies whose services may be top notch simply get left behind because their brand is not associated with the cutting edge. Remember the Mac vs. PC ad campaigns? Companies like Microsoft have done well to keep up and perhaps even surpass the competition these days, but thanks to some brilliant branding on Apple’s part, there was a time when PCs were considered by many to be behind the curve.
Related: The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Infographic)
5. When all you’ve got is a name.
When someone asks you to picture a motorcycle, it’s quite possible you’ll immediately picture a Harley-Davidson. It’s an American classic, after all, an institution unto itself, symbolizing the open road and rugged self-reliance. What many people don’t realize, however, is that Harley-Davidson was in serious danger of going out of business in 1985, in spite of the fact that they were the most recognized brand in their market.
In order to salvage the business, Harley-Davidson hatched a simple but brilliant rebranding plan: keep the famous name, but give the product a quality facelift. Harley studied their competitors’ business models closely, picked up their strengths, cut dead business weight and designed smaller, more manageable and more affordable bikes to attract a new generation of riders to their timeless name. The strategy worked, and Harley has reclaimed its place among the leaders in motorcycle brands. If your company has done well in establishing familiarity, but has fallen behind in execution, follow this model.
In the end, there’s no such thing as a static market. Your competition will continue to change and your business’s position in the marketplace may need to shift. What’s critical in a rebrand, is that you don’t change the whole business. Rather, ensure your brand continues to evolve with the company.