Much like a good piece of furniture, a good website is attractive and intuitive to use. It also must have a strong frame that holds up over time.
Working in a visual industry like home furnishings or interior design, you likely have an intuition about what looks good, but unless you are tech savvy, you want to enlist a web development expert to enhance your site’s navigation so that it is user-friendly and optimize it for search engines so potential clients can find it.
Here are some of the things to keep in mind during a web makeover and some language to use to make communicating with your web developer easier:
How people discover your website
It’s 2023, and websites function differently than they did when your company created its first website, whether that was in the late 1990s, early 2000s or even in the 2010s. One of the major changes is that everyone is online now, so there is a lot of competition in the vast sea of websites. That’s why search engine optimization is important. One of a search engine’s priorities in determining how it ranks your webpages is how original, useful and new the content is. In other words, you need to keep things fresh.
Creating a seamless conversation
What’s more important: Your social media platforms or your website? If you are active on social platforms, do you even need a website? The short answer is yes. If you are a serious business, you need to have both, and they need to work in concert with one another.
You own your website; you have control over it, as opposed to social channels, which could disappear overnight — or, more likely, could change their algorithms without notice, burying your content and giving you no recourse. Think of your social platforms as a way of regularly connecting with consumers and potential customers, and your website as the next section of the funnel, where they will go to make a purchase or contact you for a design project.
Your social platforms are also a way of enhancing your SEO. Consider adding to your website homepage a plug-in with a feed to your social platforms that automatically updates for a consistent flow of fresh content.
Consumers have come to expect to interact with customer service chatbots on e-commerce sites. Chatbots are excellent for addressing frequently asked questions or complaints. They are fast and efficient, often preferred by consumers when paired with an option to easily talk to a human customer service representative, if needed. Consider adding chatbots to your site if you sell online.
If your website captures and stores any personal information, like credit card numbers or customer email addresses, you must place a premium on website security. The importance of security cannot be overstated. That is why e-commerce platform Shopify is the superpower in its sector: It’s known for its reliable security features. This is an example of an area of web design that won’t improve the aesthetics of your site, but it will improve its functionality and reliability. It’s worth every penny of investment.
Keep it in shape
Website design is like going to the gym: It’s not something you do once and then don’t have to think about anymore. Your website needs regular attention and maintenance to keep up with the demands of consumers and to stand out in the market. If your website has not been updated in more than a year, the first step is to modernize it so that it looks great and operates according to current standards. After that, it’s all about maintenance and frequent updates to keep it in shape.
Courtney Porter is a designer, author, host and media director. She specializes in seamlessly bringing interior designers, architects, furniture manufacturers and showrooms’ physical products and services into the digital world. She is co-author of “Green Interior Design: The Guide to Sustainable High Style” with Lori Dennis. Porter also is a host and producer of design shows. You may have caught her on “Behind the Bar,” interviewing your favorite celebrity designers or sharing her favorite decor finds on the live sales network Lit Live.