If your website is boring, hey, it could be worse! Looking on the bright side, at least it works. This is one approach to your website: build up from the basics, keep it manageable, and treat it as a continuous improvement matter, not a one-off brochure design project.
If you are interested in ongoing help with your website maintenance, including technical support and user assistance, check out KnowledgePower's Webmaster Service - specially designed to help small businesses improve their website with fewer headaches along the way.
Website Decrapification is unfortunately still not a recognized subdiscipline of internet marketing, but it should be, because raising the level to "not that crap" is a technical prerequisite to getting any of the fun things started up, like analytics, conversion testing, content building, search engine optimization, and generally getting people to visit and take action.
The first matter to improve on your website will be your degree of control over it. If you rely too much on third parties for keeping it updated, or worse, don't keep your site updated at all, then you haven't got the foundation in place that's needed for your wider digital marketing work.
Some criteria of "control" are:
If some of the above sound difficult then this is not unusual. Many small businesses find themselves in a position of paralysis because of not having the skills, confidence, and control to add and update their websites. However, since you have a website you are going to have to update your knowledge and management control over it, much the same way you know how to check the oil in your car -- or at least know how to find the right people for the right kind of servicing, to extend that metaphor.
At KnowledgePower it is one of our top focus points to ensure that we help clients gain the best possible level of control of their website. We help you with this via advice, hands-on technical assistance where needed, and our unique Webmaster Service for businesses without IT or digital marketing staff on the payroll to be able to manage websites.
At the same time, the idea of controlling your website comes with the understanding that you and your team are responsible for owning its performance and developing it into something really good for your customers. Marketing success does not happen automatically and even when you employ good marketers, it is a collaboration with your team and the core business ideas you have, not something where you delegate responsibility and hope for the best. Once we help you gain control over your website we will also help you gain strategic confidence about what you are doing in your online marketing, and how to focus your available resources on only the most relevant activities.
Probably the only universal improvement tip for all websites is for the makers and updaters of the website to keep trying to understand the users better, and therefore give them the information and interactivity/functionality they want in the easiest way possible. This is partly about data but you can get a lot just from talking to users, and ideally watching users try to accomplish tasks on your site. Ask elderly relatives: that's the best usability test!
Grab our swipe-sheet of common website improvement quick fixes - We reviewed a list of local accountants' websites to provide examples of common ways even relatively "boring" businesses can easily improve the usefulness of their website information and presentation, when viewed through the eyes of the users: Click here to read the study and download our swipe-sheet of common quick improvement ideas.
We provide a simple automated audit tool, where you can submit your website URL and receive a report of the main errors and SEO-related issues to fix on the site.
Find out what's helping and hurting your site from the point of view of some technical basics, and start creating a priority improvements list for your site. Remember: website improvement is incremental and continous - you don't have to change or fix everything all at the same time. That is a common reason for paralysis.
Note: SEO is not just a matter of fixing things on your site. That is just covering the basics of the site working properly and being legible to search engines. If SEO is going to be a principal part of your digital marketing strategy you should talk to genuine experts and expect to invest long term in content marketing. » Go here to read decision-making tips about which areas of digital marketing to focus on.
Many businesses still view building a website as a one-off project, and the site hardly gets touched for months or years until someone decides it needs a "revamp" or "overhaul". If your business website work has been like this - infrequent, static, and project-based -- then it is probably a sign of a lack of control over your website and a lack of confidence.
With greater control and confidence you can see your website as a continuous and incremental marketing area. In particular, the more you can work on your website with small and continuous types of improvements, the more you can share the work and get everyone inside your team working on it and thinking up new ideas to make it better. The best websites are ones where everyone inside the business can contribute their ideas and expertise, not just a 3rd party designer or marketer.
Technical upgrades, software development, and aesthetic design logically should be done by skilled professionals and therefore make sense to take to agencies as projects. But the content and growth of the website should be under your own team's control as a continuous thing, as far as possible.
We've developed a model of the Five Progress Areas for Website & Digital Marketing - click here to read more
To design a website nicely, hire a web designer. To market using your website, hire a digital marketer. Not all designers and marketers are strong at all things, and focus / specialism is often an advantage. Ask questions and be wary of jacks-of-all-trades: not that many agencies (let alone individuals) can really encompass everything digital nowadays.
If you are looking for providers feel free to ask us for advice, as you will usually find it works better to separate design work from content and marketing work, than to seek proposals for 3rd parties to just "solve the website" and move on. The website is your responsibility and a growing thing that works for your business: we will help you build it on those lines.