B12 designers share the 7 most impactful website upgrades for businesses
Here are the most effective site changes for busy business owners on a budget, according to professional designers
Work with these designers to improve your online presence
So you’ve decided to upgrade your website. Maybe because it’s outdated and due for an update or because it isn’t getting the results your business needs it to.
Revamping your site is an exciting opportunity to provide visitors with great new features, up-to-date details about working with you, and improve their overall user experience. Plus, it’s generally cheaper than building a new website from scratch.
But what are the most important things to implement in your website upgrade? In other words, what are the most impactful features of a modern website that will raise key metrics and appeal to visitors?
We asked the web design experts here at B12 to answer these questions based on their experience working on hundreds of customer websites over the years. Here are their top seven recommendations for the time-strapped business owner on a budget who needs to improve their website fast and make an immediate impact.
Updating your current site vs. launching a new website
The biggest differentiating factor here is time. With a website upgrade, you’re implementing your new design and functionalities on an existing site. This makes the process faster, less expensive, and more manageable.
A website upgrade may also be better for SEO (search engine optimization) because you don’t have to wait for Google and other search engines to index the web pages all over again. Unless of course, the upgrade process includes the addition of new pages, in which case those specific pages will need to be indexed.
On the other hand, launching a new website usually requires more upfront planning. Unless you use a website platform that handles it for you, you’ll need to consider critical factors like purchasing a domain name, paying for hosting, and choosing a content management system (CMS). Your SEO will start from scratch with a new website, and it’ll take time to rebuild any authority you had on search engines.
7 website upgrades you should prioritize
1. Make it mobile-friendly
– Griselda, B12 designer since 2020 who specializes in UX/UI design
In 2012, only around 10.8% of website traffic was from mobile devices according to recent research. 10 years later and that number has jumped to 58.2% meaning more than half of all website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. This number is only expected to go higher.
That’s why mobile responsiveness is so crucial in any website design. If people can’t easily access and navigate your website from their phone, they’ll leave and they won’t come back. Instead, they’ll get what they need from your competitors.
Is your current website mobile-friendly? There are a number of ways to check. The most thorough and also the most daunting method is to check out your own website using different mobile devices. Try to visit as many web pages as possible on each device and see how well they load up and whether you can easily find your way around.
A quicker, less reliable option is to load up your current website on a desktop computer and hit the F12 key on your keyboard. This will shrink the web page and show you how your site will look on different screen dimensions.
2. Add forms to high-traffic pages
– Boris, B12 designer since 2019, who also teaches design and computing
An up-to-date website must have all the right forms in all the right places. Place a contact form on all the pages where you want your site visitors to take action. This seems like something that every website owner or administrator should know, but you’d be surprised at how often this gets overlooked.
According to Boris, another thing to consider is the structure of the forms. If your forms aren’t converting at the rate you want, it may be because you’re including too many fields or the questions take too long to answer. Try to keep forms short. Remove any fields that collect the information you don’t really need.
Lastly, be clear with your prompts and calls to action. Let your site visitors know exactly why they’re filling out the form and ensure there is no ambiguous language whatsoever in your prompts.
B12 customer TaxStudio has seen an uptick in leads since adding location-specific contact forms to their website. These literally take only a couple of minutes to add and can be really impactful for your business.
3. Use fewer stock photos
Chances are your website utilizes stock photos. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, having too many stock images on your site, or having stock images that look cheesy or completely generic, makes your site considerably less unique to your target audience.
When upgrading your website aim to use more authentic visuals where you can. This can make a big difference in how potential customers perceive your site. Be extremely selective about the stock photos you use on your site. If you must use them, make sure to go for quality images that feel like your brand and aren’t commonly seen on other websites.
There are lots of free web platforms and tools available that can help you create your own collection of photos and graphics for your website. This process might be time-consuming and may require you to hire a graphics designer, but your efforts will eventually pay off when your site starts to stand out to the people you’re targeting and you start getting more clients as a result.
4. Clean up the navigation
– Milan, B12 designer since 2020 with 13 years’ experience in web design
Websites can grow to be big with lots of web pages. That’s why it’s super important to consider how visitors will find their way around in the simplest way possible. The idea is to make it as easy and quick as possible for visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site.
We cleaned up Matten Law’s website navigation and workflows as part of their recent website refresh, and according to their founder, the site now “helps better manage client leads by funneling to a single point of contact.”
Too many navigation menu items can make the site look cluttered and negatively impact the user experience. When you upgrade your website, consider removing some of the less popular items in your navigation menu and keep only those that are absolutely necessary.
If you must retain some items, you may want to include them as sub-categories under a main header item so they appear as dropdowns on the navigation. For example, instead of having all your services on the navigation menu, consider grouping them all as sub-levels under “Services” instead.
InFocus Payroll’s website does a great job of using sub-levels in its header navigation for a clean but convenient experience.
When thinking about your site’s navigation, you’ll want to start with a well-documented structural plan. Try to map out the user journey across your site and identify any areas that can cause needless complications.
Remember to also account for how your navigation will look from a mobile device since it’s likely to be in a folded-up view. Make sure the menu items don’t overlap and that people can seamlessly navigate each page without having to scroll for too long.
5. Focus on improving page speed
Fast load speeds play a huge part in overall user experience. Page speed is one of the most important things that online users expect in any modern website, especially when browsing on their phones. In fact, it is likely the first thing that a potential customer will notice when they land on your site. If your site takes too long to load, visitors will promptly bounce.
Do a quick comparison of the load speed of your own site against your competitors’ sites. The ideal website load time is 3 seconds, though on average it takes around 15.3 seconds for a mobile web page to load, according to data published by Google.
6. Make your copy concise
– Kitty, B12 designer since 2018, who also teaches front-end design and development
High-quality content is one of the most important elements in good website design. It’s not just that the content must be informative and relevant to the reader, but it must also be structured in an easy-to-digest format.
Large blocks of text are tiring to read, especially from the screen of a mobile device. It’s important to keep your content straight to the point so you don’t hurt your site’s readability, overwhelm visitors, and convey a low-quality feel.
Consider taking advantage of video content as well since it has one of the highest engagement rates as far as web content is concerned. This makes it an effective tool for improving lead generation and conversions.
Don’t forget about the SEO aspect either — keyword research, optimized meta descriptions, quality inbound links from high-ranking sites, etc. — these are all integral to a well-rounded web content strategy.
7. Add a testimonial section
– Erinn, B12 designer since 2020 with a background in UX/UI design
If your website doesn’t already have a testimonial section or reviews widget, make sure to include one as part of your upgrade. Testimonials and product reviews are critical to building social proof and obtaining the trust of your audience. B12 customer Atlas Law displays positive reviews directly on their homepage, which makes for a compelling first impression.
Social proof is a powerful tool that can skyrocket your sales and position your business as a credible, authoritative resource in your industry. In a recent study, around 95% of consumers said that testimonials from other users influenced their purchasing decisions.
Upgrade your website with help from B12
With B12, you have access to an experienced team of web design experts, copywriters, and SEO specialists to upgrade your website with all of the elements mentioned above.
What’s more, they are always available to answer questions about your business’s online presence and provide any upgrades that your site needs as your business evolves and your clients’ needs change.
At B12, we provide comprehensive business solutions that are designed to provide you with everything you need to take your business to greater heights — from third-party integrations to online payments & invoicing and client engagement tools such as intake forms, email automation, and appointment scheduling.
Continue evolving your site
Keeping your website fresh and up to date is simply best practice. As technology and website features evolve, so will the expectations of your potential clients. Don’t let an outdated web design or missing functionality be the reason for your competitors to get ahead of you. The B12 team is here to provide all the assistance you need in building a powerful web presence for your business.
Sign up now to get started.