7 pain points that mean you need a new website

Introduction: how to know if you need a new website

Since the website redesign spectrum is all over the place, it can be hard to know if you need a new website. There are large public companies who haven’t changed the look of their website in decades, while other companies of the same size (like General Electric) are constantly challenging themselves digitally by adding new website trends, social media platforms, videos, and presentations. So how do you know where your company fits in all of this? We don’t mean you need to be keeping up with every single digital trend-that would just get tiring. We’ve compiled a few ‘pain points’ that website viewers commonly feel when viewing a website. If your website suffers from any of these frustrations, you probably need a new website. A whole new site can sound like a big undertaking, especially if you’re looking for outside help. Here’s a quick eBook on how to pick the right website agency.

Pain point #1: Not compatible with modern browsers

Ever heard of BrowserStack? This online tool allows you to type in your website’s URL and run it through every new and older version of of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and more. If your current website isn’t looking so pretty on the newer versions of these browsers (or newer versions of Android and iOS devices) it’s time to start thinking of an upgrade. It should be compatible with most older versions too, but dinosaur websites can’t hang. We recommend that before IE 9 just needs to upgrade.

Pain point #2: You’re not mobile-friendly

This one’s a biggie. Check to see how your website looks on a smartphone and tablet. Do you have to zoom in on the screen to click buttons on the page? Is it really hard to type in your information on contact forms? Is it impossible for you to navigate to another page without clicking two things you didn’t mean to? A non mobile optimized website is very frustrating for your website viewers. Make sure one size fits all.

Pain point #3: Outdated design

Again, we’re not saying your website always has to be the latest and greatest in website design trends. But if it’s been over three years since you last upgraded your website’s design, you’ll probably need a new website. Remember the internet design trends of five or ten years ago, with neon flashing glitter letters and scrolling text on banners? It’s not just about looking good; a quality website design looks good on your company as well. It shows that you’re keeping up with the times and kept informed.

Pain point #4: No on-page content strategy

Remember that a website’s main purpose (especially the homepage) is to give users and potential investors the necessary information to make an educated decision and hopefully decide to contact you to find out more. Our digital attention span is getting shorter and shorter nowadays, especially with so many companies converting their messages to short, bitesized videos. No one wants to navigate to a website with lots of useless content and confusing pathways through the site so they are unable to find the information they  need.

Pain point #5: Content isn’t optimized for searches

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a term that’s not going away anytime soon. When someone has an issue that your company  solves, they’ll most likely search for the answer on the internet. Make sure your content is optimized for search engines so that when someone Googles their question, your website pops up! SEO is a bit tricky to implement, but here are some SEO basics to know before a website redesign.

Pain point #6: You can’t update your own content

This is a huge pain point if you’re a public company and constantly need to update your investor section with the latest news release, or publish your quarterly numbers or an annual report. You need the help of a good content management system (or CMS) to be able to access the backend of your site and make the necessary updates.

Pain point #7: You like you competitor’s website better

Time for some honesty here. If even you love a competitor’s website more than your own, then all your customers or potential investors are bound to as well. A great website establishes you as an industry leader and makes you seem much more on top of your game than competitors websites who just can’t get it together.

Conclusion: okay, so what’s the next step?

If you’ve concluded from the above pain points that you need a new website, what are the next steps you should take? You want to decide if it makes more sense for your company to hire a website agency to take over, or possibly multiple specialized agencies to refine your full digital presence? Here’s the difference between full service agencies vs. niche agencies. If you want a more specific look about what to do when looking for an agency, download The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency below!


need a new website




Great website design examples to inspire your own

Introduction: design trends aren’t only for the ‘flashy’ companies

While we’ve written many blog posts about making sure your homepage is more than pretty, today we’re focusing on the design itself (so you have our full permission to ‘ooooh’ and ‘ahhhhh’). We pulled some great website design examples below, so you can see how both our clients and companies from all industries have managed to incorporate new website design elements. The below websites show that you don’t have to be Apple or Tesla to have great web design. Every company of every industry can benefit from these trends. How can you utilize some of these elements in your company’s website?

Inspired to start your own website design project? What are you supposed to talk about when you call an agency? Before you get overwhelmed, download our Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency!

 

Great website design examples that follow current trends

Trend: large background images

1. Warby Parker

The white space of Warby Parker’s main website ensures that the big background images pop. The overall stripped back and clean design also mimics Warby Parker’s fresh young vibe as a brand.

 

great website design examples

 

2. B2Gold Corporation

Large background images are great for CSR sections of any public company website. Here’s an example the Social Responsibility section of a website we did for our friends at B2Gold. The images describe their social impact better than any paragraph on the page.

 

great website design examples

Trend: background video

3. Paperless Post

This is one of our favorite websites lately. Paperless Post does almost all their work from their website, so it had to be both beautiful and simple to use. The background video on the homepage shows examples of different scenarios in which their cards are used.

 

great website design examples

 

4. Uranium Energy Corporation

We helped UEC include background video to their website redesign to showcase their projects (as well as make their homepage really pop). Similarly to Paperless Post, this video also showcases their product to their audience.

 

great website design examples

Trend: mobile first design

5. Elespacio

Elespacio is a Spanish digital agency who recently won an award for their mobile first website design. Their scrolling homepage banners look just as beautiful and are just as easy to scroll through on mobile as they are on a desktop computer.

 

great website design examples

 

6. EXL Service

We’ve written about the mobile-first design of EXL, a decision-analytics and operation management provider company, before because it’s one of the best examples of mobile first websites we’ve seen. The best mobile websites make the user forget they’re even viewing from a smartphone or tablet because they don’t feel constricted by the device in any way.

 

great website design examples

Trend: long scroll

7. Apple

There are many companies that artfully include a long scrolling page to highlight products or elements of their website, but Apple does it the best. Complete with subtle animation as a user scrolls, the long scroll really captures the company’s story.

great website design examples

8. Rise 

Shoutout to a local company! Rise is the ‘future of HR’, or a people and culture platform. They recently rebranded and redesigned their website, and we love the long scroll they’ve incorporated to better tell their story.

great website design examples

Conclusion: know the trends, no matter who you are

In paring great website design examples from one ‘cool industry’ company with an example of how a lesser known company can also use these trends, we hope to inspire you to get thinking about how anyone can really implement great web design. Not sure where to start your redesign project, or if you’ll need the help of an agency? Download the checklist below to see if you need the help of professionals!




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What is a full service digital marketing agency?

Introduction: You have many options for your website project

If you’re considering a website redesign project or want help planning your digital marketing strategy, a full service digital marketing agency is one of the options you’ll come across in your research. The word is one thrown around a lot in our industry, but what does it really mean? Also, you may be wondering if it’s better to work with a full service agency or multiple niche agencies. This blog will cover the differences between the two and why, in our opinion, a full service digital marketing agency is the way to go.

Want to know some specific steps to take when choosing a website agency, or specific questions to ask them? Check out The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency!

 

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

A full service agency manages all aspects of a company’s digital presence. While their services may focus on one area, such as website design or development, they also help clients with the strategy and execution of many other parts of digital, including social media, search engine optimization, content strategy and creation, and more.

what is a full service digital marketing agency?

What is a niche agency?

A niche agency, also sometimes referred to as a specialized agency, is a digital agency who only works in a very specific aspect of digital marketing. Often, companies turn to multiple niche agencies when thinking of reevaluating their website presence. It’s a possibility to hire one company to control your social media presence or, even more specific, to hire one company to control your Twitter, another company to control your Instagram, and so on.

Should I work with one full service agency or with multiple niche agencies?

A question many companies face once they’ve decided they want to revamp their digital presence is: ‘Do I hire several niche agencies, with one taking over Twitter strategy, one my website, one my Google analytics, and one my content writing? Or do I hire one agency that can help me in all of these channels?’ When making a choice, it’s important to think about your company’s goals. If you’re a larger company and your main priority for your digital presence is efficiency, then hiring different niche agencies may not work unless you have an employee responsible for keeping contact and communication open with each of them. However, the niche agencies are niche for a reason. Why wouldn’t you hire someone to control your Instagram who lives and breathes nothing but that specific social network? Unsure about what your specific goals are? No problem. Here’s a few points to consider:

Analytics and reporting

Niche agencies can dig deep into one platform for you and know exactly what to do with the data for that platform. Full service digital marketing agencies tend to look at analytics over the whole spectrum: what does the social media data vs. the website data look like, and what is that telling us?

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

One aspect or many?

Is your goal to gain exposure and followers on one specific aspect of your digital marketing strategy, or do you want to see what your digital presence looks like as a whole? Niche agencies are better at specifics for the platform you’re consulting with them on, while full service digital marketing agencies will look over everything.

Experience

Of course a niche agency will have a full service agency beat when it comes to experience, learnings, case studies, and feedback for the particular platform they work for, as they focus on it everyday. However, a full service digital marketing agency will be an expert in the digital space. If you want to figure out how these platforms can link together to align with your company goals, a full service agency will know how to create those pathways between platforms.

Brand voice

Full service agencies are more likely better at coordinating one brand voice across all your digital platforms, as they’re managing all of them and providing strategy. Niche agencies will be well versed and able to effectively speak to the audience for the one platform you’re paying them for.

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

Why we recommend a full service agency

In order to have an impactful digital presence, all aspects of it including your website, social media tools, presentations, and, for public companies, investor marketing materials, need to be effectively working together. Full service digital marketing agencies promise fluidity and cohesiveness when it comes to your company’s messaging, goals, and the way you to speak to investors. Multiple niche agencies will be harder to coordinate and sync together when looking at the digital components of your company.

 

Conclusion: Think about your company’s goals

As we said above, when choosing you need to first assess what your company’s main goal is in wanting to refine your presence on the web. Are 90% of your customers accessing you on Twitter or LinkedIn? If so, hiring a niche agency specifically for social media may work. If your website, presentations, email marketing, and more need to be synced up with the same brand voice, start talking to some full service digital agencies. Not sure what questions to ask any agency when you finally do decide? Download the Complete Checklist for hiring a website agency. It’s right below!



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The best public company homepage designs

Introduction: Homepage is where the heart is

Your website homepage is your first impression. Like all first impressions, you get about five seconds to make a good one. Many think that in order to have the best public company homepage, it’s all about the design work. A beautiful design is great to have, but more importantly than just looking good is creating a portal of information that efficiently leads investors to the crucial pages of your website. For more information, check out these 11 must-have elements on any homepage design.

 

What is the main goal of your homepage?

We love the ‘storefront window’ analogy because it illustrates the importance of both the homepage and all the website information within. Stores decorate their windows to entice customers and place their shiniest merchandise in the front. What is the main objective of that window, however? It’s not to be the prettiest window on the block. It’s to get customers inside, and to make a sale.

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As a public company, you should be thinking the same way about the homepage of your website redesign. Though having a visually compelling and interactive front page will certainly help, the most important function of a homepage is to serve as a gateway to the most important information on your website. Pages, for instance, where investor information like presentations and forms to request more information can be accessed. It’s crucial as a public company to remember that when it comes to your homepage, there should be a balance between the coolest design and easy access to information.

Best public company homepage examples

Here are some shining examples we’ve found of public company homepages that include that perfect balance of useful information and visual appeal.

Cisco Systems – ‘Quick Tasks’ bar

Cisco’s homepage features a secondary navigation bar offering quick links to the most frequently visited pages of their website.

best public company homepage designs Cisco

Eguana Technologies – Signup space on the homepage

Eguana Tech’s longer homepage offers quick blurbs about the most important pages of their website, with easy access buttons after each paragraph. The top of their homepage also offers an email sign-up function, so those wishing to keep informed don’t have to navigate to the contact page to enter their information.

best public company homepage designs Eguana Tech

Shopify – Benefits and ‘free trial’ button

Shopify knows their most important goal is getting customers started with a free trial, so the big pink button is the first thing someone sees when landing on their homepage. If customers need a little more convincing, however, beneath the main banner offers the reasons why Shopify is the best location for an online store.
Shopify homepage free trial button

Newmont Mining – Straightforward navigation

Sometimes with a homepage, there’s more than one main course of action you want viewers to take right away. With Newmont Mining’s homepage, an easy-to-navigate square layout promotes the most important information: their latest news, their blog posts, their fourth quarter results, and a featured video. The straightforward design makes choosing easy.

best public company homepage designs Newmont

Conclusion: Do what works for you

If you produce tons of great thought leadership content, maybe a goal of yours should be to funnel visitors to your blog section. If you just released your quarterly results, you should publish the document front and centre on your homepage banner to make investors’ jobs easier. As we’ve said before, it’s all about accessibility and a great user experience. Each example above works well because the public companies knew their strengths and their goals and aligned the two.




11 must-have elements for your homepage design




11 questions to ask a website agency before hiring them

Introduction:

Does a fresh New Year equal a fresh new website redesign? If you’re looking to hire an agency to design and develop your website, you want to make sure you’re asking the right questions. What do their timelines look like? What do they specialize in? Have they gotten any awards and recognitions? Where are their case studies? We want you to be prepared when picking an agency to work with. Here are 11 important questions to ask a website agency.

 

1. Can you give me a break down of your process?

Do they like to start with a learn and discovery meeting where you make them aware of your goals, or do you provide input along the way? What will the project timeline look like? At what point will you (the company) need to be involved, and at what point does the agency take steps on their own?

Why this is key: If your timeline is short to begin with, or if you’re on a tight budget, be prepared with whatever the agency needs from you right when they ask for it. In our experience, timelines stall when we’re waiting a long time for site feedback, content, or approval from a client. Deeply understanding the agency’s process helps you align your own processes to theirs, leading to a better experience and smoother communication.

 

2. What does your team structure look like?

Are you dealing with a group of two or twenty? Who will be communicating with you on a day-to-day basis? Is there a project manager that oversees things, or will your company be dealing directly with the website designers and developers on the project? And who’s in charge?

Why this is key: A sign of an efficient agency is a good structure. Make sure you know who will be doing the most correspondence with your company. Try to also gauge the best you can how often they’ll get back to you, and how open they are to last minute emails and requests.

 

3. Do you specialize in any particular industry/subject matter, or are you experts in a certain space?

Where do they feel most at home? Do they love creating flashy websites for the best and brightest in tech, or are they Renaissance Men/Women who dip their toes in a bit of everything?

Why this is key: Each agency has their own style when it comes to websites, and often the layout, navigation, and key features vary based on what industry they prefer or work in the most. If they’re experts in designing websites for banks and love mobile banking apps, but your company sells refrigerators, it might not be the best fit. 

 

4. What core services do you offer?

Are they just website designers, or also website optimizers? Do I come up with my own strategy or can you tell me how the website is performing? What if I want a video?

Why this is key: Many agency websites boast pages and pages of services, but most almost always do one or two things the most, and best. Make sure you understand what exactly comes in the package deal if you sign on with them.

 

5. Is everything done in-house? Are there elements you outsource?

Is this agency a one-stop shop? Or do they employ some outside help when need be?

Why this is key: You should be aware at all times who will be working on your project. Many agencies have connections with other agencies and freelancers for certain services outside the normal scope of a project, and that’s fine. It’s just important to make sure the full project stays cohesive and you’re aware of the process.

 

6.What are some of the values your agency stands by?

What makes them tick? How did they get into website design? What are the three most important things that drive their work?

Why this is key: Whether through conference calls, by email, or out for coffee, you’ll most likely be dealing with these people a lot. It’s just good sense to get to know the people you’re working with. Understanding the agency’s core values or goals for the future will help you understand the direction they’ll take with your website.

 

7. Will my website be completely custom, or will you work off a pre-built theme?

How many unique pages will be designed? Is the site fully customized, partially customized, or are you fully working from a pre-existing theme?

Why this is key: Almost always, custom sites vs. sites working off a theme will be a large factor in the project budget. There are many websites out there masquerading as ‘fully custom’ when they’re actually not. Make sure you know what you’ll be paying for.

 

8. Have you received any recognition for your website design?

They may think their websites are the best on the internet, but has anyone else thought so? Are they proud enough of their work that they take the time to submit to different awards or design forums?

Why this is key:  Awards and accolades don’t only show that the agency knows their stuff, but also shows they are committed to pushing themselves and putting their work on the web for all to see. In our opinion, you want to hire an agency that stays hungry.

 

9. What are some case studies you can show me with similar websites to mine?

Have they come across a beast like yours before? What are concrete examples of ways they improved a company website? Can you see some before and afters?

Why this is key: Ask the agency to provide you with a few examples of clients they’ve worked with in the same vertical as you, how the process went, and, if they ran any digital marketing campaigns for them, what the results were like. **IMPORTANT**When looking through the agency’s portfolio, don’t forget to check for responsive design! Make sure their work looks great on a mobile phone and tablet. Even the most beautiful desktop site can be a mess on a smartphone. With the way the world’s moving (all mobile all the time), any agency worth it’s salt is a mobile-friendly one.

 

10. Do you stay with me after the website is launched?

After your new website is taken live, do they stick with you for monthly check-ins? Does it cost more to stay connected with them? Do they help you out post-launch or pull a design and dump?

Why this is key: Every agency has their own process, so make sure you know what the post-launch plan is. If the agency takes over everything about the redesign from setup to launch, how will you make any necessary updates or changes to the site? Do they transfer everything over to your company once the website is done? Also make sure you know what’s happening to the old website once your new one goes live for the masses.

 

11. Why should I choose you over any other website agency?

There are a thousand and a half digital and website design agencies out there. What makes this agency different?

Why this is key: Why should you choose this agency? It’s just like the ‘what sets you apart’ question at normal job interviews. Know their strengths, ask about their weaknesses, and know exactly what they plan to do to make your company shine.

 

 

Hey! You can ask us these questions anytime. Fill out a form here or email us at info@blendermedia.com and we’ll get back to you in no time.