On January 16, less than two hours after sending email blast about “How to Know When it’s Time for a Website Redesign,” I got an inquiry from a book indexer friend of mine. Her site was seven years old and she agreed with me that an old website design projects a poor image.
She needed an update but also wanted to keep a static, HTML-based site. She didn’t want a blog or mobile responsiveness—even though the lack of both was sure to damage her site rankings.
What she did want was a fresh web design appealing to book publishers—her primary market. She reasoned that most of these people use their desktop computers and all she needed was a contemporary, professional-looking site optimized for search engines.
The challenge: how to satisfy her request without damaging her site rankings
Under the circumstances, I reverted to an earlier website-building process I hadn’t used in several years. I concentrated on: 1) innovative design, and 2) high-quality content that could still rank highly in search engines because it aligns perfectly with search intent.
Note: I don’t recommend this approach unless you’re sure of your target market(s) and aren’t concerned about technological trends. Otherwise, if at some point in the future you need enhanced functionality, you’re stuck.
Design: a simple plan
Because this website didn’t need features like a revolving slideshow, gallery, or any other pre-programming, I relied on Photoshop to create the basic site layout. That involved:
- devising a complementary color scheme to match the logo
- using large, custom images on every page
- balancing text and images to maintain interest
Development: where the rubber meets the road
After my client approved the web design (I nailed it on the first try), the next step was developing the site. I relied on my old friend Dreamweaver—site-building software I had used for almost 20 years—to bring the design to life.
But because this project was more limiting than my current development process, I had to concentrate on content-oriented strategies to compensate for the lack of mobile responsiveness and blog interactivity. That involved:
- keyword research focused on book indexing and indexing services so her publisher prospects and clients could find her website
- collaboration in writing headlines and text that included relevant, high-volume keyword phrases identified through research
- writing effective META tag descriptions customized for each page
- adding ALT tags to each image to enhance SEO
Ultimately, this website redesign was similar to many other sites I have designed and developed over the past 20 years—only with extra emphasis on large, original images and heavy concentration on industry-specific SEO that attracts and holds visitors.
The result: an ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan
I’ll let my client speak about the result because she’s the one getting the site traffic and feedback. On April 25 she wrote:
“Nancy took my long, single-page site with its clunky clip art and created an elegant five-page site—complete with proper navigation buttons, links that are no longer broken, and contact form—that’s both beautiful and functional. Not only is my site popping up on that coveted first page in some Google searches, but I’m getting compliments from both colleagues and clients!”
How about your website? It’s not too late to recapture your reputation as a business leader with a website makeover. I’m only a phone call away (414.771.8906).