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VOL. 131 | NO. 86 | Friday, April 29, 2016

Does Your Company Website Need a Makeover?

PATRICK TAMBURRINO | Special to The Daily News

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression – and that concept also rings true for websites.

Whether you’re are a nonprofit, consumer-focused, institutional, or business-to-business organization, an engaging website is an important tool in reaching your audience in a succinct and meaningful way. Revamping your site can not only help you stand out, it can also protect your data – out-of-date software is one of the main ways websites get hacked.

I recently decided it was time for my firm’s website to get a refresh – it was outdated and didn’t meet the needs of how users seek information about services companies like mine. I wanted simple and sleek, yet informative.

Here are a few learnings I took away from our website relaunch, which I hope can serve as a starting point to anyone asking if it’s time for a website makeover:

Engage the appropriate resources. If web design is out of your realm of expertise, there are a variety of local experts who can help you execute your vision. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Many firms can work with your budget in a timely manner, while allowing you to be as involved as you’d like with revisions and recommendations.

Brevity is king. With shrinking modern-day attention spans, concise messages on your site matter. Your homepage should be crisp and clean, with images and short teasers at the forefront. If readers want to know more, allow them to click and learn more via a subpage.

Be social and interactive. Include links to your contact information and social media pages on your homepage, and on the same place in every subpage. Consider a scrolling marquee of recent Facebook or Twitter posts, a newsroom area to store media features, or call-out boxes to feature customer testimonials. Weave in appropriate keywords for your business throughout your copy, so as to optimize SEO, retain traffic and rankings. Your website should also be mobile-friendly for better search results, and to keep visitors from pinching and zooming on a handheld device.

Don’t forget about the parts you can’t see. Proper set-up of the backend of your website is crucial to keeping your company’s privacy safe. This entails using secure code, installing a web application firewall, and testing new plug-ins before you go live with your site.

Above all else, your website should have a clear call to action for visitors – whether that’s filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter or submitting volunteer information. Use language with urgency, such as “call,” “subscribe” or “donate,” and help it stand out by incorporating white space around it. An effective call to action will establish focus and measurement for your site, while also directing your users.

Patrick Tamburrino is the president of IT strategy, support and management firm tamburrino inc. He can be reached at patrick@tamburrino.com.

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