Channel K

K-Tip: 7 Easy Website Updates That Add Sizzle

Innovating and updating a website doesn’t always have to be an epic redesign effort. Periodic aesthetic changes can keep your site looking fresh and your visitors coming back. Here are seven sizzling suggestions to kindle your creativity.

Think small
Sometimes small changes make big differences. Updating the background color or image can freshen things up in a matter of minutes. The same can be said for header images, icon sets, navigation and even table and button styles.

Put some mega in your dropdowns
Usability experts rightly pointed out the ills of traditional dropdown navigation for ages. Gone are the painful mouse acrobatics required to follow a fly out menu three levels deep. Now we have user-friendly “mega” dropdowns that go easy on users and make finding content buried in a site as easy as a mouse click.

Add interactivity to home page billboards and image rotators
Trade in your stale home page slideshow for an element that gives some control back to the user. Today’s home pages feature “sliders” that let users pick which feature to browse. These features aren’t limited to images anymore – you can embed form fields, search boxes and text too. And because they run on javascript, they’re mobile device friendly. If you have a content management system (CMS), we can even make it easy to update this feature and add freshness to your home page in minutes!

Build a bigger foot(er)
Single line footers with company name, address, phone and copyright are so 2009. Use the bottom portion of your page to include helpful links, a mini sitemap, links to social media profiles and more. Repeat your e-mail newsletter subscription form here too – redundancy can improve conversion rates. Footer updates can make a big splash because they affect every page on your site. Luckily, though, most sites have a universal footer, so webmasters need only implement a site-wide “find and replace” to rid a site of less fashionable footers.

Add Search functionality
Incorporating a quality search feature on a website has become much more affordable and easy to implement in recent years. For $100 per year, most companies can display Google-powered search results for their site.

Widen the layout
How can we tell the age of a website? Often the pixel width reveals the prevailing web design (and monitor resolution) at the time of development. If your site is skinny, widening the overall layout will provide instant real estate for additional content and larger images and bring you back from the age of jive.

Take up the accordion
Some content comes in a format that’s just begging to be compressed and stretched. As with home page sliders, “accordions” allow users to expand and collapse items, adding a degree of interactivity. From a practical perspective, they preserve context and keep an entire process on a single page rather than disconnecting individual elements.