It’s been about eight years since our company website has had a major redesign. But that changed today.

The old design simply wasn’t meeting our needs. Specifically:

  • It didn’t communicate clearly what exactly we do here.
  • It had a search box which, as far as I can tell, didn’t, and has never, worked.
  • It had several pages describing services we don’t perform, at least not when a cop is around. Some of these pages just had boilerplate text in them. e.g. “Item 1″, “Item 2″, etc
  • The visual design was really old and unprofessional. The new is at least not old.
  • The old feedback form demanded a lot of extraneous information like title, company, telephone number, home address, when you shower, etc.
  • It had a copyright date at the bottom of 2002, which caused people to ask: “Are you guys still in business?” This was apparently a barrier to them sending us money.

Fortunately, we mainly rely on word of mouth to get clients, but a bad website certainly doesn’t help our business. We could be missing out on clients who find our website, but don’t contact us for any of the reasons listed above.

I’ve recently had some time between contracts, which I used to think about how a software contractor’s website should be structured and what kind of information it should present. Also, I slept in late a lot. I came to some conclusions:

  • It should immediately obvious to a visitor what the company does, no matter what page they land on.
  • It should have a portfolio so the visitor can see what kind of work we have done in the past, and see if that matches up with what they want done at the quality level they want.
  • A brief description of services that we do provide, explained in layman’s terms.
  • It should be obvious and easy to get in touch with us. The form for submitting a message should have as few requirements as possible.
  • It should contain a brief overview of the company, and the people in it. It should put a human face to the company.
  • Noon really is not a bad time to wake up.

I also decided to add a page for products, mainly for future use.

Overall the project was a fun — and hopefully financially rewarding — exercise. It was interesting to think about what would induce a visitor to stick around on our site, and then actually contact us. I’m not sure if I got it completely right, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.