How to Know If It’s Time for a Website Redesign

By Web Design & Development

There’s no getting around it – redesigning your website can seem like an intimidating project. After all, it’s how your company shown to the world.

How can you know if your company will gain a return on investment on a redesign?

Often overlooked, how your site looks to a potential customer can have huge effects on your sales, credibility and perception in the mind of the public. Without a background in design and lead generation, it can be hard to differentiate if it’s creating the most traction.

The good news is, there are a few key issues that could indicate it’s time for a redesign, and are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for:

1. Dated imagery
One of the first things users notice when they go to a website is what and how visuals are incorporated. Too many generic, unoriginal or dated stock photography on a website, creates immediate questions in the mind of the user.

2. Poor legibility
Word to the wise: if your background is navy blue, black is a bad font choice. Too often, important information is left unread simply because the color scheme is off or the font is hard to read. Illegible does not equal inventive. With ADA compliance being more and more in the forefront consider a classic white background and black font combo.

3. Analytics are telling
To give a concrete example, let’s say that part of the redesign plan involves incorporating more content. All the research to this point says that we’re not giving our customers enough information, and they want more. We’re experiencing a high dropout rate when it comes to our traffic. So, we add new pages, give more of a backstory into our company, and link to new content.

4. The site looks dated
If your site looks like it was created in the days of dial-up internet and huge computer monitors, it’s acting as a red flag for potential customers. Make sure to avoid references to old news stories, dated terminology and, arguably most importantly, stale design. Utilizing the latest development frameworks ensures a site that works on all platforms.

5. A lack of mobile responsiveness
In today’s world, we get most of our information on the go. Think of how much more time is spent in front of a phone versus desktop. According to a SimilarWeb study, the percentage of mobile device website visits grew from 57% to 63% between 2016 and 2017, and has continued to grow in the years since. If we take this data into consideration, it only makes sense that your target market should be able to have a mobile optimized experience with your brand.

“All things being equal, a site that is effective for twice as long has twice the ROI.”

If we look at this through the lens of a cost per wear analogy, it is easy to see that, while it might seem like a large undertaking, a website redesign can have a positive return on investment. For example, if you buy a $200 coat that you plan on wearing pretty much every day during the winter months, your cost per wear is a little over $2 per use, which immediately makes the initial price seem much more reasonable. The same logic can be applied to taking on a website redesign. While you are investing resources and manpower into the project, you are reaping the benefits in the long-term.

All things being equal, a site that is effective for twice as long has twice the ROI. A great site will produce results for five years or more. A bad site will need to be redesigned within two years or less.

If you want to stay competitive, your annual budget needs a line item for digital marketing that includes website updates.

If you are currently getting 1,000 visitors and 50 are turning into contacts, and 5 of those become customers, you can make some calculations. For example, if you were to change that to 2,000 visitors, you could see the other numbers grow based on volume.

To give a concrete example of how effective a website redesign can be, let’s take a look at what it did for one of our clients. RDM Shrimp farm raises delicious, fresh, Indiana-grown shrimp. While the company was doing well, they struggled to communicate who they were via their website. With messaging, visuals, and lead generation in place, their inquiries jumped from zero to five to ten emails per day.

While this process may seem overwhelming, it is important to remember how important e-commerce is in today’s business landscape. A simple upgrade to your online presence can make all the difference in the minds of your customers, driving brand awareness and, in the long-term, sales. So, take the leap. Upgrade your brand in the eyes of consumers, and redefine yourself for the digital age.

More About ZIV

ZIV has offices in greater Kansas City and Denver, CO. Whether it’s creating a brand, implementing a digital solution to disrupt an industry, transforming a customer’s experience to gain loyalty, or executing a marketing strategy for needed growth – they’ve got you covered. Explore their capabilities and past work at letsziv.com.

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Why your website needs to be secure – and how to do it

By Web Design & Development

“My WordPress website doesn’t need updates or maintenance, after all, it’s not like I collect important information!”

Have you heard someone say this? Have you said it yourself? Many businesses let their Drupal or WordPress core, plugins, and PHP sit with no maintenance, convinced that it will be fine as long as they’re not collecting passwords, email, or payment information. Even worse, some website owners feel their sites don’t need an SSL certificate or firewall.

But did you know that even simple sites run the risk of being hacked and handing their visitors over to phishing sites, spam, and viruses?

With an ever-growing list of risks and possible ways hackers can use your site for their own benefit, even low-traffic sites that do not collect emails are at risk of being infiltrated or marked as unsafe. Yet how can these sites be used? And, more importantly, how can it be stopped? Here are a few common ways sites can be exploited by hackers, putting your business and customers at risk:

The Risks of an Unsecured Website

Spam Injection
Your clean site is accepted by Google as safe, making both internal and external links considered free of risk. By planting spam links in forms and links, your hacked site is helping spam businesses boost their SEO and site traffic– while possibly causing your website to be marked as unsafe. Hackers can also redirect your content to their own content, causing their SEO to boost even if no one visits their page.

Email Hijacking
Websites can also be used to send spam email as your website has a safe, non-blacklisted IP address and will more easily get past spam filters. In this way, harmless spam can turn into malicious viruses. Even worse? Your IP address could be blacklisted due to the spam, making it much more difficult to reach your customers in the future.

Malware and Ransomware
A step further than spam, hackers can modify websites so malware is installed onto the computer of anyone who visits the website, downloading viruses onto the devices of your loyal customers. Ransomware can also be downloaded in this way, causing files to be stolen and encrypted with the hackers demanding payment in exchange for returning the files.

Phising Pages
With a clean bill of health from search engines and trust from visitors, hackers love to use smaller websites for pages that will extract sensitive information from users. This includes injecting items such as fake login pages, donation pages, or purchase pages onto an otherwise safe website.

“Even simple sites run the risk of being hacked and handing their visitors over to phishing sites, spam, and viruses.”
What can you do to protect your website?

Sounds a bit daunting, doesn’t it? No website is too small for hackers to take notice and use it for their own devices. Yet there’s good news! With precautions in place, your risk can be greatly reduced.

SSL Certificate
Becoming a web standard, it is crucial to have an SSL certificate (what makes your website https:// instead of http://) to protect and encrypt data. In addition to keeping visitors safe, Google no longer ranks websites that do not have an SSL certificate, and will discourage visitors from visiting your unsecured site. Make certain that you ‘force’ the SSL, so even if a visitor types in “http://website.com” they’ll be taken to the secure “https://website.com”.

Keep your site up to date
When kept up to date, a WordPress website causes no extra security concerns. Make certain that plugins and themes are updated regularly, and that you have a WordPress specific host ensuring the WordPress core and PHP is updated.

Backup your site
What if your website is hacked? Keep regular backups of websites ready to replace the current site. Just don’t forget to change your passwords on the backup!

Install a security plugin
WordPress has a variety of plugins designed to keep website owners informed while blocking attacks and keeping website safe.

With these steps in place, you’re on the road to protecting your site, your users, and your business.

Want to keep your mind on the day-to-day instead of checking to see what plugins need updated or how the next PHP update will affect your website? ZIV has managed, firewalled WordPress hosting to keep sites safe, backed up, and secure. Want to focus on growing your business and leave the security and updates to us? Let us know!

More About ZIV

ZIV has offices in greater Kansas City and Denver, CO. Whether it’s creating a brand, implementing a digital solution to disrupt an industry, transforming a customer’s experience to gain loyalty, or executing a marketing strategy for needed growth – they’ve got you covered. Explore their capabilities and past work at letsziv.com.

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ZIV built and designed Lead Bank experience wins website of the year

By Press Releases

ZIV’s design and development of the Lead Bank website a winner of the Progress Sitefinity 2018 Website Of The Year Award

Image of the Lead Bank Website

Progress Sitefinity, a leading provider of app development and digital experience technologies, announced the Lead Bank website design and development by ZIV as a winner of its annual Progress® Sitefinity® Website of the Year Award! Each year websites using the Sitefinity CMS platform are recognized for their creativity, design, user experience, functionality, and overall presentation.

The 2018 Website of the Year Awards winners selected first by a judging panel who shortlisted the three best websites per category, then voting was opened to the community to vote. The websites of each of the 13 categories with the highest amount of votes were declared winners.

ZIV would like to thank Progress Sitefinity for the kudos, and Lead Bank for the opportunity to partner on this.

Want to learn more about the redesign? Check out our website launch press release.

Read the full press release on Businesswire.com, or see the complete list of winning websites here.

To experience the award-winning website, visit lead.bank.

More About ZIV

ZIV has offices in greater Kansas City and Denver, CO. Whether it’s creating a brand, implementing a digital solution to disrupt an industry, transforming a customer’s experience to gain loyalty, or executing a marketing strategy for needed growth – they’ve got you covered. Explore their capabilities and past work at letsziv.com.

For media inquiries or for further information please contact Ben Matthews, ben.matthews@letsziv.com.

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ZIV built and designed Lead Bank experience wins website of the year

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Are You Ready to Ignite Brilliance?

Making marketing plans or know you need to optimize your market impact but don’t know where to start? We can help. Using a proven process of strategic, creative, and validated thinking, ZIV guides clients to success.

Talk to us today

Great companies deserve web experiences to match – see one of our favorite transformations.

Building a new online experience

Lead Bank launches new website designed by digital agency, ZIV

By Press Releases

Monday, February 25, 2019, Kansas City, MO

Lead Bank, a full-service community bank that leads the way in innovative banking solutions, launched its newly designed website, lead.bank.

The organization sought a firm to completely revamp the website, streamline design and improve functionality in order to help the community stay well-informed in terms of their banking options in the Kansas City area.

Lead Bank awarded experience design agency ZIV the contract. ZIV, founded in 2004, provides organizations with digital solutions grounded in a customer-focused perspective. Working with Fortune 500 companies and smaller organizations to ensure they are compelling.

Bringing Lead Bank’s website to life

With the new Lead Bank website serving as the company’s primary communication tool to their clients, it was important to ensure the site was structured as a simple, direct way to inform the community about the many services the bank offers and allow current clients to quickly accomplish their day to day banking tasks.

At the beginning of this journey, ZIV conducted in-depth information sessions with Lead Bank’s executive team and staff to ensure goals were understood and strategies acknowledged along with talking to current clients to understand perceptions before moving into the redesign process. Once this was defined, it guided the website audit of content and dictated what an intuitive site structure and design would look like moving forward.

“It was important to ensure the site was structured as a simple, direct way to inform the community about the many services the bank offers and allow current clients to quickly accomplish their day to day banking tasks”

With an improved, user tested and validated navigation model, the new Lead Bank website provides clear, easy to find access to every page on the website. Taking a customer-focused perspective to the next level, preferences and findings from Lead Bank customers and area business owners were taken into consideration and worked into new content, program names, and account information.

Visit the redesigned website at lead.bank to learn more about Lead Bank.

More about the agency partner

ZIV has offices in greater Kansas City and Denver, CO. Whether it’s creating a brand, implementing a digital solution to disrupt an industry, transforming a customer’s
experience to gain loyalty, or executing a marketing strategy for needed growth –
they’ve got you covered..

For media inquiries or for further information please contact Ben Matthews, ben.matthews@letsziv.com.

Are you ready to ignite brilliance?

Making marketing plans or know you need to optimize your market impact but don’t know where to start? We can help. Using a proven process of strategic, creative, and validated thinking, ZIV guides clients to success.

Talk to us today

Great companies deserve web experiences to match – see one of our favorite transformations.

How ZIV added to the KC Skyline
Image of an agency workplace

The top 5 ways to stay on top of digital trends

By Marketing

In business and in life, the most successful people are the leaders, not the followers.

With today’s ever-changing digital marketplace, this can be easier said than done. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Here’s the good news – we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of the top five ways to stay connected to digital trends and best practices, helping you reach new opportunities and customers.

1 – Stay connected.

It goes without saying that utilizing social media is key to staying informed. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other outlets are fantastic ways to connect with digital publications and experts, providing insights you may not have been exposed to otherwise. What are your competitors doing? What is your target audience talking about? What are the latest best practices and market research findings? Knowing the answer to these questions can provide innovative ideas and great return on time investment in the long-term.

2 – Take SEO seriously.

Millions of searches, millions of users, and a virtually unlimited pool of information make the internet a pretty crowded place. Luckily, there are ways to cut through all this clutter. SEO tools, like Moz, allow you to search industry keywords and see exactly what language your competitors and customers are using to share information. Incorporating these words into your website copy, blogs, and advertising makes it more likely that your target audience will stumble across your webpage.

3 – Consume as much media as possible.

Magazines, websites, social media, the list goes on and on. Whether you’re looking at industry-specific material or just popular content, it’s important to stay relevant. The best way to know what’s going on is to put yourself in the middle of the chaos.

“It’s important to stay relevant. The best way to know what’s going on is to put yourself in the middle of the chaos.”
4 – Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

You might know your industry inside and out, but at the end of the day, your customer is the expert. You can use surveys, focus groups, and even social media to get a sense of what you’re doing right, what isn’t working, and what your competitors are doing to stay ahead of the game.

5 – Keep the channels of communication open.

Your biggest asset is your team. A collaborative working environment leads to innovation, improvement, and in the long-term, success. At ZIV, we use Slack to stay in touch throughout the business day. If someone has a question, an idea, or even just a relevant article to share, we can all be looped in immediately.

Even though digital trends are constantly in flux, it’s important to remember you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Make staying relevant a priority, and you’ll see the results in no time.

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July 23, 2020 in Web Design & Development

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ZIV built and designed Lead Bank experience wins website of the year

ZIV's design and development of the Lead Bank website a winner of the Progress Sitefinity 2018 Website Of The Year Award Progress Sitefinity, a leading provider of app development and…
Read More
Are You Ready to Ignite Brilliance?

Making marketing plans or know you need to optimize your market impact but don’t know where to start? We can help. Using a proven process of strategic, creative, and validated thinking, ZIV guides clients to success.

Talk to us today

Great companies deserve web experiences to match – see one of our favorite transformations.

How ZIV added to the KC Skyline
An image of someone using a website that uses Black Hat UX tactics

Black Hat UX: Where Intention Meets Design

By User Experience

Know a website that tries to deceive the user? It just might be wearing a black hat.

A few weeks ago we were user testing for a popular VPN service. Their security consultant hired us to find out how to improve revenue. Although they were AB testing and making continuous improvements to their site, the app design had been developer-led, and their consultant felt there was room for growth.

After talking to eight user-testing participants, we discovered a number of major flaws in the sign-up process. These flaws seemed underhanded and intentional in their deception. While there is no way to prove the validity of this assessment, it reminded us of the practice of Black Hat UX. What was so Black Hat about it? We’ll get to that.

Sorting the Good Guys from the Bad Guys—One Hat at a Time

The term “black hat” has its roots in western movies. Hat colors were used to distinguish the bad guys (wearing black hats,) from the “good guys” (wearing white hats.) In UX it describes the act of intentionally creating a suboptimal user experience. At ZIV we take it a step further and see it as the act of deceiving the user by withholding key information or creating confusing, convoluted interactions.

In the case of this client, they withheld key information like a no refund policy. This, paired with three-day cancellation period, quickly trapped users into a year-long commitment when they could have been offered a month-to-month alternative that kicks in once the trial has ended.

“At ZIV we take it a step further and see Black Hat UX as the act of deceiving the user by withholding key information or creating confusing, convoluted interactions.”
The Real Life Implications

Although you can trick users using black hat UX to increase certain numbers such as conversion rate, or decrease other numbers like shopping cart abandonment, the practice is not only unethical, in the long run, it hurts the user, the user experience, and your company.

If you’re employing Black Hat techniques on your site or would like to know if you are, and would like to shift to a brand loyalty approach to client retention, call ZIV. We’ll put on our white hats and help you do the same. Your customers will become raving fans, and you’ll be in the know and on your way to long-term success.

More About the Agency Partner

ZIV has offices in greater Kansas City and Denver, CO. Whether it’s creating a brand, implementing a digital solution to disrupt an industry, transforming a customer’s experience to gain loyalty, or executing a marketing strategy for needed growth – they’ve got you covered. Explore their capabilities and past work at letsziv.com.

For media inquiries or for further information please contact contact us.

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July 23, 2020 in Web Design & Development

How to Know If It’s Time for a Website Redesign

There’s no getting around it – redesigning your website can seem like an intimidating project. After all, it’s how your company shown to the world. How can you know if…
Read More
July 31, 2019 in Web Design & Development

Why your website needs to be secure – and how to do it

“My WordPress website doesn’t need updates or maintenance, after all, it’s not like I collect important information!” Have you heard someone say this? Have you said it yourself? Many businesses…
Read More
April 4, 2019 in Press Releases

ZIV built and designed Lead Bank experience wins website of the year

ZIV's design and development of the Lead Bank website a winner of the Progress Sitefinity 2018 Website Of The Year Award Progress Sitefinity, a leading provider of app development and…
Read More
Are You Ready to Ignite Brilliance?

Making marketing plans or know you need to optimize your market impact but don’t know where to start? We can help. Using a proven process of strategic, creative, and validated thinking, ZIV guides clients to success.

Talk to us today

Great companies deserve web experiences to match – see one of our favorite transformations.

How ZIV added to the KC Skyline