The Case of the Fake Website Redesign

Authorize.Net is one of the most popular merchant services companies in the nation — they help us and millions of other companies accept credit cards, echecks, and recurring billing plans safely and easily.

Recently I visited their website and saw what looked like a nice update to the design. Instead of their old look, I saw a modern stacked style with a trendy flat look and minimalist color scheme, with the cool icons and clean typography we’re seeing a lot of in new websites.



If you log in, though, you’re taken back to the old site.


I haven’t talked with about this and I have no idea why they chose to do this, but it made me think.

Everything about your website communicates something to your visitors. It’s like the clothes you choose to wear. They say something about you, about your relationship with the people who see you in those clothes, about the time and place you’re wearing them. Equally, the choices you make for your website say things about your company, about what you think of your visitors, about how you want and expect to interact with the people who come to your website.

In the case of Authorize.Net, they are at least saying, “This is different from that. ”

It could be any number of things:

  • “We care about getting new customers, but we don’t care so much about the ones we already have.”
  • “Our marketing people are cool but the nuts and bolts of our site doesn’t care about frivolous things like looks.”
  • “We put the investment in the stuff that shows first — in the dining room, not in the kitchen.”

We could keep going. We don’t really know what they meant. But the thing about communication is that it often doesn’t matter what you meant. The meaning of what you say is whatever people hear.

As an established customer of Authorize.Net, I heard, “Our redesign only goes as far as the first page — don’t expect any actual improvements in your experience.” Since I trust these people with money, that wasn’t a great message for me to receive.

Does it really matter? I didn’t take my business elsewhere. This blog post isn’t intended to be critical of Authorize.Net in particular. It just made me think: how often do we, as businesspeople,  fail to consider what we’re telling people who come to our websites?  How often do we put off making changes because we’re too busy to think about that — forgetting that for many, perhaps most people, our website is the first look they have at our company.

Look at your website. Get someone you don’t know very well to look at it with you, to help you see it fresh. Does it communicate what you want it to communicate? How about in the back room? We see a lot of websites that have a generic “Hello World!” page they forgot about or empty pages they’ve never filled. We often see websites with outdated information because they just didn’t get around to updating when a worker moved on or a new one arrived. We see duplicate content, grammatical errors, and wild punctuation because they meant to fix it later. Are you seeing things like that at your website?

Maybe it’s time for an update. If so, think seriously about doing the whole website. Call 479.966.9761 or email me at Rosamond@HadenInteractive. You can also fill out our easy Contact form. I’d like to talk with you about helping your website introduce your company better than it does right now.







Leave a Reply