No business owner would host customers or clients in an old, shabby building. They’d end up scaring away potential clients! But when it comes to slapping a fresh coat of paint on an old website, many business owners leave outdated and ineffective designs up for far too long.
Figuring out when the right time for a website re-design can be tricky business. Thanks to fast moving technology and trends that seem to change overnight, it’s not always easy to know how often to update or when to make changes.
While each website is ultimately unique, there are some essential questions that companies can ask themselves as they think about whether or not it’s the right time to update.
If you’re not sure whether you’re ready to take on a website re-design, then try asking yourself these questions to determine if now is the right time.
1. Is your website easily accessible on all browsers and mobile platforms?
It’s all too common for companies to find themselves with a killer website that’s not readable across devices, and it’s a recipe for lost revenue. According Smart Insights, more than half of local Google searches are done on mobile devices – so if your site isn’t easy to read on a smartphone, then you’re missing out. Many people who come in from the outside of the technology industry don’t realize that websites can look drastically different on various devices. If not properly optimized to work across browsers and platforms, a website that looks amazing and that is easy to navigate on one device can look hideous and be impossible to access on another. If more than half of your potential customers are finding your website on mobile, you are likely losing revenue, as they navigate away from your site to find a competitor with a website that’s easier to use.
2. Are you seeing a drop in traffic?
Dips in traffic can often be remedied with a new web design. You’ll be able to optimize your content so that visitors have easier access, as well as incorporate the newest information in online communication. An important part of this particular step is making sense of traffic patterns. If visitors are making it to your online presence but aren’t sticking around to make a purchase, then it’s time to make changes. Key numbers that indicate it’s time for a change include high bounce rate, low number of pages per visit, and low time on site. A re-design will address all of these issues.
3. Has it been over 3 years since your last re-design?
If the answer to this question is yes, then you have your answer. With so many changes in technology and the expansion of surfing to mobile and tablets, a website that’s more than three years old probably isn’t working on a variety of levels.
4. Are you using out-of-date design elements?
While trends in web design come and go, there are overarching design elements like menu style and image formats that are well worth your attention. People spend so much time on the web today that they become accustomed to surfing being easy and intuitive. Keep in mind that your competitors are just a click away, and if your site isn’t pleasurable for a customer to navigate, then they are likely going to be taking their pointer and moving on. Look for long lasting, non-trendy site design that is most likely to stand the test of time. That way you’ll avoid having your website become dated too quickly.
5. Do you struggle to update your content?
Fresh content is one of the biggest factors in success online and if you’re struggling on the back end to add new content, then you need to consider making some changes. Whether it’s a blog, retail pages, how-to guides, or simple landing pages–if you can no longer make the kinds of changes that you need to, then your website is stuck in time. With the tools available today, you should be able to easily make changes to content without contacting your web developer.
6. Has your business significantly changed?
Businesses are not static entities; rather they’re ever-changing and ever-growing organisms that morph over time to meet the needs of their market. If your branding, messaging or company vision is different today than when you started your site, it’s time to update. Think back to where you were in your business cycle when your current site was designed, and compare that to where you are right now. If there’s a massive gap (and there probably is), then you must consider some changes. The look and feel of your website should closely align with the look and feel of your company.
7. Is your website a time capsule?
If your website immediately makes you think of 2008, then you need to rethink it. Clean design, easy navigation and a minimum of popups are hallmarks of today’s clean website designs. While you don’t have to stay right on top of trends in order to be successful, you do need to make sure that your site looks contemporary in order for visitors to feel comfortable on it.
8. Does your website take forever to load?
People are impatient creatures. If your site takes too long to load, then they’re going to assume that your company is going to be unreliable and difficult to access. KISSmetrics tells us that almost half of consumers expect websites to load in two second or less, and nearly 40% are headed elsewhere if the site takes longer than three seconds. Plus, loading time has an impact on your search engine ranking. Web developers have heaps of tricks in their pockets to take care of slow loading websites–like optimizing images or clearing up sloppy code. Sometimes a fresh website is the best option!
9. Do you hesitate when being asked to give out your web address?
If you’ve ever found yourself making some excuse about why your site looks the way it does, or if you’ve ever thought twice about whether or not to tell someone about your online presence, then it’s time for a redesign. Your website should not be a source of embarrassment.
Just like renovating an old building, getting a website re-designed often represents and significant investment for businesses. One look at your analytics may show you extensive areas where your business is missing out on major business opportunities, as potential clients drop off before converting into money-making leads. However, a modern, mobile-friendly website with engaging, optimized content puts your company leagues ahead of the competition.