At some point in our lives we’ve all heard someone tell us that first impressions are everything. This is no different for your online presence.
Would you let the cobwebs and dust gather in the windows of your physical store front or office, allow the décor to become dated or make the store difficult to peruse?
Your website is your online store front or office. This is your gateway to your clientele, your 24-hour access point. Making sure your website is up-to-date means more than just adding your new products or services.
Let’s look at the “How, Why and When” of website re-design.
How to Determine if you Need a Website Re-Design
Determining there is a problem with your website is the first step in finding the right solution.
Dated Design, Technology & Content
Having a website that is old, clunky and, just generally, out of date is comparable to having floral wallpaper and shag carpet in your house.
Make sure you stay with the times, don’t use out-dated techniques and features such as:
- Flash Intros
- Visitor Counters
- Animated Gifs
- Scrolling text
- Web page music
With the ever increasing importance of being mobile friendly, it is important to make sure you are following best practices to ensure your website is reaching the widest audience possible. Responsive design will ensure your website looks great regardless of the size of screen or device your visitors are using.
Updating your website regularly is just as important as keeping your office or store looking fresh. Make sure you are updating your website content with your latest offerings and information.
Decrease in Traffic & Leads
Having little traffic can be devastating, if you think about your website as your virtual storefront or office it would be like nobody entering your shop or even peeking in the windows.
Using analytic reports, like Google Analytics, you will be able to see the volume you are receiving down to the hour. Use this to determine if you are even getting your desired traffic. If you are falling short, it may be time to take a hard look at what your website is providing and improve on any shortcomings.
On the flip side, if you are getting great traffic but aren’t seeing any leads from your website, it’s probably time to take a look at your Inbound Marketing efforts. Are you using the right call-to-actions? Is your content fresh and informative? Google believes that people use the internet for three things; ‘Do something’ (make a purchase or perform a task), ‘Know'(find information), ‘Go'(navigate to a specific page). If you aren’t providing a clear path for users to progress through the Buyer’s Journey, you should re-evaluate your website.
Focusing your website to be the go-to resource for your industry will surely increase the amount of traffic and leads generated by your website. By knowing your buyer personas you will be able to tailor the website to attract valuable leads to your website and convert them into customer and even promoters.
Having a slow website is a deterrent for visitors. In this day and age we expect information to be readily available as we need it. If you think back to 56k modems we were perfectly happy waiting 1 minute for a webpage to load. This is not the case anymore; Google’s engineers believe that if your website doesn’t load quicker than the blink of an eye (400 milliseconds), you are going to lose valuable traffic. Especially if your competitors website loads faster than yours.
If your website is slow to load, both of the above tools will point you in the right direction to rectify the issue. Suggestions include:
- Leveraging browser caching
- Optimization of images
There are many more optimizations that the above tools can recommend, if you are unfamiliar with the technical jargon or terminology shown with these reports, simply export a report or ask your developer to take a look at the PageSpeed recommendations.
Competitors site is better
If you catch yourself admiring your competitors website design, navigation, content or organization. It’s probably best to close the browser, grab some coffee and get to work on getting your new website together. To start, jot down what you like from other website experiences and compare it to what your site has (or doesn’t have).
A poorly designed website can be like a messy home. You are just embarrassed to have people over. If you cringe every time someone asks you for your website’s URL it’s probably time to seek some help and get a re-design.
If your website just doesn’t represent your company anymore you need to change it like you would your office or physical base of operations.
Why Should you Re-Design your Website?
So, now we know some ways to tell if you are in need of a new website. You may be asking yourself, “Why?”
Well, let’s take a brief look at 5 reasons your website matters.
Having a design that is aesthetically pleasing and provides a fantastic user-experience will increase your credibility and further your brand as an industry leader. It will also be easier to showcase your expertise with a website that is visually appealing.
Professional Look & Feel
Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how cheap the meat is that guy in the parking lot is selling. The butcher shop with a nice clean look is much more likely to obtain higher traffic. Again, just like your physical business, if your website doesn’t look professional, people are likely going to go with a competitor. Showcasing your professionalism will speak volume in any industry and will go very far in bringing in more business.
Having a website that showcases your accreditations, certifications and accomplishments will go along way in showing your customers the professional level you present yourself in.
Having a website that isn’t accessible on all platforms, is like having a storefront on a closed street, potential visitors know it’s there but just can’t get to it.
With a website re-design you can ensure that your website is accessible to all of your target audience regardless of the device they are using.
Improving Customer Service
Smooth navigation will allow your clients to reach out to you, make a purchase, learn about your business and have their questions answered easily, regardless of your business hours.
Your website is your customers 24/7 access point to your company. Having information available at the point of need for your clientele is of the utmost importance. The generation we live in doesn’t want to wait for information. If we have a question we demand an answer immediately.
Having a well-designed, responsive website will allow your buyers to find the answer to their questions at 11:00pm while they peruse their mobile device before bed.
When Should you Re-Design?
When should you worry about updating your website? If any of the above is something that has crossed your mind while looking at your website, well, I think we’ve all heard the saying many times in our lives, there’s no time like the present.
While your website may not be on the top of your priority list. If you think of it as your virtual store front, you may find your business is not presenting itself as the outstanding, industry leader you are.