Five Signs Your Website Needs a Redesign
- Katie Cahill
Your website is an investment that can have huge returns for your business; but what some don’t understand is that in order to continuously receive the benefits of having one, you must continue to invest in your website. If you think about it, this is no different than needing to have your car tuned up to maintain peak performance, or re-roofing your home to ensure you stay warm and dry through the winter every year.
But just like cars and homes, if you aren’t paying attention you won’t recognize problems until they are big. Big problems are costly and hard to come back from. The longer your website isn’t working efficiently for your business, the bigger they become. Fortunately, unlike car and home maintenance, the answer to your website issues is pretty straight forward… when your site is no longer performing the way you need it to, it is time for a redesign.
So how do you know your site isn’t performing well? The obvious red flags are a decline in viewers, customer/viewer complaints about site performance, and eventually a decline in web sales and inquiries about services. But you can fix these things before they become the big, costly problems we mentioned above, and we have come up with a list to help you decide if it’s time for that redesign.
Design styles and technologies change over time and the more frugal minded businessperson may be inclined to stick with an out of date site that functions well to save money. This can be mistake that will cost you. It may seem like keeping up with current design trends on your website is a frivolous concern, but when was the last time you made a purchase from a business that looked like it hadn’t been updated in a decade?
Like it or not, for most businesses having a web presence is extremely important. Even without web-based sales, the vast majority of your target market will be looking for your information through a web search. Your website may be a simple page providing basic information, location, and contact info, but if it doesn’t do that in a way that appeals to your client base they are going to skip right over your site and go to one that does.
So how can you be sure your site is out-of-date? There are no set rules on this… you should get at least three years from your website but it is a good idea to stay on top of things by doing periodic updates. This can prolong the life of your site, but the best way to know for sure is by doing your own research. Look at your competitor’s websites. What do sites showing up in the top results have that yours doesn’t? If you find yourself feeling your site isn’t keeping up with the competition, then it is definitely time for you to talk to someone about a redesign.
Occasionally businesses change focus, ownership, or just need a bit of a refresh and it becomes necessary to rebrand. Rebranding can mean anything from a logo redesign to a complete business restructuring, and it can be expensive. The urge to hold off on big website changes as part of rebranding is understandable, but your website is the face of your brand on the Internet and neglecting even the smallest updates can be a disaster.
Brand consistency is one of the most important aspects of marketing your business. From signage to business cards, you want your brand to be recognizable in every situation it may be viewed. This means your website must reflect any and all changes you make in your brand. Imagine if someone saw an advertisement for your business in their local paper then went to find you on the web, but couldn’t tell if your website was related to your business or not. This is not an ideal situation, right?
Brand consistency isn’t the only consideration when you are deciding to redesign your website or not. If you have rebranded it also stands to reason that most, if not all of your business collateral has been refreshed along with everything else. This can be an exciting time in a business and your website needs the update just as much as other parts of your business do. If your website isn’t looking as fresh as the rest of your business is, it may be time to start talking about a redesign.
It is hard to imagine a world where we are not walking around with powerful, pocket-sized computers in our hands. Smartphones and other mobile devices are deeply ingrained in our world culture now, and they are here to stay. In a 2016 article for Marketing Land industry expert, Greg Sterling, tells us mobile web traffic accounts for over 50% of all web traffic worldwide. If that isn’t a startling enough statistic, he goes on to say mobile users are spending over two minutes less on websites with a bounce rate roughly 10% higher.
This means half of your target web market will be looking at your website with their mobile devices; they will be spending less time on your site, and they will be harder to keep on your site. Neglecting mobile friendly design and upgrades for your website is basically ignoring literally half of your potential web-based business and the simple fact is, you can’t be competitive in your market if you are not taking steps to appeal to mobile users.
Not sure if your website is mobile friendly? Don’t worry; Google has a handy tool you can use to test your site. Just type in your URL and it will tell you if it is mobile friendly or not. You can also use MobileTest.me to see how your website looks on specific Apple and Android mobile devices. If your site isn’t measuring up it is a good idea to get started on a redesign as soon as possible.
Don’t you hate it when you visit a website that takes too long to load? It happens to all of us and I am betting you are just as likely to leave that page you are waiting for to find something quicker as I am. We have become accustomed to lightning fast Internet speeds and instant gratification; if your website can’t provide that the people you are trying to reach will find another site that can. A slow website is one of the biggest causes of high bounce rates so this is an issue you will want to address right away.
Many things can cause web pages to load slowly. Sometimes there is a simple solution and sometimes it is a site-wide problem requiring a redesign (or possibly a full site rebuild). Because slow load times can be network or device related, you will want to make sure this is a problem for all users to your site. You can do this by testing from multiple devices and places. If your site is only slow on one or two it is probably safe to assume it is device/network related. If you have ruled out non-site relates issues as a cause, you can use Google Insights to help you test individual page speeds on your website to hone in on specific causes.
Whether your websites is using unnecessarily large images, outdated Flash content, has corrupted code, or any of the other seemingly endless reasons a page can load slowly, you will want to speak with someone about a site redesign so you aren’t driving potential clients and contacts to your competitors.
This issue is twofold, but since we have been looking at customer/marketing focused reasons for a website redesign, let’s start there first. This one is a really no-brainer… if the people you want using your website have a difficult time using it, they aren’t going to stick around long enough to see what you have to offer them. If your website is difficult to use you will undoubtedly be getting feedback saying so, but even if you aren’t, ask friends and family to go to your site once in a while and report back with their findings. In fact, it has been mentioned several times already in this article but is important enough to bring up again; you should be testing your website at least once a month to make sure there are no problems.
Navigation is one of the biggest culprits when websites are not user friendly. Is your navigation prominent on your site? Is it simple and concise, or do you have drop-downs upon drop-downs? If your audience can’t figure out how to get where they need to go on your website, it isn’t doing its job. Do all your links work? Dead links are another common complaint with websites that are difficult for users to interact with. How frustrating is it to click a link you want to follow and end up nowhere fast? You don’t want to do that to your customers, do you? Is all the text on your website easy to read? Is your color scheme loud and obnoxious, or dark and difficult to see? All of these things can have a huge effect on how easily your target market is able to use your website. If your target audience can’t use your website, they won’t.
Now for the flip-side on the ease of use issue… how easy is it for you to update your website? Do find yourself struggling to update products in your web storefront? Do you find things like updating important contact information and details on goods/services difficult? The old adage “time is money” is true and if you’re wasting your time trying to update an inefficient website, it is robbing you of valuable time and energy you could be spending elsewhere. If this is a regular issue many business owners find themselves avoiding the chore of updating their website all together, which is even worse. If your website is no longer efficient for you and/or your target audience to use, you need a redesign.
If any of these website issues ring true for you, LunaGraphica can help! Our talented staff are up to date on SEO best practices, mobile optimization, current design trends, and much, much more. Contact us today for a free consultation.