When you first launched your website, it seemed to meet your needs and be an asset to the business. Over time, however, things change, and a website that once supported your organizational objectives will often morph into something that actually works against your achieving your business goals. In this digital age, websites have become critical to a businesses’ success. Your site is your public persona and encapsulates your company image. It may be the primary sales agent for your firm’s goods and services, or it may be offering the first impression to prospective customers, determining whether they decide to further research your offerings and potentially become a customer. You cannot afford to neglect your website.
So how do you know when it’s time to redesign a website? To help you decide if it’s time for a website redesign, here are six simple questions to ask yourself.
1. Is your website responsive?
There has been a very big push in the last couple of years to make websites more device-friendly. With a growing number of websites being accessed by a wide array of devices and platforms, the web design community has responded by rethinking the way it designs websites. It is no longer good enough to design a website for a desktop or laptop computer, especially with millions of people accessing the Web on their Smartphones, Tablets, TVs, gaming, and music devices.
Does your current website follow the principles of responsive web design? Can it be easily viewed on all devices—from large desktops to Smartphones—without hindering the experience? If you cannot confidently say “yes,” then it may be time to review how your website is working and considering at least changing your current website to be responsive.
2. Does your website take a long time to load?
This is closely related to responsive web design. Web designers are optimizing their clients’ sites to load faster by not downloading so much information when a visitor requests a page. This is partly because ISPs (internet service providers) and mobile networks sometimes place restrictions on the amount of data we can use in a given time period. With these limits being placed on our usage, we would be doing a disservice to our visitors if we make them download tons and tons of information, imagery, and scripts just to view our site.
Older sites often have a lot of flash elements that can seriously slow down your website. Flash was big in the 90’s when other trends like neon and flashing lights were also popular on websites. These days, we are seeing more of a focus on usability than flashy-ness. If your website incorporates flash elements that don’t actual contribute to your site’s usability for the user, it could be time to look at another design strategy.
Most web developers agree that if your site takes longer than five seconds to load, then you should look into optimizing your site. After about five seconds on slower bandwidths, people become disinterested and will seek what they’re looking for elsewhere.
3. Are your website visitors sticking around?
If your web analytics shows a high bounce rate, low time on site, and low average pages per visit, then you have a strong indicator that your visitors do not find your current site useful.
Likewise, if you’re trying to see ROI from your site, and you’re not seeing conversions (either because conversion opportunities aren’t set up to begin with or your visitors just simply aren’t converting), it’s likely time to re-evaluate your approach. Web analytics can give you lots of insight into whats going on on your website. Getting visitors to your site with paid advertising or inbound marketing is just the first step, the actual ROI comes when you convert these visitors into customers.
Re-designing your website with both your target audience and your goals in mind can help contribute to actual revenue increases for your business.
4. Does your site just look outdated?
Let’s face it: web design trends are changing rapidly, and if your website is a few years old, it may just look outdated. Maybe it’s an obvious thing like your copyright info still saying 2012, or you have a musical intro when a visitor lands on your site, or maybe it’s the whole site that’s the problem.
Websites have evolved substantially over the years. Today, it is all about clean design and easy navigation. If your site is a cluttered mess that looks outdated, it is time for a re-design. Websites with a good design are more trustworthy. It’s important that your customers and potential customers trust you, and a strong re-design can help make that happen.
5. Has your business changed its brand positioning or message?
Similar to the point above, if you’ve changed your brand positioning or messaging, it is likely time for a re-design. Your website is one of your most important business assets. It is the hub of your online activity, and in many cases, a potential customer’s first impression of your brand. If the look and feel of the site doesn’t line up with your current target audience, and your current message, it is time to update.
6. Can your website answer all your visitors or customers’ questions?
Are your sales people plagued with tons of similar questions? It’s your websites job to answer common questions for you so your sales team has more time to do what it does best, sell. Check in with your team and see if they are answering the same questions over and over again. A FAQ page is a good place to start, but your website should also be answering questions and imparting information on every page. If your customers can’t find the information they need, they will might leave and go to your competitor for their needs. If your website leaves your visitors unclear, its time for an update.