If your website isn’t performing as you’d like it to – or you shudder every time you’re forced to link your customers to your platform – it could be time for a redesign!
I’ve put together a list of the 10 signs that you need to update, or completely redo, your company’s online shop window.
1. Your customers aren’t sticking around
If you’ve got page tracking in place – most likely with Google Analytics – you’ll quickly be able to see whether your users are spending a juicy amount of time interacting with your website, or whether they’re shooting off before they’ve had a chance to fully digest what you do.
Your bounce rate will tell you how many visitors are navigating away from your web pages as soon as they land on them. Generally, if more than 50% of people are engaging in single-page sessions and not exploring other parts of your site, this indicates that they’ve either not found what they’re looking for, or they’re disappointed with what they have found.
Sites can experience a high bounce rate due to poor design, sub-par content, or a mixture of both. But regardless of what’s causing the problem, one thing’s for sure: your website isn’t working hard for your business if your potential customers are left wanting.
2. Your design no longer looks the part
Web design trends come and go. What looked modern and slick five years ago may be looking a little outdated in 2020. A sprawling, text-heavy, over-populated design could also be confusing your users and leading, in part, to that all-important bounce rate metric we’ve just been speaking about.
Consider bringing your template up to date by making good use of contemporary design techniques such as minimalist aesthetics, evergreen colour palettes, burger or mega menus and video banners. (But be prepared to revisit this in two to three years’ time, when trends will inevitably have changed again!).
3. Your site takes an age to load
It’s not 2002.
Web users these days don’t expect to wait in order to see your content.
They have virtually zero patience.
They want it all, and they want it now.
In fact, a study commissioned by Akamai and carried out in 2010 found that 40% of people will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to load before abandoning the site altogether.
Stick with a site that’s outdated and slow to render, and it will frustrate and even anger your users – and ultimately, it will fail to turn their interest into actual business.
4. Your site doesn’t work properly on mobile devices
To back up the research conducted by Akamai, Google’s report from 2016, ‘The Need for Mobile Speed’, indicated that 53% of users will switch windows on their mobile device if a web page doesn’t load within the same timeframe.
And with approximately half of web traffic worldwide being generated by mobile devices as of 2019, failing to accommodate these users means missing out on a huge slice of the pie.
Having a mobile responsive website is also extremely important for SEO. In 2015, Google announced that mobile friendliness would become an official ranking factor, meaning that sites that were slow to load, clunky to operate and generally impossible to read on smartphones and tablets would have a hard time ranking well organically.
5. Your content doesn’t reflect your business any more
This is something we come across all the time.
Businesses grow. Values evolve. Messages change. If it’s been a good few months or years since you last reviewed your website’s content, you may find that what you’re displaying onsite doesn’t marry up with how you want your brand to come across to your audience – and what you actually want to be saying to your potential customers.
For a quick fix, read through all your page content and make sure there are no obvious errors or inaccuracies, especially when it comes to pricing, timeframes and staff members who may have been and gone. For a more well-rounded solution, ask our writers to delve deeper into your brand messaging and produce copy that perfectly describes what you can provide (and mentions why it’s better than what’s on offer from your competitors).
6. You’re having trouble updating your site’s content
As mentioned above, your offering is likely to change many times over the life of your business. This is especially true if you’re an eCommerce operation that’s updating its product range all the time, or a creative company that needs to update your portfolio regularly.
If you can’t quickly and easily update your text, images, videos and menus to reflect what’s going on, you should seriously be considering moving your website over to a platform like WordPress. This popular open source platform boasts its own simple and intuitive content management system (CMS) and allows you to adjust your pages as often as you need to.
Sure, redeveloping a hard coded, ‘static’ platform into a usable CMS will cost a little money in the short term. But you’ll be able to edit what you like, when you like – without asking your designer or developer to make the changes on your behalf (and paying them a pretty penny in the process).
7. It’s not easy for your users to complete an action
When a user lands on your site, is it immediately clear what they need to do in order to get in touch with you?
Is it obvious that you’re looking for sign-ups, enquiries or sales?
Are your pages scattered with phone numbers, email addresses and easy-to-complete contact forms – or does the browser have to click through to multiple pages just to find out how to reach you?
The user’s experience needs to be at the forefront of every design decision you make. If a lack of calls to actions is preventing your potential customers from making the first move and engaging with your business, your website simply isn’t doing what it was designed to do.
Interact with your website as if you were a new customer. If you feel that improvements could be made to the navigation system, and the user’s digital journey could be shortened, have a chat with your web designer for advice on how to spruce up your template to better accommodate your visitors.
8. You’re barely getting any enquiries from the web
You might be happy using your website as a virtual brochure. You might not need to generate business directly from digital sources.
But if your website has been set up primarily to generate interest, and you’re getting insufficient enquiries or leads, this could signal that something’s wrong with its design, its content or its structure. (It could also mean that you need to increase your digital marketing efforts).
A redesign could boost your site’s SEO value – and lead to stronger search engine rankings in the process. And a better presence in Google et al usually equals more conversions with less effort. It’s a highly effective way of getting more business organically, without having to spend so much on paid advertising.
9. Your site isn’t secure
If you created your website using a system like WordPress but you’re not taking the time to update its theme and its plugins on a regular basis, you could be opening your website up to hacks and security breaches.
This kind of open-source CMS is incredible in terms of functionality but does need to be updated regularly to ensure it doesn’t fall prey to cyberattacks.
You can learn more about the importance of updating your WordPress website in this previous blog.
10. You avoid mentioning or linking out to your existing website altogether!
If you’re lacking confidence in your online platform, chances are you won’t be actively mentioning it or linking to it when you’re in front of prospects – and this defeats the purpose of having a website at all.
It’s a vital marketing tool. One that should be working hard for your business. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed of it, that’s a sure-fire sign that it’s time to invest in something new!