We're pretty certain that Hamlet didn't pose the question, “To redesign, or not to redesign my website, that is the question.” But there are plenty of website owners that have posed it, though maybe not as poetically. Over the years we've had the pleasure of working with a lot of small businesses that needed a new site. There can be lots of different reasons behind that decision—not enough website visitors, and therefore not enough website traffic, a high bounce rate—meaning that people landed on the site and quickly left, or design trends changed so that their website just looked old by comparison. Or something else. If you've had some of those thoughts, got questions, or your Google Analytics has shown you data backing up the idea that it's time for change (you do look at your site analytics, don't you?!), let's look at some excellent reasons for a revamp.
You're not getting leads
Let's talk conversions. Your website should be an asset for your business and turn visitors into leads. If it's not bringing in leads and making your business money, then it isn't an asset. If you're not getting, or you've never received leads through your website, then it should be time for redesign. Reasons for not getting leads could be that your website just doesn't have good calls to action. People need to be told what the next step is so that they can take action. If that's not the issue it could be because your website doesn't load fast enough, and in this impatient world that we find ourselves in, people leave websites in a nanosecond.
Your site is slow as molasses in winter
Site speed is a big deal. So much so that Google has a page speed tester that you can use to see just how fast, or slow, your site loads. Get a bad score and Google will not promote your site. Think about it, it makes total sense. Google is in the business of delivering the most relevant search results to its visitors, otherwise they will stop using the search engine. Slow sites annoy people and Google doesn't want to annoy anyone. Though it often does, but that's a discussion for another time…
Google doesn't like your site
And what we mean by that is Google doesn't rank your website for what you do and where you do it. If it did, if you were getting leads online, we'd be able to see you doing a happy dance right now. But seriously, you need that edge in search to bring in traffic. Good search engine rankings can make a big difference when it comes to getting the phone to ring. Having quality content that's written for search engines as well as people, meaning that it's optimized to rank on page one of Google is so important. Today, when people have short attention spans—is that a squirrel?!—having a lot of text on a website that's not for media or educational purposes is a huge negative. Your homepage should be light and breezy, and have your customers in mind—meaning that people get nuggets of information that give them an overview of what you do, so they can decide whether they need to dig deeper and go to internal pages for more details. Gone are the days of rambling text on a homepage. Well, actually, those days were gone a very long time ago but not many people got the memo. ;)
Your website is not mobile friendly
Yes, even in 2021 there are websites that aren't compatible with mobile devices. If your site looks like a miniature copy of the desktop version then it definitely is time to get a new site designed. Think user experience. Most users are looking at the Internet on small screens so they need a mobile version of your site. Responsive web design resizes automatically for different screen sizes—think pages on mobile devices where you can read the content without pinching and zooming, à la 2010—perfect! Happy mobile users. Also, worthy to note: Google penalize sites in their rankings that aren't mobile optimized so if that's your website, it's definitely time for a redesign.
Your site content is no longer relevant
If you've had a change in your offerings so that the images and text on your site are out of date, or the target audience and potential customers you're courting are now different, it's time for a redesign. If we have to explain this point any further this post may not be what you should be reading right now!
Your site doesn't look professionally designed
If you're not a professional web designer and you built your site yourself, it's probably time for a redesign. Think about it, if you're not a plumber and your pipes have burst, apart from the immediate rush around to try and ameliorate a disaster, you quickly call a plumber. They are the expert at what they do, just as you should be the expert at what you do, so spend time working on your business and not in it. The time it takes you to get an OK website up and running is time that you could've spent actively growing your business.
Your information is hard to get to
Navigation and site functionality can be overlooked and lead to a poor user experience. Especially when someone has built their own site they may not have thought about the importance of interlinking internal pages and linking to external sites for search engine optimization purposes—let alone to help visitors move around the site with ease. Love him or hate him, Jeff Bezos pushed his programming team at Amazon to have a one-click buying experience for their shoppers because he knew that more clicks involved in the sales process reduced the number of sales. Don't make your visitors go on a virtual treasure hunt, or go down dead ends (click broken links) to get what they need out of your website.
Your website looks dated
Just like with fashion, website design has trends. You know when a website looks old—You might not be able to pin it down and say, “oh, that's so 2017!” but you can spot outdated designs. Not having a responsive design will immediately date your website. Sites that look old give visitors the impression that there isn't profitability behind it—a company that's making money has a marketing budget and uses it.
Your competition's site looks better that yours
Another reason that you should redesign your website is because your competition is looking better than you online. It may be shallow of us, but we humans do love pretty things and websites are no exception to the rule. Your site really does just have a microsecond to impress somebody. Outdated design or low quality images, bad navigation, rambling text—are just some things that will cause somebody, in basically the blink of an eye, to leave your website. So check out your competition—how does their website look and act compared with yours? Your website needs to look better than theirs—it needs to have that wow factor compared with other websites that also promote what you do, and the market you service.
What marketing strategy?
Having a marketing goals is important. Have a marketing strategy is paramount. We work with a lot of small business owners who learned some things about marketing as they were putting their business materials together. But that knowledge does not a marketing strategy make. Color psychology, a content strategy using the right type of content that's persuasive with strong calls to action, professional photography, knowing your audience and speaking to them are some of the elements that belong in a marketing strategy. And that takes us to branding...
Your branding is off
Brand messaging is something that can really come together when you redesign your website professionally. Look at the images and fonts that you're using in your marketing materials, on social media, and on your website—and get them all on the same page, as it were. Website visitors shouldn't be left wondering where they've landed because your website looks absolutely nothing like the rest of your marketing—online and offline.
Your site isn't scalable
Back in the day websites were HTML—the text and the template were one. These days a database should be driving the content so that the front-end design can change without a major headache when a new look is implemented. Your site should be able to grow as your business grows. You may not be thinking about e-commerce right now but what about a couple of years down the road? Having the design infrastructure to go from simple to complex without breaking the bank is something to definitely consider. Content Management Systems, like WordPress, enables scale. It's not perfect. What is? But it's so good that the majority of websites these days are built on WordPress. There are other web builders out there so if it's time for a redesign, make sure that your web designer builds on a platform that ensures scalability.
Your site is a hacker's dream
Did you know that some hackers enjoy hacking sites that belong to Mom and Pop Small Business just as much as they enjoy hacking big corporate web sites? Getting your site hacked is no joke and if you don't have backups you may end up having to create a whole new website in a hurry. If you're on WordPress and you're not religiously updating the version to the latest one, as well as the plug-ins, your site is vulnerable to attack. If your website doesn't have an SSL certificate it could get hacked. If your website isn't using security plugins, your site could get hacked. If your website is on a shared server it's very vulnerable because other sites on the same server could be sloppy with their security, get hacked and enable the other sites on the server to fall victim as well. Basically don't learn the hard way—do everything that you can to have a very secure site.
Site redesigns are par for the course and there are more reasons why you should redesign your website, but we think these thirteen are major ones that answer a lot of questions. With 24 years under our belt we have got the redesign process down to a fine art and part of that is using checklists. Take the reasons listed and make a checklist. Run your website through it and see how it does. If you have check marks next to several of the items then let's have a conversation, because it might be time for a redesign.