One of the most important things about running a successful business is staying relevant. With technology constantly changing and design trends coming and going, it can be a lot of work to stay caught up and plugged in. It’s normal, and almost mandatory, to give your website a little face lift every now and then. By updating your look, you update your online presence and make yourself more relevant in today’s world.
Website redesigns are about more than just look and feel. The growth of social media apps and communities have changed the way websites work. Functionality, connectivity, presentation, updates, even loading and syncing capabilities all determine how effective a website will be in reaching a desired audience and completing necessary tasks. As the needs of consumers change, the expectations for the websites they visit change as well.
It might be time to see what you’re working with and make the necessary changes to your online presence. Below is a list of several questions to ask yourself to help you determine if it’s time to engage in a website redesign.
Is your website responsive?
A responsive website is a must-have in today’s world. “Responsive” means your website is device-friendly and functions well on computers as well as tablets and smart phones. Ask yourself, “can my current website be easily viewed on all devices, from large desktops to smaller phone screens, without hindering the experience of the site?”
If you can’t answer “yes” to this question, it may be time to contact a development team that can get your website where it needs to be. (Tip: Lift Media actually specializes in responsive web design).
Is it hard to keep your site updated?
When was the last time you updated your site? Was it a long time ago? If you aren’t making the necessary updates to your website because updating is a pain in the you-know-what, it might be time to consider a redesign.
If your website has gone without updates because you don’t have the knowledge to update the site yourself, you should look into hiring a web developer to install a content management system (CMS). A CMS allows for easy updating without the continued help of a development team. Another option could be starting from scratch to create an entirely new website that will also allow for easy updating. There are also teams that will run your website for you and perform routine updates as part of a service-package.
If you just don’t have time to update your site, you should make the time. An updated site keeps visitors coming back and keeps your business looking fresh.
Are there functions and features that are no longer needed?
As the web-world changes, it often becomes apparent that certain parts of a website just aren’t necessary anymore and grow more and more outdated over time.
Social media share buttons are one example of web functions that just seem to be a little less important than they used to be. Some web designers and developers even argue that they no longer work at all and just take up space on the page.
Is there something similar on your site that just isn’t working? If so then it may be time to either remove it, or if it is a major part of your site, restructure or redesign so that the underperforming feature is no longer there.
Does your website load slowly?
Today’s trend is to make sites load faster and not download as much information. This stems from two things: one, people just want their information faster; and two, because Internet providers and smartphone carriers are limiting the amount of data allowed per user. A business or website would be doing a great disservice to any visitors to make them download tons and tons of information, imagery, and scripts, all of which costs consumers precious data usage.
Most web developers agree that if your site takes longer than five seconds to load then you should look into optimizing it. After about five seconds, people become disinterested and leave your site. If your site is taking longer than this to load, especially on a mobile device, it might be a good time to look into hiring a web designer or developer to see why your site is taking so long to load or consider a redesign that will allow for less loading of certain elements (like background images, textures, custom fonts, etc.). Lift Media has an awesome Director of Creative Design that specializes in re-branding. By simplifying your website, you could cut your load time significantly.
Are consumers navigating through your website easily?
This might be a hard question to answer for yourself unless you have some special analytics software running on your site that lets you see what visitors are doing (Google Analytics is a good option for such software). If you have a service already to tell you how people are navigating your site, look and see if you’re losing visitors. If you are, start with the homepage design.
Maybe the homepage needs to be more enticing or user-friendly; or maybe the entire site needs to be revamped to make it easier to navigate. It could be in your best interest to look into some analytics tools to see if your website is user-friendly enough to keep visitors exploring.
Is your site slowly losing visitors over time?
Just as important as knowing how people navigate your site once they are there, is knowing how many visitors your site gets in general. Are you finding that people are not viewing your site as often as they had before? If so you may want to consider revamping either the content or the design of the entire site to make it more enticing to visitors.
A decrease in visitors may not necessarily mean a complete redesign is necessary, but it is often a good indicator that either your SEO is not working or your site is becoming stale. When your site starts looking like it hasn’t been updated in a while, visitors will be turned off and will go elsewhere for their needs. Search engines will also not rank you favorably in this case either, as they like sites that are constantly being updated with new content.
Do search engines even know you exist?
I cannot stress enough the importance of good SEO in terms of getting your site on search engines. Search engines like sites that have content that is constantly changing, coded properly, and isn’t heavily based on images. If your site does not meet this criteria, it’s time for a redesign.
While keeping your site updated is something you might be able to do on your own, things like making sure the site is coded properly may need to be investigated by a web developer with SEO experience. They can look to see if there are any coding elements that could be causing problems for you where it comes to search engine optimization.
Since most people search through Google rather than actually typing in a URL, playing nice with search engines will go a long way with getting visitors to come to your site. If you are virtually nowhere on search engines, then it may be time for a new website to help boost your SEO.
Ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not you revamp your site. It’s recommended that you at least update information anytime it changes so all pertinent facts — such as office hours, phone numbers, and addresses — are correct. Furthermore, if the copyright date on your footer says 2009, it also might be smart to redesign so your visitors don’t catch on to how old the site is. You know what your business needs are and you know which parts of your site function properly and which ones just take up space and download time. If you read this post and felt a little uncomfortable thinking of your outdated website, it might be time to contact the nice fellas at Lift Media to talk about a redesign.