The website is the hub of your digital efforts. It’s where you can introduce your brand to your audience, generate leads, and share thought leadership content on your blog. And yet, it might not be doing any of these things.
An outdated website is like a Ferrari with the paint peeling off. Sure, you still technically have what it takes to get admiration. But does anyone really shoot you jealous looks on the street if they see that you haven’t taken care of it?
Even the greatest websites can only go a couple of years without a refresh. Content becomes stale, new Google algorithms require changes in SEO strategy, or user behaviors change. When any of that happens, it’s time to think about a restart. Consider these signs for needing a new website.
Your bounce rate is high
Your bounce rate counts how many visitors jump off after visiting only the page they landed on. If it’s above 60% try to improve it. If it’s above 70%, you have a serious problems. It means that the clear majority of users simply didn’t like what they see, or got impatient trying to find something not easily available. They had initial interest, but now they’re gone. When that happens, you need to improve your web presence.
Your users don’t convert
You need to leverage your website to gather new leads, inquiries, and contacts for your database. Inbound marketing has become the lay of the land, building on value over promotion and relevance over push marketing. But it can only work if visitors to your website convert to leads. Your website needs to have natural paths towards that conversion, and landing pages that make it easy. If it doesn’t currently work as a well-oiled lead generation machine, you might want to think about improvement.
You’re running on old technology
Web functionality changes. Can you believe that there was a time when everything was Flash-based? If your website still lives in that age, you might want to take another look. Flash became irrelevant and even a hindrance with the preponderance of mobile devices. Many other former innovations have gone the same way. Web technology is complex, but having at least a cursory understanding of it can help you understand whether you need a refresh.
Your audience just hates it
Yes, it can be subjective. You might be running the right technology, and your users still hate it. They might not like the color scheme, the way the language reads, or any other aspect. When an isolated opinion becomes a trend, it makes sense to pay attention. Survey your audience on your website. If they plain don’t like it, a redesign is in your future.
Your site loads slowly
Page load speed can actually impact your bottom line. Your users expect your site to load in 3 seconds or less. If it doesn’t, they’re outta here. They won’t even wait for the home page to load, and become just another part of the bounce rate. Convoluted code, plug-ins, and old technology can all lead to load page load speed. When that happens, look at the necessary improvements as you consider a refresh.
You’re not accounting for mobile users
Almost regardless of your industry, the majority of your target audience now visits your website from a mobile device. Their experience will differ significantly from those at a desktop. Responsive design is the name of the game, with your website (including navigation and content) adjusting seamlessly to all screen sizes. If it doesn’t a new website is absolutely necessary.
Blocks of text still dominate the content
Yes, in-depth content can sell your audience. But don’t make the mistake of letting that tempt you into writing books. Especially on smaller mobile screens, long paragraphs turn into blocks of text that no one will read. You can change that easily with shorter paragraphs, sub heads, and visuals. Even better, you can build an updated website designed to make your content stand out.
Your content is outdated
Nobody likes to read outdated content. Even the best design matters little if your text makes references to events that happened five or ten, or even two years ago. Images that show flip phones or even early iPhones probably won’t play well with them, either. If your content is outdated, you might not need an entirely new website – but a refresh should be in order.
The navigation seems like rocket science
Research shows that two thirds of mobile users will leave your website if they get frustrated with the navigation. The problem is that as your site grows, navigation becomes almost necessarily more complex. Keeping it simple requires constant upkeep; if you haven’t done that, you might be ready for a new strategy. A simple navigation should be at the forefront of any web design.
Updating content is difficult
Yes, building a website requires significant technical and coding skills. Updating it on an everyday basis, however, should not. There are plenty of CMS solutions designed to help you accomplish backend updates, from swapping out pictures to publishing a blog post. Difficulty in doing that typically goes back to a legacy CMS that might need to be put to pasture.
You just want to rebrand
Remember what we said about your website being a hub for all your digital marketing efforts? That also means one thing: if you’ve recently rebranded with a new logo, identity, or brand personality, your website needs to reflect that. If it doesn’t, you’re undercutting your messaging and introducing cognitive dissonance for your audience. A new website or at least a graphic update should be a core part of any rebranding effort.
New year, new website
Your website has the potential to be your single most important marketing tool. If it currently isn’t, think about updating your presence. Take a close look at your analytics, and even survey your visitors to understand their feelings. Let that data guide you on any potential redesign.
Are your users interacting with their content? Can they even find it? Do they get frustrated by the navigation or long load times? Take a website audit, and find out.
As we move deeper into 2019, it’s time to think about improving your marketing efforts for the new year. Work with us on a website audit, and to get started on improving your online presence. It’s the hub of your digital marketing, it’s time to make sure your audience feels the same way.