Updated April 18th, 2015
Your website is the public face of your organization or business. You most likely have one already, but how well is it doing its job for you? If your current website looks outdated, or just doesn’t work the way you would like it to, chances are that it is due for a redesign. Today I’m going to go over five glaring signs that your site needs an upgrade.
For most small businesses, non-profits, or individuals, the idea of starting a new website redesign project is daunting. Thinking about what you would like your site to do for you, and where the current version falls short is a good first step. Think of the following list as a starting point for determining the gap between where your website is and where you would like it to be.
#1. You need more incoming business. And who doesn’t? The days of the Yellow Pages have been replaced by Google Search. When customers look for your business name, you want to make sure it’s you that they find, and once they get to your site, it is easy to navigate and use. The longer people spend on your site, the more likely they are to do business with you later. Showing a professional looking website is just as important (often times more) as having a professional looking physical office.
Everything else I will say in this article stems from this one point: we could all use more business. Your website is there to generate more business for you, save you time, and increase people’s perception of your brand. If your current site isn’t doing all of these things for you, that’s a huge reason to consider giving your site an overhaul.
#2. Your website looks old. If your website hasn’t been redone since dial-up was cutting edge, it probably needs a facelift. Trust is a huge issue in business and e-commerce. A business site that looks and feels old can seem neglected to the public. Websites made a long time ago can be brought up to date visually, and made to feel more vibrant and alive, strengthening your brand. Fixing your old design to make it automatically fit on smartphones and tablets will make it easier for visitors to use it, and increase the chance that they will come back.
#3. People aren’t using your site as frequently as they used to. Worse yet, you might not even know why they are leaving.
It is a fairly simple thing to install a tool such as Google Analytics on your site. With analytics tools, you can see what pages users are entering and leaving on, and see the paths that they take on their visits. From this, we can deduce what pages need to be revamped in order for people to complete the tasks you want them to.
Imagine your site has an action you would like users to complete, such as putting something in a shopping cart and buying, or signing up for a newsletter. If there is a specific stage where people get frustrated and abandon the entire process, we can see that pattern and change that specific step. We can also see if there is a specific page that people always leave the site from, more than other pages, and see what can be improved to retain time-on-site.
#4. No one in your organization has updated your site in a long time. Sites that are updated with news, articles, or events calendars look up-to-date. Visitors can see that someone is paying attention and taking care of the site. If no one is updating your website, we need to determine why. It usually comes down to two reasons: either no one is assigned to post new information to the site, or the process is too difficult. If there is someone who is assigned to updating the site, we can determine and fix the site to make it user-friendly for the site owners and managers.
There are many times when a site is coded in such a way that changing information is a challenge for the people taking care of it. This shouldn’t be the case as often as it is. Migrating your site to a system that is easy to manage and update is important, and can be the difference between frustration and happiness for a site owner.
#5. You have new features, functionality, or ideas that you want to introduce. If it’s been a while since your website was built or redesigned, there are probably new things that need to be added to it. Social media widgets or accounts that didn’t exist before, forums, shopping carts or e-commerce, and image galleries are just a few things that you might want to add to your site. Improvements to your website are improvements to your organization or business; they always have a positive return.
Starting a new website redesign project can be a little daunting before the work begins, but when it is finished, it should be something you feel good about. Removing obstacles for the site managers and the site users should always be a primary goal.
There is also an audio file below, if you prefer to listen to these ideas.