It’s no question that a well designed website will help make a business look more professional, trustworthy, and credible. In fact, 75% of judgements based on website credibility are linked to the website’s overall aesthetics and design. Since your website serves as the hub around which digital communications revolve, it’s important to keep it in sync with the expectations of your customers, the activities of your competitors, and the vision of your company.
If redesigning your website falls by the wayside, you’ll likely be sidelined fairly quickly as your industry moves on to new ways of connecting with customers. Rest assured, this can all be avoided with a proactive mindset. If you are currently experiencing any of the following pain-points, it may be time to consider redesigning your website.
1. Your Website is Technically Outdated
If your website is four or more years old, chances are it was set up as a hard-coded site using HTML, Flash, CSS, frames or tables. In most instances, these websites lack in interactivity, opportunities for engagement, and often do not have the platform capability to seamlessly upload fresh information. Developers were the only people who could access and understand the language of these websites, which made updating content or adding visual components difficult for the website manager.
Lucky for website managers, content management systems (CMS) have drastically improved over the years, giving them the freedom and flexibility to easily manage website content, graphics, and some design components without the use of code. Having this direct access also gives marketing teams the power to keep content relevant and optimized for SEO.
Is your website technically outdated? It most likely is if:
- There is an absence of a database to collect contact information for prospects.
- You still have to type “www” in front of your domain name to reach the website.
- You don’t have a sitemap to use for indexing.
- There are no signs of an active content strategy in force.
- There is an absence of high quality multimedia such as video and audio.
- You are still using Flash.
- Your website doesn’t use microdata specifications to markup structured data.
- There is minimal or inaccurate “snippets” when you search your company name in Google.
- Outbound links (if they exist) are often broken.
- Your website has a slow load time.
- Your website is not mobile responsive (next point below).
If you are curious about your website is currently performing, check out SEOSiteCheckup to identify the primary issues that are negatively impacting your digital presence.
2. Your Website Does Not Serve Mobile Users
Ever since Mobilegeddon occured back in 2015, mobile responsiveness has become one of the most important factors Google looks at when deciding how to rank your website on search engines. In October of 2016, a huge milestone was made as mobile traffic officially surpassed desktop traffic on the internet. This is the shift consumers are headed and if your website is not responsive, chances are you are losing leads and potential customers.
Some questions to consider when analyzing your website’s mobile design include:
- Are CTAs clickable and easy to view on a phone or a tablet?
- Is the content on your site compelling, organized and readable?
- Are submission forms easy to populate and submit for the end user?
- Are images, content, and banners sized and scaled down correctly so it is easy for the end user to navigate through the site?
It’s important to note that mobile responsive sites can be viewed from more than just your phone. They can be viewed and operated on any device, with any screen size. Updating to this technology will not only help increase traffic from mobile users, but it will also encourage them to stay on the site longer. It's clear that your customers want a more a seamless user experience and this should be a top priority for your company if you have not yet made the switch.
3. Your Website is Not Optimized for SEO
Search engines have become extremely advanced over the years, making it more difficult for brands to claim top spots in SERPs. If your website is not ranking well in organic search, you can bet that customers are having a hard time finding you; potentially resulting in lost business.
For B2B and B2C companies alike, a great looking website has the potential to be one of your best marketing tools, but if it isn’t following current SEO best practices, you can quickly fall behind your competition. Content is one of the biggest factors Google looks at when it comes to SEO. Years ago, the key to SEO was to plug your content with as many keywords as possible. Thanks to Google’s recent Hummingbird update, this is no longer the case. Original, useful, and high-quality content not only helps foster an engaging user experience, but it greatly impacts organic search rankings.
If your search rankings aren’t delivering the results you want, it’s essential to reassess the content, structure, and usability of your website:
- Is the information easy to find?
- Is the navigation, graphics, and overall design visually organized - encouraging users to stay on the site for a longer duration?
- Are you updating URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, add alt text images, and creating linking structures to relevant content that attract search engine bots?
- Are your keywords “searchable” and compatible with your website content?
- Are you publishing rich content and blogs on a regular basis?
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- Do you have tracking installed on your site to monitor performance? (Google Analytics)
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t think about SEO until after their website is designed (or redesigned); completely ignoring the fact that these two crucial components go hand in hand. Furthermore, it’s very difficult to change the structure of an existing outdated site without employing multiple redirects and loops. To avoid this headache, it is imperative to set yourself up on the right track and redesign with SEO in mind.
4. Your Website has High Bounce Rates and Low Conversion Rates
For a B2B websites specifically, it’s all about performance; how many visitors you get, how long they stay on your site, and whether or not they convert into leads. If you find you’re struggling to improve these performance indicators, it’s possible your website is not clearly communicating your company’s value proposition and poor design is often the culprit. Some key ways to lower your bounce rate and boost conversions on a newly designed website include:
- Making your value proposition unmissable, so visitors can immediately see what your company does and how you can solve their unique problem.
- Streamlining your navigation to ensure an intuitive path to your various products and services.
- Linking to recognized industry figures, citing authoritative sources, and providing client testimonials/case studies to increase your credibility.
- Ensuring clear calls to action (CTAs) leave users in little confusion of where to go next.
- Improving site speed so visitors don’t have to painfully wait for pages to load.
- Adding interactive content like videos and downloadable content.
- Finding a balance between aesthetically pleasing design and valuable content that matches your company's voice and speaks directly to your audience.
- Making your website mobile responsive.
First impressions are everything. You only have a few brief seconds to get the user’s attention and to convey enough value to engage them. The aesthetics of your website is a direct reflection on your business image, therefore it is imperative that your website looks professional, trustworthy and established. If your website in lacking in the areas listed above, this could ultimately hurt your business, especially if users are choosing between several competitors. Remember to focus on user experience and design an easy-to-use website that caters to the needs of your customers.
5. The Purpose of Your Website has Changed
If you’ve done a corporate identity update or changed the direction of your business since your website was developed, you’ll almost certainly need a redesign to enable your site to promote your success. As your business evolves over time, it is crucial that your website reflects your current vision and can support sales and marketing initiatives.
Your company website is a critical factor in determining visitors’ first impressions. Not only does it need to convey your brand promise and deliver your core message in a way that showcases your identity, but it should also fulfill one of the following four purposes:
- Delivering information
- Generating leads
- Providing education
- Facilitating online sales
If your website does not have a clear and specific purpose in mind, without guidance, visitors will likely get confused and leave your site. That’s lost business. Even if your focus overlaps with more than one of these purposes, it should be possible to distinguish what the driving intention is.
Your website is meant to serve as the digital footprint of your business. As your website grows and new technologies become available, redesign should not be thought of as a daunting task, but instead an opportunity for continued growth.
It may seem somewhat straightforward to “update” your website, when in reality this should be process that is carefully and continually measured, improved, and enhanced for optimal performance and ROI. Most importantly, a great looking website won’t hit it’s potential without a strategic digital marketing plan in place. Here at August Ash, we strongly believe that design and digital marketing go hand in hand, which is why we carry that approach to drive sustainable growth and success with each of our clients.
Are you ready for a website refresh, but don’t know where to start? We’d love to learn more about your business and get started.