Your website is very often the first point of contact between you and your potential customers or clients. It has a lot of work to do. It has to tell visitors where they are and what you’re all about, provide the information they’re looking for, foster trust, convince them they’re in the right place for what they want to buy, and get them taking the actions you hope they’ll take.
To accomplish all this, and to generally reflect well on your brand, your website has to look clean, attractive, and user friendly by contemporary standards—which change at least every few years. It also has to have a responsive design so you’re not losing the many people trying to view and use your site on their mobile devices, and so you rank well in Google mobile searches.
Really, there are countless reasons why websites have to be kept up to date. And as users adapt to new trends, as research illuminates new priorities for compelling websites, as technology changes, as mobile use for research and shopping grows, as Google perpetually tweaks its search rankings algorithm, and as groundbreaking new sites change the game and user expectations, websites easily become outdated or even obsolete.
Chances are, if you haven’t had a website redesign in the past three or four years, it’s already significantly outdated and costing you business. Here are seven major signs your website is overdue for a new design:
Google Tells You So
Again, responsive design is one of the biggest things in web design today. Google has a fast and easy online tool for testing whether it considers your site a mobile-friendly one. Just plug in your home page’s URL and click Analyze. If the results say your site isn’t mobile friendly (they cite the main reasons why), you are already well overdue for an updated design.
It Looks Old
This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many websites out there look like they were built 10 or 15 years ago. Often, it’s because they were, or because they were done with some serious bootstrapping. If you can’t look at your site objectively, compare it to the sites of competitors as well as some of today’s leading websites, and ask some trusted people for their honest opinions. A site that visually screams “Outdated!” makes your brand look behind the times, out of step, and less trustworthy.
You Can’t Make Changes Easily
Any quality modern website is equipped with an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that allows you to add, remove, and edit site content without having to call up (and pay) your web designer. If you don’t have this capability, you have a serious hurdle in developing a content-rich website and probably deal with far more frustration, expenses, or site paralysis than you should.
Users Can’t Contact You Without Leaving Your Site
Built-in contact forms are the norm for sites these days, mostly because they’re so convenient for users. And users expect them. If you only have your physical address, phone number, fax number, and/or email address as contact options, some people are leaving without getting in touch simply because they couldn’t do so while there on your website.
You Don’t Have On-Site E-Commerce Capabilities
As with the above, you get more responses when users can do things immediately without leaving your site. If you sell anything online, but your customers have to call you or email you to place an order, you’re losing sales. It’s time for a redesign that outfits your website with the ability for users to quickly and securely make a purchase through an e-commerce solution.
Your Site Doesn’t Align with Your Brand
Maybe you’ve shifted focus from some products or services to others over the years. Maybe you’ve recently begun focusing more on the foundations of branding. Maybe you’re using a new logo on your store sign. Brands evolve over time, but websites often don’t keep up. If yours doesn’t match exactly what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, your audience gets confused and you aren’t presenting yourself professionally.
Search Engines Can’t Read Your Site
If a lot of your text is presented in image files, Google and other search engines can’t “see” it. That means you’re not getting any of the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits that come from search engines being able to determine exactly what your site is about. Similarly, if your website relies heavily on Flash, the search engines are missing your point. And this means low rankings that prevent people from fining you through search engines.