Wait—is that mold? Does that look like mold to you?
How fresh is your current website? Have you ever struggled to determine when it’s time to redo your website? You’re not alone—we get this question quite often from businesses and organizations. There are a lot of factors that play into this question. And although there’s no “expiration date” printed on a website, there are a few key areas you can evaluate to help determine if your current website is past its prime.
How old is the current site?
The internal conversation usually goes something like this: “Didn’t we just make this website about three years ago? Really? Has it been seven years already?”
Time flies when you’re a busy organization and everyone’s plates are full. Suddenly that website project that feels like it happened yesterday is actually MUCH older than that, and you realize visitors aren’t being presented with anything new or fresh when they come to your site. If site visitors don’t see anything new or exciting happening on your site, they may think nothing new or exciting is happening with your business either. Worse yet, if the site looks old or outdated, they may move on to one of your competitors. Help keep visitors interested and engaged by changing up your site from time to time. There are certainly ways to do this through adding new content and images on a weekly or monthly basis (which you should definitely do), but a full refresh of your website every few years can help prevent visitor fatigue.
Has the available technology changed?
Website, content management, and programming technology change quickly. Software developers are constantly improving their products. Open source platforms such as WordPress come out with new releases multiple times each year due to all the constant advancements and developments being made. Even changes to social media platforms and best practices in the realm of search engine optimization can prompt changes and improvements needed on a website. If there’s something you wish you could do with your site, ask! Even if something wasn’t possible two, three, or five years ago, it might be possible now.
Upgrading to newer technology can give you access to new website features to delight customers and simplify your organization’s processes, as well as maintain a secure, well-functioning site. This is especially true if your current site is difficult or impossible for you to update or add new content. If you fall into this bucket, I urge you to contact a web developer such as Vivid Image as soon as possible to discuss options. It’s important to remember that internet browsers and devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and wearable devices change often as well. Be sure your site is designed to provide an optimum, seamless experience from any place that it’s accessed.
How effective is your current site?
When visitors are coming to your site, what would you like them to do before leaving? Are visitors completing these actions? Are you gathering sufficient leads or sales? Can visitors find what they’re looking for, or do you get phone calls because people aren’t finding what they need on the site? Is your website being found when people search for the things you offer? How often are people bouncing (leaving the site immediately after going there)? The answers to these and other important questions can be found in data sources such as Google Analytics, CRM and sales databases, and through conversations with customer service/support personnel and directly through customer surveying. If your website isn’t helping you achieve your goals, it’s time to redesign and create something that will work better. (On a side note, if you don’t have data tracking in place such as Google Analytics, get help from a web developer right away and start collecting this valuable data!)
Have you recently changed your branding?
Maybe you changed your logo, or are thinking about changing your logo or brand. Perhaps you merged with another company and are now identified a bit differently. Or maybe you just changed the look and feel you use for things, such as different colors, tagline, images, etc. Whether there has been a subtle change or something significant that requires you to represent your brand in a different way, it’s important to evaluate your website to ensure the presentation online matches that of your business offline as well. Websites are often a potential customer’s first impression of your business or organization, and serve as an extension of your customer service and/or sales staff. Redesigning can help ensure yours provides the right representation.
Has your business, business model, product selection, or service suite changed significantly?
When your website was made, it was likely designed to accommodate a very specific offering of things or services, and to mimic the way you handle business in the offline realm. Just like clothing gets outgrown and worn out, your website may no longer be the best fit. If you’ve made changes to your business, your website should be evaluated and updated as well. Are all your products and services properly represented? If you have a new location, is this reflected through information and images? Are all the target markets you serve covered in your content? Are all forms and procedures accurate and up to date? If your website was created or designed when your business was very new and you’ve since expanded in any number of ways, it may be best to redesign and start with a framework that is intended to fit the size and scope of your business. Your navigation may need changes, your page layouts, the functionality within—a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work when it comes to websites. Additionally, if your competitors in your market have changed, this may create a need for you to change as well to continue to differentiate your business.
How often should you evaluate these things?
A good rule of thumb is to take a critical look at these elements and your website a minimum of once per year. Completing a basic website audit in the areas of design, technical/functionality, and content can help you identify needs for improvement and prioritization. It can be difficult sometimes to take a very critical eye to your own site, so it may be advantageous to work with an external marketing and web development agency (such as Vivid Image) to help identify opportunities for improvement and create a roadmap for future success. Evaluating your site on a consistent basis will help you determine when the time is right for a potential redesign.
Wondering if your current site could benefit from a redesign? Want to know about refresh or redesign options? Interested in an audit? Contact us today to learn more.