Designing your first website can be stressful. It requires you to really explore the core of your business in order to write the copy. You work with a designer and go through the process of creating a site that looks unique and explains your business. You end up investing a lot of time, energy and money. After all that, you’re finished and it’s time for the site to go live!
Wait; you’re not done! Websites need to stay current with your business plan and market trends. Some of these changes can be accomplished with simple updates to your site. But there’s only so far that patching and revising your current site can go. If your site is particularly outdated, or if it’s not working well for you, it’s probably time to consider a full-scale site redesign. Here are some tips to know when you should consider redesign:
Your Business Has Changed or Grown
If your business is no longer the same as it was when you designed your site, chances are that you should redesign your website to reflect that. If you’ve only had a few small changes, you might be able to just update your current website. But, if you’ve changed your business direction, refocused your objectives, decided to provide new products or services, or if your company has grown significantly, it will pay off to redesign your site. Reconsider how the changes to your business should be reflected or addressed in the structure, design and strategy behind your website.
Your Site is more than 4 years old.
Yikes! Is 4 really old? In today’s web market, significant changes have occurred in the technology of building sites, and the design. Mobile phones and tablets have driven this technology. If your site is not mobile friendly now, Google will penalize your ranking. Other signs of an outdated web site include: slow-loading graphics, old-style “framed” coding, any use of flash, little animated cartoon clip-art that run throughout the site, and text as images instead of in HTML. Having any of these on your site make you look ‘behind the times’. It can also make you look like you don’t care enough about your business or about technological advances to keep abreast of them. Keeping your company’s website looking contemporary will improve its credibility.
The Site Isn’t User-Friendly
Adding pages can be difficult if the site layout cannot accommodate menu bar changes. Restructuring your navigation could be another pressing reason to redesign your site. You want visitors to be able to easily find their way around your site and to be able to access all the information you have within a few clicks. Make your visitor’s experience on your site a lot easier.
You Apologize for the Site When Referencing It or Handing Out Your Business Cards
This happens to me all the time. Your site should be a source of pride. It should provide your clients and prospects an easy way to get a lot of information about your business. And, if you have to apologize for out-of-date information, broken images, poor design, difficult navigation or anything else on your site, it makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. Make sure your site is in top shape and looks impressive, so your clients believe your business is in good shape too.
You’re Not Getting Ranked Well in the Search Engines
Poor rankings in the Search Engines can be a result of bad design choices or coding on your site. Ask a professional web designer to take a quick look at your site; he or she should be able to tell you right away if there’s room for improvement.
It’s Not Bringing in inquiries and Helping You to Make Sales
A website can do a lot more than just impersonate your brochure – it can help you close sales, bring in new prospects and make your business easier to run. To bring in more inquiries and make more sales include the following when you redesign your site:
- Calls to action to encourage your visitors to take specific actions – like purchasing something, contacting you, or signing up for a newsletter.
- Forms, scripts, or programs to make your work flow more efficient – like contact forms, project estimating tools, e- newsletters, etc. These can help you keep in touch with your clients and prospects. You may be ready to include a shopping cart and accept credit cards on your site.
To get ideas for other ways that your site can help you improve your business, look at the other sites that you visit and note the functions they perform.