Ok, it’s a big call but your website really is the most important element of your digital strategy. Yep, maybe even more important than your Instagram and Linkedin profiles. We could also argue that a website is one of the most important components to your business, full stop. It not only showcases important information about your products, your team and business story but is also where your potential clients get a real understanding of how you present your business to the world and, ultimately, make a decision to contact you (or not as the case may be).
While many companies have a web presence, many are incredibly outdated when it comes to communicating effectively with their prospects. Just as cars date, fashions change and house styles evolve, so do websites and our understanding of how best to communicate online. In fact it would be fair to say that websites and technology change at 10 times the pace of everything else around them. If your website is dated and you are using dated communication strategies then it’s highly likely that you are losing customers. Why? Because we trust web sites that are clearly being looked after and loved, more so than websites that look like they haven’t been touched or updated for weeks/months/years. As my Grandma used to say, ‘if you see dust you can’t trust.’ *
In this article, we shed light on the 7 clear signs you should look out for to determine if it is time to give your website a professional overhaul and a fresh coat of pixels.
1. It Is Not User-Friendly
88% of online customers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience and its simple to understand why.
It’s 2018 and your prospects are likely to have seen thousands of websites. They are used to fast load speed, intuitive navigations and sleek design that clearly communicates your business offering.
Most businesses have a large and diverse product/service range and want to communicate with ‘everyone’. It’s very easy to try and showcase ‘everything’ you do, which can be overwhelming for visitors and water down your core offering. If your website makes it tough for your user to discover content and a headache to understand your offerings, you have not only left a poor first impression, your prospect will likely bounce off your site never to return!
As Kanye said, ‘Don’t complicate to resonate’. **
2. It looks dated/ordinary/crap
If your website is over 4 years old, you are likely lagging behind in design trends. Yes, 4 years is a long, long time in the web world and, when your website just keeps working, it’s easy to put a redesign on the back burner.
It’s worth considering our thoughts and the actions we take when we buy something from a physical store.
Store A has the lights on and the door open. The floor is clean, the shelves neatly stacked. The attendant is helpful and they stock a good range of associated products.
Store B has a single light on and the door is shut. We’re unsure of whether it’s open or closed. When we decide to go inside the shelves are nearly empty and we can’t find the store assistant.
The price and product warranty is the same from each store — but which one do we feel more comfortable buying from?
If you said Store B then I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about.
The wonderful world of the web has progressed and the fight to capture your prospect’s attention is only getting more intense! From hand-made illustrations and page motion animations to dynamic gradients and responsive logos, business websites need to be fresh, memorable and, if possible, aspirational. Despite what they tell you most purchasers/clients make emotional decisions as opposed to logical decisions so it’s important to be visually appealing.
An updated and modern design isn’t just for show, it is one of the key factors in your customer’s purchasing decision.
3. Your Website Is Not Responsive
It’s official, more users are browsing the internet with their mobile phones and tablets compared to desktop users.
Nothing might be more annoying than exploring a site where you will need to use your fingers to enlarge each page to read the text or having your thumb constantly clicking on the wrong link!
Having a mobile and tablet-friendly website is important in capturing and converting a huge chunk of traffic that visits your site on the go.
4. It Does Not Accurately Reflect Your Brand
Maybe you have been running your company for a few years and your business model and clientele have been refined.
Your brand values have changed but does it seem apparent on your current website?
Or perhaps your existing website has never really communicated your brand values and you’ve just ‘put up with it’.
Whether your audience has changed or your site never been ‘quite right’, it’s important for established businesses to have a presence online that aligns with the brand and, if applicable, aligns with their real world presence.
Your website has the potential to elevate your brand to a whole new level but you’ll only promote it and guide people towards it if:
a. It aligns with your brand
b. Clearly showcases the work you do
c. You’re proud of it
In 2018 web users are savvy. We’ve all been using the internet for 20 years (more or less) and we know when a business isn’t being authentic. Ensuring your website aligns with your brand and who you are is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate authenticity.
5. Not Aligned With Your Current Marketing Strategy
Your strategy five years ago might have been to get as many enquiries as possible through an onsite contact form. Today you are trying to build authority through blogging and email subscriptions. We can relate.
But is your website geared up for your change in approach?
Whether it is a dated content-management system (CMS) or poorly designed call-to-action areas, a lack of key website features will hinder your marketing efforts. You could ‘bolt on’ a plugin here and there but in all likelihood it will look and feel like a bolt on, and will likely not be the most effective approach.
If your strategy today is drastically different from when you started your business, it is only natural that your website evolves to align with your goals.
6. It Has Poor Conversions
The aim of your business website should be to help generate leads, enquiries or direct sales — depending on the nature of your business.
If your marketing activities are constant but you are seeing a decrease in your online sales or leads, it could be a sign that your website is not connecting with your audience.
Of course, if this is the case we recommend refreshing your website. However, a redesign shouldn’t happen until you understand why your existing site is no longer winning leads. This could come back to your calls to action or it could be that the site is not structured to maximise sales and conversions. Whatever the reason it pays to analyse the reasons.
Google Analytics offers some incredible insights, as does studying your competitive space to understand what your competitors are doing differently. Perhaps even altering calls to action and measuring the response (A/B testing) will help?
Ultimately a poor conversion rate is one of the clearest signs your site needs a refresh but, as with any web design project, it’s important to make some informed decisions before leaping in.
7. It Is Not listed on Google
For any business to succeed online and win leads it’s vital that future and existing clients can find them online. Imagine looking for a business that you know exists but being unable to find it. Amateurish right? Try the Yellow Pages 😉
The internet is constantly expanding and competition is ramping up at a rapid rate.
If web users can’t discover your website how are new clients finding you? Word of mouth is great but the first thing people will do when they hear about your business is Google you.
Today’s web design platforms allow design agencies to integrate Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) into a new website, ensuring new sites get the best possible kick start on search engines. Discover why SEO is important to your business survival.
If your old site hasn’t been setup for SEO or uses outdated tech and strategies such as flash graphics, hidden text or just poor site architecture, Google will find it difficult to index and, consequently, it won’t understand where your site should be listed. These are problems that plague older websites and will prevent you from reaching your potential.
Of course, these are all factors that can affect poorly built new websites (lets talk, we can help) but are more prevalent on older platforms that haven’t received the love and care they need to stay relevant.
Having a modern, fresh, intutive website is key to online business success.
While there isn’t a need to redesign your website every year, taking an objective look is crucial to understanding whether your current design is helping you hit your business goals.
At Start Digital, we not only help clients build their web presence from scratch, we actively assist businesses with their existing web presence to update and refresh their current websites with modern and proven strategies that not only enhance their brand but also delivers real business results!
Drops us an email or call and let us begin your digital refresh today!
*Disclaimer, I made this up. Grandma’s house was the dustiest in Australia.
** Disclaimer. I made this up as well.