You know that moment when you step on the scale and realize you need to get back to the gym? No one likes when it happens, but be glad it does; high standards are a good thing.
The same applies to your website design. If you stop and take a good, hard look at your website, will you come away feeling you’re at the top of your game, or will you realize your online marketing has gotten sadly out of shape? Here are eight signs that you need a new website design:
1. Even you like your competitors’ websites more.
Imagine you are the sort of client you most want to attract. Consider what would be important to you, and the criteria you would use in selecting your type of company. Now explore in detail each of your main competitors’ websites, and then yours. Who is winning? Who looks the most inviting, the most credible, answers the most questions, and offers the easiest ways to contact you or buy? Remember that for most people, your website is your company. It’s the only information they have on what to expect from you. Do you like who you are?
2. Your content is not accurate and it’s difficult to update.
If it has been a while since you used an analytical eye to view your site, you will likely find things that just don’t apply any more. Perhaps it’s old contact information, or products and services you no longer offer or that have significantly changed. Okay, that shouldn’t have happened, but at least it’s easy to fix. Or is it? Do you have easy access to your website content, and can it be changed without a high level of training, or the risk of accidentally knocking down your whole site? Website developers today should always ensure your site has a content management system that allows you to quickly sign in and easily update your text and graphics. if your site doesn’t, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
3. Your website designer used Flash.
There was a time when Flash animation was the bee’s knees. The cat’s meow. All that and a bag of chips. Now it’s pretty much a sign that your website design is way behind the times, and a suggestion that your company is as well. Perhaps even worse, Flash won’t even appear on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, so you’re in especially big trouble if you used Flash for your menus or key information.
4. Customers say they looked on your website but couldn’t find what they wanted.
Listen to what people are telling you. If you’re wondering why they are phoning or coming in to ask about things that they should have seen on your website, the problem likely lies with you and not them. It’s great to have people phoning or coming in, but not about things that will only end with them being frustrated. Your website needs to strategically address your key selling points and avoid misunderstandings. Just as vital, it needs to keep your competitors from getting the profits that should have been yours because their websites are more inviting and informative.
5. Customers don’t see your website in their search results.
What’s worse than a website that doesn’t show well? A website that doesn’t show at all. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a whole separate function from website design, but there are still many vital practices to follow in your site structure and content to help you place well in relevant search engine result pages. Make sure your website developer gives you a rock-solid foundation from which you can build your ongoing SEO efforts.
6. Your website is slow, glitchy, or has broken links.
Okay this one may technically be a hosting rather than design issue, but it has to be considered. Many older sites use technologies that simply don’t work well on modern browsers or use graphics that are not properly optimized. Also, unnecessarily large graphics can drastically slow down page load times, resulting in frustrated customers and lost money. As well, over time everything changes, and links to pages on your website or on some other site may no longer work. Any one of these problems can be enough to render your site useless. All of them together — and that happens more often than you might think — can result in a website that is an embarrassment and liability for your company.
7. Your website design is not mobile responsive.
Would you spend your money on a marketing campaign to bring in new customers, and then pile up boxes at your front door to keep them from getting in? Having a website that is not mobile responsive is not a whole lot better. These days it is not unusual for well over half of a website’s traffic to come from smart phones and tablets. Have you looked at your website on your phone lately? A mobile-responsive website should reflow and resize its text and images to give the best possible viewing experience on any screen size. This is so vital that Google will even lower its placement of your site in search results viewed on mobile devices if you are not mobile-friendly. These days, if you’re not mobile, you’re not going anywhere.
8. Your website is not earning you money.
Why do you even have a website? What do you want it to do? Stop and seriously ask yourself what the benefits are that your website design should be providing. Is it doing that? Whether it’s to bring in new customers or provide information on key issues or render a public service, if your website is not doing what it should, why are you wasting your money on it? Even if all the other criteria came through for you, if this one doesn’t, you are in serious need of a new website design.
How did you fare? Congratulations if it all went well! However, if this has been an eye-opening or even painful experience, look at it as a wake-up call to get in top shape. This is your opportunity to get things moving in a new and more profitable direction. Your website, your customers, and your bottom line will thank you!