Every brand handles website redesigns differently. Some update constantly, making little tweaks here and there to optimize and improve every month. Some have regularly scheduled major redesign waves every few years. And some brands treat websites like an infomercial Rotisserie, aka: “Set It and Forget It.” But no matter what your planned website update cycle might have looked like, many brands get busy with other things and the intention to redesign fades in the face of updating your inventory, managing customer service, and expanding to new markets.
Times are Changing, So Should Your Website
We get it. Your website is doing fine, so why fix what isn’t broken, right? Unfortunately, websites age in a unique way unlike any other technology. They can grow stale even if all the parts still work right and the website performs its functions admirably. Your website design, in particular, needs to change with the times. And the times are changing fast.
When it’s time to update your website, you’ll know by reading the signs. Not the tea leaves, exactly, but the way traffic flows through your site; the way your site interacts with the latest technology trends, and the way your site design compares to competitors who might be getting more traffic. So today, we bring you six incredibly clear signs that it’s time to redesign your company website:
1) Straight Outta the ’90s Look
Many websites are still seas of white and big bold rectangles of color. This basic design is easy to throw together with a WordPress kit or even just simple CSS, but we’d hardly say it’s competitive anymore. This look is straight out of the 1990s, but retro-chic it is not. When users see a website that looks like it was designed twenty or thirty years ago, they know this is a brand that doesn’t keep up with the times. And deep-down, we all want our brands to be the most cutting-edge gigs on the market.
If your website looks even ten years old, or is really only five years old, it’s time for a whole new look.
2) Not-Yet-Responsive Mobile Design
Responsive design is everything. And of course, by responsive we mean incredibly mobile-friendly. Google recently made a serious shift to prioritizing mobile compatiability and page load speed over web page qualities because there are just so many people browsing on their phones versus sitting at a desk with a laptop or computer.
Your website needs to be as ready for mobile as is technically possible. It needs modules that resize and rearrange based on both screen size and screen orientation (landscape or portrait). And it needs to load fast no matter what device is in use. Which takes us to point number three.
3) Slow Page Loads on Less-than-Perfect Internet Connections
Page load time has been a critical element of SEO performance and user satisfaction for decades now, and any website with a clunky load-in is doomed to the back pages. Users won’t stick around for a slow page load, not when they have three other tabs that are already loaded and ready to go.
The first important page speed factor is how Google ranks sites by page speed. Slow websites are considered less desirable to users, so they are ranked lower by Google. And Google is right. When you do get clicks to a slow page, they will often leave quickly in favor of sites on their other tabs that load faster.
Here’s the thing: you can’t just test page load speed on your high-end high-speed business internet connection. To get a real feel for the page load speed of all your users, you have to test it on a throttled phone connection in the middle of a busy area where all the wifi bandwidth is taken up. Base your page-load judgments on the worst possible conditions, not the best.
If your pages load slowly when internet is crud and people need online entertainment the most, your userbase will look somewhere else and so will Google.
4) Your Analytics Read a High “Bounce Rate”
Your marketing can be superb. Your landing pages can be beautifully designed. Your PPC results may be rocking. But if your website doesn’t meet expectations, then you’re going to see one term highlighted in bold red letters on your analytics report: “Bounce Rate”
Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave almost as quickly as they arrive. They spend a few seconds waiting for the page to load, then “bounce.” They try to navigate your site, but the menus are too confusing or clunky, so they “bounce”. They shop for a while but your old-school design doesn’t feel as cool browsing as other sites, so they “bounce” off the places they’d rather be.
Bounce-rate doesn’t mean your website is bad or even that your content is flawed. Just that you need a website redesign to show off your good stuff to a new and quick-to-bounce audience.
5) Lacking All the Latest Website Widgets
Take a walk around the virtual neighborhood, so to speak. Take a look at all the cool overlays, parallax, and floating help widgets that are currently all the rage in website design. Things like live-chat and floating sidebars have become so common that users now expect to see them. A website that lacks a live chat bubble now stands out as either making a statement or terribly outdated. A website without a customer service portal, a blog progress bar, or floating lead qualification assets now seems strange. So if you don’t have these things, it’s time to get with the times and redesign.
6) Low Ranking on Google Search Results
Last but certainly not least is your Google search result rankings with the most relevant possible keywords. If you’re not on top when searching for your own brand name, that’s a bad sign. And if you’re not in the top five when searching for your service and city, you could definitely be doing better. Google decides page ranking based on all sorts of things, but a well-designed website is at the top of the list.
Google needs responsive mobile design, and in fact has started it’s mobile-first policies already. Google needs fast page-load speeds so that users are satisfied with their first clicks. Google needs comprehensive metadata, which is like a trail of food for the web crawlers that explore and judge your site. But most of all, Google needs people who click onto your site to stay there, tell their friends, and build your active “relevance” in the online business world.
So if you’re not ranking great on Google, chances are that a website redesign is in your near future for getting your site back into the running. Let us help you reinvent your website to meet all your online goals. Contact us today to find out more.