Your website is the most important part of your business. Without a quick, well designed and informative website your potential customers are going to be navigating away from your business before they’ve even had the chance to get to know you.
This applies to you whatever the size of your business. With 97% of people searching online to find local businesses, you need an up-to-date looking website even if you are just a single bricks-and-mortar store or a one-man online business.
But how can you tell if your website needs a refresh? Before contacting a web designer, take a look at the five signs that your website needs a refresh below.
Outdated design is one of the most important signs that your website is due for a refresh. Consumer trends and design preferences change and this is as true for websites as it is for interior design. Your website should immediately appear as fresh and contemporary.
Not only will an updated design make your site look better, but it will also keep people on there for longer. Potential customers are going to immediately navigate away from walls of text, tables or other horrible web design trends from the 1990s. If you want to see what your favourite website looked like back in the day, then try the Wayback Machine.
Why is design important
A fresh and contemporary look, that is easy to navigate will keep potential customers on your site for longer. The longer that visitors spend on your site, and the more pages they navigate to, then the more likely they are to make a purchase or contact you.
An easy to navigate design is also important for SEO, as Google takes into account how easy it is to find information on your site when ranking you. The easiest way to judge if your website has a contemporary feel and a user-friendly design is to contact a web designer. They will be able to advise you on current web design trends for your industry.
Loading speed is critical. If your website is old fashioned and in need of a refresh then it is also likely to be too slow. You can test the speed of your website using Google Page Speed Insights.
This tool will show you how your website page speed compares to the optimum speed and it will also give you suggestions to improve it. Unless however, you are a web designer yourself you are unlikely to be able to implement these changes. Rather, use the tool as an indicator that your website needs a refresh and then discuss the report with a local web designer.
Why is speed important?
Page speed (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) and site speed (the page speed of a number of selected pages) is crucial for an effective website. Site speed is one of the factors that Google uses to rank your website.
Poor site speed will negatively affect your rankings, no matter what else you are doing with SEO. Sites with poor site or page speeds also have a higher bounce rate - that is the number of people who visit your site and leave without taking another action. Sites with poor page speeds are also more likely to have a poor conversion rate, that is the percentage of visitors to the percentage that makes a purchase/download an asset.
Lack of responsive design
Responsive design essentially means the ability of your website to automatically adjust to the size of the screen that it is being viewed upon. This means that your website appears in an aesthetically pleasing and easy to use format whether it is being viewed on a mobile, tablet, laptop or any other device.
If you don’t see the importance of this, then you’re probably not living in 2019. Around 60% of all global searches (that’s everything typed into Google, everywhere in the world) are now conducted on mobile.
Why is responsive design important
With people now spending over five hours a day on smartphones, the chances are that they will also be viewing your website on one. The likelihood is that they will then view your website on another device, be it a laptop or a tablet.
In each instance, your website should appear fresh and easy to use. If your website is not responsive then it is likely to be viewed negatively by Google but it is also likely to suffer from poor conversion rates. Studies show that sites that are mobile-friendly have a conversion rate over 400 times higher than those that do not utilise responsive design.
Does it still represent your company?
As websites design trends change, so do companies. When you first set out designing your website it might have been completely in line with your vision for your company. But how has your company changed over the years? Has your vision evolved? Perhaps, more importantly, how have your expectations of your company changed?
Your website, as the saying goes, is your prime real estate. It is your shop window, your staff, in short, it is absolutely everything on which customers are going to first judge your business. If it doesn’t represent your business then potential customers are going to get the wrong impression.
How do I make sure that my it represents my company?
Sitting down with a website designer is the best way to make sure that your website represents your company. Independent website designers, such as Design The Box, will be able to spend time with you and develop an understanding of your business and your online needs.
It can also be helpful to ask former customers, with which you still have a strong relationship, how they felt your website aligned to their experience of your company.
How informative is it?
There is a huge amount of information out there. Customers and potential customers are viewing a huge amount of information each and every day. When they come to your website it is very important that they are able to immediately access the information that they need.
Visitors to your website are unlikely to spend any time searching around for info. If they can’t find simple info such as price, email address, etc. then they will simply leave and look elsewhere.
What information should I have on my site?
Take a look at your site. Is it walls of text, hard to read and difficult to pull information out of? Or is vital information such as an email address, phone number, and services immediately visible? When visiting your website people should be able to tell exactly what it is you do within a few seconds of the page loading.
In addition, to be able to tell what your website is about you will need to check that it is current. Is your telephone number correct? Are your opening hours still valid? Check all of these pieces of information, each piece of information that is incorrect is potentially hundreds of customers lost.