As a blogger or small business owner, you already know the importance of keeping your website updated. Not only does this provide your readers, clients and customers with the most relevant information, it keeps them coming back and it boosts your SEO. But how do you know when it's time to stop making little changes and time to throw away your current website for a totally new and fresh design? It might be sooner than you think.
A website redesign means more than adding a page or changing your footer. It means completely reinventing your look. A makeover can demonstrate to your users that your blog or company is growing. It can also strengthen your brand. New features and increased responsiveness can also make life a little easier for you, your customers and your clients. On the other hand, a website redesign can be intimidating to those who use your site on a regular basis. It may also require a big investment in time, money, or both. Here are a few signs that a website redesign may be in your best interest.
It's Been a While: It's generally recommended that websites go through a redesign every 2-5 years, so if you're creeping up on the higher end of that scale, your site is probably looking a little outdated compared to your competitors'. An outdated website can leave visitors wondering if its owner has abandoned it or if the company still exists. It can also give users the impression that you're behind on the times, which can be damaging to your reputation if you're trying to market yourself as a state-of-the-art facility, if you use the latest technology, or if you're showcasing your progressive company culture. Even if your information is current, a website with an outdated design can give off a negative vibe. If you find yourself in this category, it may be time to start envisioning what your blog or business looks like in 2016 and beyond.
It Looks A Little Armature: Launching your first blog or business is an exciting opportunity that requires a lot of time and effort. With a million things to do, there's a good chance a phenomenal website design didn't make the top of the priorities list. But if two years later, you're still rocking the website you whipped up in 20 minutes while drinking your morning coffee, or the site you paid your little sister $40 to create, it's probably time you considered a website redesign. A bare-bones or "beginner" website can give users the impression that you haven't been around for very long, or that you don't plan on being around for very long, even if you're experienced in your industry. It can also be hard for others to take a website seriously if it appears that the owner isn't fully invested in it themselves. If your website falls into this category, it's time to beef up what you've already begun with a website redesign.
It Doesn't Match Your Brand: It's not uncommon for a blogger or business owner to start a website with one target audience in mind, and then find themselves switching directions as they realize they appeal better to another. It's also not uncommon for a business to find that who they are and what they have to offer subtly shifts over time, perhaps without the business owner even realizing it. With little decisions made on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis that influence the direction of a company, websites can quickly fall behind. A website that doesn't properly represent the company's current brand won't attract the right audience. If there's confusion about the brand, it may not attract any audience. This leads to fewer website users taking action, whether that's subscribing to your newsletter, contacting you for a quote, or buying your product. Less action means less money. If you find that your website isn't a true representation of your current business, or if it's reflecting the past more than it's reflecting the future, you may be in for a website redesign.
It's Not Mobile-Friendly: If you designed your website a few years ago with intentions of catering to mobile users on the next round, you should make that next round now. It's been estimated that half of online users are accessing the internet through a phone or tablet. Regardless of your industry or your target audience, your potential readers, clients and customers are a part of this group, and they're not likely to wait until they have computer access to read an article or order a product online. They're likely to exit out of your site and see what your competitor is offering instead. A mobile-friendly site will gain you more customers and make you more sales – it's as simple as that. If your site still requires its visitors to spend minutes shrinking and expanding with their fingers on tiny little screens, it's definitely time for a website redesign.
It's Not Doing Its Job: While there was a point in time every company needed a website just to have a website, it's bad practice now for websites to exist just for the sake of existing. Instead, they're used to prompt visitors to complete some sort of action, whether that's reading an article, calling for an appointment, purchasing a product, downloading an ebook, subscribing to a newsletter, sharing a story on social media, or asking for a quote. The number of potential actions are limitless and websites often present more than one action to its visitors. If you have a lot of people accessing your site, but no fulfilled actions to show for it, then something isn't working. You might have poor navigation. Your branding may not be consistent. Your call to action may not be clear. You may not be doing a proper job funneling users into the proper places. Any of these issues can lead to an unproductive website and they are all good signs that your website needs a redesign.