When you’re busy taking care of your day-to-day business operations, what your website looks like is probably the last thing on your mind. But have you given thought to how an outdated website might affect how people perceive your business? And how is that perception affecting your bottom line?
We’re beginning to enter an era where more people have lived with the Internet longer than they have without it. Entire business empires have been build online. You may not be striving to be the next Amazon, but that doesn’t mean you can let your website languish looking like it did in 2006.
Technology and trends move quickly. More importantly, the rules that affect things like search rankings have changed, and your site design plays into that.
Still on the fence about whether you should redesign your website? If you can identify with any of the reasons below, then you might want to consider a major overhaul.
Your Website Is Not Responsive
You may have a website that is easy to navigate on a laptop, but not on a smartphone or tablet. Sales of mobile devices are surpassing the sales of desktop computers. Companies with websites need to make themselves as accessible as possible to customers who do some or most of their browsing on mobile.
Take out your smartphone and go to your website. Try to look at it as objectively as possible, as if you were one of your customers. You may find the text is too small or that you need to ponderously scroll down and scan across the screen to read text. You may be frustrated by how hard it is to navigate the site. Or even worse, it might just look flat out terrible on mobile.
Mobile devices are usually oriented vertically, which makes the conventional website (which is usually oriented horizontally) difficult to navigate on a smartphone or tablet. If your website is inconvenient or not completely accessible on mobile devices, users will leave the site without even examining it.
However, it is more complicated than that. Screens are not getting smaller, they’re getting larger with better animation, graphics, and sound. You need a website that is responsive to all kinds of presentations to attract and hold maximum attention. A responsive design website is a web design approach that crafts sites to provide optimal viewing on all kinds of screens with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.
A fully responsive design improves the user experience, improves the chances that users will not leave your site, and improves search engine rankings. Google endorses what responsive design provides, one website that can be experienced over multiple devices.
How you redesign your website to accommodate for mobile devices can vary. You may actually develop separate websites for smartphones and full-sized screens and have them addressed to different subdomains. Some websites use separate subdomains for different languages as well. Or you can simply have responsive states for different sized screens built into the main design.
Your Website Looks Super Outdated
Remember when we all thought Geocities sites were really cool? The times are always a-changin’ and it’s important to try to keep up. What users expect of the look and feel of websites evolves like everything else. It's not an advantage to have users looking at the same design and content over several years.
Outdated imagery can be particularly deadly. An outdated image can convey a message of stagnation that damages the users' impression of your business. Websites have to grab users right away. If you are into inbound marketing, the most important thing is to keep the attention of people who are looking for fresh and interesting information.
Your website may no longer reflect your brand. Brands and business directions sometimes change more quickly than websites themselves. You should make sure that trademarks and branding is up to date and that your business philosophy is carried through your site.
Your audience may have evolved and you may be left behind. The target group for your site may not be in the demographic you should be aiming at anymore. A drastic change in customer demographics can easily be bypassed. If it happens, you need a website redesign.
Your Content Is No Longer Relevant
Another thing to consider is the process of refreshing the content on your website. Stagnant information can be the kiss of death for any business. You may be offering different products or services than your website indicates. We’ve even seen instances where simple things like addresses and contact information are out of date, ruining the chances of a customer getting in touch or finding the business.
This kind of outdated website can be a disaster for business, actually driving customers away. Many may come to believe you are no longer in business at all!
The key to an effective website is to provide fresh, useful information all the time and to regularly add new ideas. If the base information about your business doesn’t change over time, you can still provide fresh content by adding a blog to your site and posting regularly.
Redesigning your website can be an undertaking, yes, but it’s well worth the effort if it means that your business can continue to pull in new customers and stay at the top of your industry. By refreshing the look of your site and keeping your content up to date, you can show that you’re not only “with the times,” but that you’re a reliable, credible resource for your customers.