Your site hasn't been updated in a while, but is it really in need of a total redesign? What are the signs you should be aware of when considering giving your site an overhaul?
There are a lot of things you can do to keep your site updated, and fresh on the front end, but there is a tipping point where a redesign can be the difference between a decrease and increase in conversions.
In this article, we will examine five useful tips to help you determine whether or not your site is due for a redesign.
It Has Been 5+ Years Since Your Last Redesign
Like anything in the world of design and style, websites age over time. Design principles shift rapidly, and in some cases, these shifts affect the way the site actually functions. Mobile friendliness, clean aesthetics, support for high-resolution screens, etc. are among the most common issues a modern website has to contend with.
Over the past five years, a lot has changed. Responsive Web design, which enables you to have one design that seamlessly scales across virtually all screen sizes, is an extremely popular choice among developers. It enables you to create a single experience for all of your users, without having to have a mobile version of your website, as well as one for laptop and desktop users.
Modern websites are also generally less cluttered in appearance than their predecessors. A clean, modern look is what users are coming to expect, especially with touchscreen devices becoming such a popular way to experience the Web.
Traffic from Search is Down
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't just an industry catchphrase. It's an important consideration in any website, and the science behind it changes rapidly.
Little things like how the titles on your site's pages are displayed, meta tags which tell search engines what various types of content are and how to catalog them, and your site's general mobile friendliness are all important factors that affect your site's search ranking.
This past April, Google made a major revision to its search ranking algorithm that gave sites with poor mobile friendliness a lower ranking. If you run a website for a local bakery, and someone is searching for bakeries in their area, there's a chance that your website will appear lower in the list of results based solely on the fact that your site isn't as mobile friendly as your competitors.
Even social networks like Facebook use Open Graph meta tags to determine what to display to users that share links to your site(s). If you don't have this data in place, there's a chance that what appears on the social network isn't what you would want to have displayed. A modern website would be developed with these tags in mind.
Your Site Feels Slow
Speed is another critical factor to consider. Modern Web design can be a lot better optimized, meaning less overall loading time, and a snappier experience for your users. Pingdom has a free website speed test tool that will check your site's loading speed and compare its performance to others.
Studies have shown that every second a page takes to load results in a higher percentage of abandonment. In fact, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same site again. This has a direct affect on customer retention rates.
Your Competition's Site(s) Look/Function/Flow Better
Appearance is half the battle to gaining conversions through your website. If someone is searching for a company to do business with, the appearance of their site makes a huge difference.
Take a look at your competitions' websites, and find out if there is something they have that provides a useful benefit to their customers that your website doesn't.
This could be a number of things ranging from how the site looks to what the purchasing experience is like. Is it easier to find contact information, make a purchase, or get details about products or services?
Your website may be the first experience your customer has with your business. You want it to reflect your company's attention to detail, and leave a positive impression.
You Are Limited by Your Current Design
This has happened to everyone. You want to update a feature of your website, but doing so will cause something else to break. This can be a real problem.
If you find that your design is limiting your ability to provide user's with something they want/need, then it may be time to consider giving it a refresh.
One such example is Adobe Flash. What was once the default method for embedding video and adding interactive elements to a website has since been all but replaced by more modern HTML5 and CSS3 solutions.
Top industry publications and news organizations have recently declared Flash a dead/dying platform. Doing away with it for integrated solutions supported by modern HTML5 / CSS3 designs can make a world of difference on user experience.
Redesigning your website doesn't mean changing everything about it. In fact, some of the best redesigns are also the most subtle. Most of the heavy lifting is done behind the scenes, optimizing code and replacing outdated solutions with modern ones.
Still, a fresh look can have a positive impact on your visitors. It may also have a positive affect on your company's bottom line.