When is it Time to Redesign Your Website?
So, ten years ago you had a great website made by a hired web designer. It was a huge success at the time, but lately it doesn’t seem to get positive feedback or isn’t even found on search engines. As technology improves, styles change, and businesses grow, it’s important that your website grows with you. There may be several reasons you haven’t changed an old website. Perhaps you don’t feel like it affects your business, or you just haven’t had the time to give it attention. But to your potential customers or clients, it says some very different messages:
You don’t care.
You are cheap.
You and your business are not moving forward.
You are stubborn and don’t like change.
You don’t want to convey the wrong messages to your audience, so it’s important to keep your website fresh, current, and accessible. If you’re unsure if your website is outdated, here are some possible clues that your website is overdue for a redesign.
Your company is going in a different direction.
If your current website gives the impression of a mission, values, and theme that’s not consistent with the direction your company is moving, it is time for a redesign. Or, if your current branding scheme doesn’t match your website, it’s important to keep everything consistent.
Parts of your site aren’t working.
Nothing is worse than clicking a link on a website and having the “Page Not Found” error appear on the screen. If your website links to an external website, you need to be very cautious and frequently check for broken links or websites that are linked that no longer exist. Websites that use “badges” provided by services (Angie’s List, for example) can often become broken or distorted if they are not hosted on your own server. Broken or missing links tell your audience that you let things slip through the cracks.
No one is viewing your website.
It might be time to work on your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO settings. Perhaps your keywords and content need work. Or maybe your website is in Flash. Which brings us to….
Your website is in Flash.
Big search engines including Google and Yahoo have a hard time reading Flash, which is going to dramatically decrease your search engine visibility. iPhones and other Apple products don’t support Flash, so you are missing out on a huge audience that views websites on their Apple products and mobile devices. Flash is also difficult to use and maintain. Basically, it’s just outdated.
It’s not mobile friendly.
More than 60% of your website visitors will be viewing your website from their mobile device. If your website is difficult to navigate on a smaller device, it might be time to optimize. Optimizing features include a condensed menu (those three lines you see near the top of a page, often referred to as the hamburger menu), and more of an emphasis on scrolling rather than clicking, since it’s easier to do with one hand when holding a phone. Larger text is also helpful when staring at a smaller screen.
It’s too small.
Computer monitor dimensions have increased over the last decade. The standard website dimensions ten years ago were 800 x 500 pixels. Today, many websites are as large as 1366 x 768 pixels. We’ve gone from the standard being almost a square screen (4:3 ratio) to the widescreen (16:9), and the typical website layout has had to change as well. Outdated websites don’t take up much of the screen and can be difficult to read.
You have a link exchange, gifs, or frames.
Nothing says that you haven’t updated your website in 20 years than an animated envelope jumping up and down, a link exchange page, or a fixed menu made by frames.
The website material is outdated.
If the material itself is outdated, such as pricing, phone numbers with no area code, or other incorrect information, you really need an overhaul. Users count on your website for all of this important information and if its inaccessible they’ll be frustrated and move on to your competitor.
Your website visitors can’t get involved.
Social media is the way of the world today. Having e-mail marketing, blogging, or a Facebook page is a way to get people talking about and interacting with your business. If your website is static and there’s no way to interact, they’ll be less likely to return to it.
If your current website meets any of this criteria, you may want to consider a redesign. If you’re asking yourself, “well, what makes a good website?” I have a blog entry for that too, coming next!
What are some outdated web practices that you still see today?