Your company’s website is often the first exposure a prospect has with your brand. It is a 24-7 sales person; a reflection of your brand in every way and can be one of the most powerful marketing tools your company can have.
So needless to say, it is important that your website is doing the best job it can, representing your company and brand. Nothing reflects worse on a brand than a static and archaic website. Are you questioning whether its time for a new redesign for your company’s website? If so, we’ve compiled a list of some critical reasons to consider building a new website.
1. Your website looks and feels outdated.
If you don’t find your website nice to look at, then neither does anyone else. You need a website that is engaging, pleasing to the eye and puts your brand’s best foot forward. Remember, your website is your prospects’ first impression! And just like clothes and kitchen appliance styles change over time, so do websites. Is your company’s website looking out of style? Modern website design favors clean and simple over cluttered and busy. In a split second, your website either conveys that you are with the times, or you are behind the times.
2. Your website looks like an amateur designed it.
Does your website design reflect the quality of your brand or does it look like it was designed by an amateur? Going with the cheapest proposal may save you money in the short term, but it won’t give you the quality and results that your company needs from the website.
Also, many companies utilize the technical skills of their internal IT department to build their website or hire a code-centric web development company, but most likely neither has the eye for design or the creative skills that are needed. Developing and designing are two different specialties and quality in both are critical for building a great website.
3. Your website uses a pre-designed template or theme.
Using a website template can be tempting, especially if you have limited budgets or resources. But most free or cheap templates stick out like a sore thumb. There are many reasons to avoid using a template for your website, including generic design, content limitations, licensing restrictions, bloated code, poor SEO and bad functionality. Perhaps the most important reason is a lack of uniqueness. You’re company isn’t the only one using that template you downloaded. Chances are there are hundreds or thousands of others using the same template. Website templates are just too generic and have significantly less value then a custom-made design tailored specifically to your audience, content needs and business goals.
4. Your website is difficult to navigate.
Are your visitors able to find what they need in two clicks or less? Is your menu simple and straightforward or is it confusing? As the web has evolved, so have people’s expectations for user experience and functionality. Web users today demand a pleasant, efficient experience. If your menu and navigation are based on last decade’s best practices, you’re losing web traffic.
5. Your website takes a long time to load.
If your content and images take too long to load, then many people have left your site. Web users do not have patience for slow-loading websites and neither do search engines. Google now includes load time in its search engine rankings. This means not only are people frustrated with your website, but it is also not ranking high on the search engines. According to Google, faster sites create happy users and they’ve seen in their internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.
6. Your website analytics and search rankings are abysmal.
Website analytics are a great way to benchmark the effectiveness of your website, but it isn’t just page views and visitors with which you should be concerned. Does your website have a high bounce-rate? Is the visitor’s average time on site extremely short? Do you have a low average page views per visit? These can all be indicators that your website and content are not working.
What about your search rankings? Does your site rank well for the keywords people are using to find the services and/or products your company provides? If not, chances are your website has not been properly optimized for search or uses old-school SEO black-hat tricks that no longer work (and will get your site penalized).
Even worse, if your website doesn’t even use analytics, you most definitely need to consider a new website.
7. Your website is not content managed.
The days of static websites are long gone. We’ve already discussed the importance of having fresh, compelling content, and most websites are now built with a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to easily add, edit and update web content on the fly or even schedule the updates in advance. Static websites leave many companies with their hands tied if they don’t have someone in-house who knows code. If you are frustrated with the confusing code, or having to wait for your web developer to get to your updates, then you definitely need a new CMS website.
8. Your website is not mobile-friendly.
Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are becoming the primary Internet viewing device for many people. With people spending more and more time on their mobile devices, it is vital that your website is mobile-friendly. According to Google, nearly 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site. Further, 50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website is not mobile-friendly. If your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices, then you could be missing out on a huge opportunity for business. If you’re building a new website, you might want to consider responsive web design.
9. Your website relies too heavily on Flash.
There was a time when entire websites were built using Flash, or when almost every website had a Flash intro or slideshow, but those days have quietly ended. Flash sites are slow to load (remember reason #5), are bad for SEO (remember reason #6), are limited on mobile phones (remember reason #8) and aren’t even viewable on iPhone and iPads. Also, they typical have poor usability standards and can be difficult or confusing to navigate (remember reason #4). The fact is, Adobe, the company that makes Flash doesn’t even use Flash on their website—possibly because of these limitations.
10. Your website doesn’t integrate social media.
Social media has become an integral part of our culture and is essential for both B2C and B2B businesses, so it should definitely be integrated into your website. Your social media profiles should be prominently linked on every page of your website, either in the header, footer or using a sticky tab. Your homepage should feature a Twitter feed, and your blog and landing pages should use social sharing buttons. Your website should make social sharing easy. If your website/blog is not the hub for your social media activity, then a new website is necessary.
11. Your website doesn’t incorporate calls to action.
Your website serves a purpose to attract prospects and drive business. An effective call to action (CTA) results in more leads and conversions for your website. A call to action is when you ask a website visitor to perform some specific action. That specific action might be to make a request for more information or a demo, subscribe to your blog, download a whitepaper, register for an event or make a purchase. Whatever action you want your visitors to take, you need to make it specifically clear on your website using graphics, buttons, banners or links. Almost every page of your website should have a clear call to action. Most call to actions should direct people to landing pages where a web form collects a visitor’s contact information in exchange for your offer.
12. Your website does not represent your company anymore.
Has your company grown and evolved over the past few years? Have you added new services, products or employees? If so, most likely your website doesn’t accurately represent your company anymore. Your website should be parallel with what you are telling your clients. If it doesn’t match, then it is time for a redesign.