Too few people ask this question, but they should if they are serious about growing their business and continuing its success.
The web moves fast, and so do it’s users which, if we are to believe studies, is everybody.
Literally. Everyone uses online resources to shop, compare and select their vendors. If you are not using modern techniques to attract customers, then know that this is not a benign idea. Research shows that 57% of people visit your site on the mobile phone will recommend AGAINST your business if you have a poor mobile site and immediately research for your competition. Think about that — people who do not know you and meet you online, then see you have a poor website will actually go out of their way to get their friends and family NOT to use you.
So how do you know if your website falls into this category? Here are some important questions you should ask.
Is your website Mobile Responsive?
This is the most important one — is your website easily viewed on a mobile device? Now this is not mean can my website be seen on a mobile device – unless your site runs in Flash, it can — it’s is it EASILY viewed? what responsive design does is ensures that the user experience on the desktop is the same or similar on a mobile device and tablet. it does this not only for the users ability to see all of your services, but also for Google’s ability to rank you.
If you cannot confidently say “yes,” then it may be time to review how your website is working and considering at least changing your current website to be responsive. Hiring a good web designer and/or developer, or brushing up on the ideas and principles of responsive web design may be needed to help bring your website up to par with the multitude of devices available. If you want to know what Google thinks about your site’s usability, navigate to this link. it will tell you how usable it views your site. Remember — Google makes its money by returning search results that are best suited for the user. If your site has a poor score, then Google will not return your site in search results.
Earlier workIs it hard to keep updated?
If you can not change elements of your website without contacting the designer / developer, then you need a redesign. Google values businesses that contribute frequently to their website In the form of updated content, images and fresh information that users can benefit from. If you cannot provide these things for users, then Google does not care about you. If Google does not care about you, then you may as well be invisible.
I personally develop websites using WordPress which allows you to change images, add new pages and posts and update old information through a simple-to-use back-end interface. WordPress is free and open sources, and is used by about 20% of the world’s websites. This site is built on WordPress.
Does your website take a long time to load?
Closely related to responsive web design above, the trend now is to make sites load faster and not download so much information. Google considers this as one of its ranking factors.
Are visitors navigating past your home page?
Check your analytics — and if you do not know what those are, or where to find this information, then contact me — look at your homepage bounce rates. Are they above 40%? Are they above 50%? If so, then your website is useless almost immediately to over 50% of the viewers that see it. In your analytics, you can also see how quickly someone bounced from your homepage. If, in less than 10 seconds, a user left your website 40 to 50% of the time or more, then you DEFINITELY need a redesign. It’s hurting your business to have either an outdated or irrelevant message.
When was the last time you completely overhauled your site?
It seems like such an obvious question, so why don’t I have this at the top of this list? Mainly because this is not a very strong indicator of needing a new website. My general rule of thumb is you should completely revamp at least the look of your site every three years, and possibly the functionality every five years. Those years don’t sync up together when you put it on a calendar because even though technology is changing really fast, it isn’t changing as fast as design trends on the Web. For instance, we have had smartphones for at least six years but we are just now starting to look at website design as responsive to the device we are using. However, the “Web 2.0″ look has come and gone in a matter of about four years (roughly 2006-2010).
If you can’t remember when the last time you completely revamped your website was, then that is a good indication that it may be time for a redo, simply because technology and design trends have probably changed significantly since then (i.e. post-Web 2.0, responsive web design, HTML5/CSS3, social media integration, minimalist designs, etc). However, like I said it isn’t a strong indicator mainly because different sites have different purposes, and may not need to be overhauled as often or may need to be overhauled more often than others.
Are parts of your site not functioning properly?
Does your site have things that are broken or constantly giving you errors like the dreaded “404 not found” message? While it is often a simple fix to correct these broken elements, it could indicate a bigger problem: your site is disorganized or is being mishandled. This is often solved and prevented by using a content management system that can manage your content so that you are not losing pictures or broken links to improper or accidental management of your site.
If you have tons of broken links, error messages, and missing images, then you should consider a complete website redesign that will include the installation and use of a content management system. If you only have one or two broken links here or there, then take some time to fix those as soon as you can.
Do search engines even know you exist?
Much can be said about good SEO in terms of getting your site on search engines, but it actually doesn’t require a lot of work for you to make certain things happen that are favorable for SEO. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo like sites that have content that is constantly changing, coded properly, and isn’t heavily based on images. While you can often help by keeping your site updated yourself, things like making sure the site is coded properly may need to be investigated by a web developer with SEO experience who can look to see if there are any coding elements that could be causing problems for you where it comes to search engine optimization.
If you are virtually nowhere on search engines, then it may be time for a new website to help boost your SEO and search engine visits. Since most people will find you through a Google search than directly typing in your URL (for most websites), playing nice with search engines so that they will find you and put you in their results will go a long way with getting visitors to come to your site. It is up to you to make your visitors stay, however, through fresh content and a nice looking site.
Ultimately, you have to make the decision on a redesign
Just because your website meets some of the points discussed above doesn’t necessarily indicate that your website needs an overhaul. For instance, just because your site takes a long time to load doesn’t mean that it is time to start from scratch and create a new one. This could easily be solved by having a web designer or developer take a look at your site to see what is slowing it down, and working with them to resolve that. Also, if your site is losing visitors, it may not be because of the site design, but rather the content on the site. A revamp in content only could help improve this without completely gutting what you already have.
My best bet is that if several of the situations above are happening to you, then it is time to either hire a good web designer or take on your website redesign yourself (if you are a designer or developer) and revamp your site so you aren’t left in the dust.
In the end, you have to make the decision on whether your website needs a redesign or not. If you are starting to get the feeling that maybe it is time to redesign your site, then contact a web designer and chat with them about why you feel your site needs an update. They can often help you determine if your site just needs some tweaks or if it is truly time for a brand spanking new website.