In today’s digital-first world, the way in which customers or prospects engage with businesses is very often via Google search and they then arrive on the business’ website.
We live in a world where the answer to many questions is to simply “Google it”. We readily turn to the Google machine and input our questions into its search engine: “Where can I get business advice?”. The Google machine then serves up a series of search results relevant to the query – and at this point, we begin our research process, diligently investigating each website and its content to make a detailed assessment.
And, in this research process, the quality and capability of your business’ website and the content it provides, is incredibly important. After all, your website meets your prospects before you do – and on that basis, delivering a powerful first impression is key to securing a website visitor’s interest.
It’s important to appreciate the simple fact that your website is the nucleus of your marketing and sales activity. It is the hub through which you drive traffic, generate leads and close business. If you don’t have a website, you are invisible! And you are missing out on opportunities for customers to find you, engage with you and spend money with you.
However, if you do have a website – and find that it is failing to generate you the amount of business you require – and you have tried every other possible solution, then you may need to consider redesigning it.
In principle, there are 10 reasons why you may need to redesign your website.
1. Your website is dated and static - especially when compared to new designs.
Gone are the days where you could update your static ‘brochure’ type website once every two years - the prospects of today - your customers, are looking for cool, high-quality, cutting-edge and informative websites. If your website fails to offer your prospects that experience or stand out from the competition, they will simply arrive on it and bounce right back out.
It’s important to appreciate the fact that the web is always changing. Technology and designs that may have been cutting-edge and cool a few years ago can quickly become outdated. Look at Flash-based websites for example! So rather than updating your website once every year or so, update it regularly!
2. It’s no longer accurate or reflective of your brand/business.
If your brand or business has undergone a process of rebranding and augmented its existing services with additional ones, you will most certainly need to redesign your website. Rebranding isn’t always about designing a new, fancy logo. It could be anything from changing the business’ name, objective, logo, website design, messaging, positioning and much more.
So, if you have constructed a comprehensive rebranding strategy for your business, your website will need to undergo that transformation as well. You don’t want your prospects arriving at an old version of your business’ website!
3. It’s inflexible and provides limited control over what you can edit or change.
One of the key things to consider when it comes to creating your website and the platform you use to host it, is the level of functionality you have available. How your website looks is not as nearly as important as a site that actually works in the way you, and your prospects, want it to. With this in mind, you need a platform that offers you the functionality you need to change, edit and add new pages on the fly.
4. It’s non-responsive.
In today’s world, a significant portion of website traffic is from mobile - and that isn’t going to change moving forward. Therefore, having a static ‘brochure’ type website which does not alter its structure depending on device, will only lose visitors and have a high bounce rate. Users expect a mobile optimised website, so it is absolutely vital that your business’ website is 'mobile-first' and 'responsive.'
With a responsive design, however, you can accommodate all your website visitors regardless of the device they are using. Responsive design essentially alters your website to the device that user is browsing on.
5. It’s not optimised for search engines.
Perhaps when you initially designed your website, you paid little attention to its structure and navigation. Maybe your webpages were built using fixed, hard-coded templates that prevent any customisation or manual coding. Elements such as your website’s URL, the H1, H2 and H3 headers, meta tags, page titles and meta descriptions might have been fixed at the time and you were unable to change them. As a result, your website is poorly optimised and performs terribly in search.
A website redesign however, can help you to rectify those problems. With a more sophisticated content management system supporting your website’s redesign, you can make your website far more SEO friendly, utilising custom URLs, H1, H2, H3 tags, meta descriptions, page titles, alt tags, templates, CSS and keyword tracking tools, giving you far more functionality and flexibility.
6. There is no way for visitors to engage with the business beyond ‘contact us’.
The vast majority of websites only have one principal call-to-action, which is: ‘contact us’.
But not everyone who arrives on your website will be ready to engage with a salesperson. A website which offers potential prospects no other means to interact with the business on a level other than ‘contact us’ will miss out on generating more leads.
Therefore, it's vital that you provide them with other ways to investigate your business and what it does - call-to-action buttons provide them with an opportunity to engage with your business on different levels.
7. It’s slow.
According to HubSpot, the top 20% of pages on the web load in less than 1.5 seconds - blisteringly fast for a website. The threshold load speed, according to Google’s Site Performance for Webmasters, is 2 seconds.
If your website takes longer than 5 seconds to load however, website visitors will simply leave. As most of your prospects are on mobile devices, the speed of your website is paramount. You need your website to load in under five seconds, but if possible, in less than two.
8. It has no new or unique content and cannot support a content marketing strategy.
Fresh, unique content drives traffic to your website. If you don’t regularly update your website with quality content, people won’t have a reason to come back. In order to add new content to your site however, you need a content management system to support your content marketing strategy and allow you to publish new content regularly.
9. It’s built on - and includes - outdated third-party tools.
Most sites will have embedded third-party tools to improve their functionality, but if those tools are not updated or deliver the level of functionality your website visitors need, you are better off updating or removing them.
WordPress-built websites in particular have a host of plugins available to them, but if those plugins are not regularly updated, they become obsolete, clunky code that not only slows the website down and negatively impacts the user experience.
10. It’s insecure.
If your website was built years ago and doesn’t have any kind of modern security, I urge you to address this first and foremost.
With the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) around the corner, the need for comprehensive security on your website could not be more important. Cyberattacks have grown in prominence - the most recent (and devastating) being the WannaCry ransomware attack.
Furthermore, the inclusion of things such as HTTPS will give your website a small ranking boost and assure website visitors that the connection - and their information - is indeed safe.
Finally, if you’ve realised that you need to redesign your website, please think about the process that you will undertake to do this and avoid a traditional website redesign! With the advent of modern templating and development tools, it is far too costly and time consuming.
With a traditional approach to website redesign, you lock your website in its current form, typically for six to nine months whilst you try to rewrite and redesign the whole website. Then very often there's a further delay while everyone tries to agree on the new website, and all while this process is going on, you have continued to show your unsatisfactory website to the world - and your lead generation activity is at rock-bottom.
You don’t want this. It is highly impractical for your website, your best salesperson, to be sidelined for an extended period whilst you attempt to fix it.
There’s a smarter way to redesign your website in 2017 - and it’s called: Growth-Driven Design. It guarantees a new website in the shortest possible time and allows you to continue to improve it's SEO on an ongoing basis and you have the option to spread the cost over a 12 month period.
Tip #21: If you are experiencing more than one of the above problems with your website; a carefully produced, new website is what you need.
However, if you are more interested in what Google thinks of it, versus what colour it is, avoid a traditional website redesign process, as you will not only incur substantial cost but also miss out on new business while your old website is being ‘rectified’.
Consider an alternative fast-track approach, look at Growth-Driven Design!
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