It’s a bold statement, I know. I also know that you’re most likely not going to want to dedicate time, money, and resources to a task that some might see as a glorified art project. The truth is, though, that a website redesign–if done correctly–can enhance your user experience with a meaningful interface, better promote your brand, and help you generate more revenue. I’ve provided some questions that you should answer below, to determine if your site is screaming for a redesign, or whether you can afford to hold off a bit longer.
When is the last time you updated the look and feel of your site?
If the answer to this question is greater than three years, you should consider a refresh. Anything over five years will most likely require a complete overhaul. Web design tends to change rapidly, and you don’t want to be stuck with a site that seems stale, dated, or doesn’t adhere to industry best practices. Below, I’ve included screenshots of Apple’s website from September 2005, September 2010, and September 2015. You’ll notice that this best-in-class website is noticeably different with each successive iteration, and that a site from even five or ten years ago seems outdated.
An outdated design can cause your customers to wonder whether you are the best choice if you haven’t kept up with your internet landscape.
Do You Have a Mobile or Responsive Site?
Frankly, if you answer to this question is, “No,” I’m not sure we can be friends. In all seriousness, though, the ability (or inability) to use a site on a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet is a big deal. I’d be willing to bet that if Twitter’s user experience didn’t have a mobile component, you would be hard-pressed to use it. So why should your website be any different? The fact of the matter is, that time spent surfing the internet on mobile devices has surpassed the time spent using the internet on a desktop or laptop. In turn, this means that there’s a good chance that your web visitors are looking at your site from a mobile device. If you don’t have a mobile responsive or standalone mobile site, your users are going to be spending more time pinching their screens in order to find the right navigation links then actually consuming your content.
Still not sold? Earlier this year, Google announced that it was going to begin penalizing sites that lacked a mobile user interface. This means that if you don’t have a mobile site, your Google search ranking will likely fall, making it harder for your customers and prospects to find your site.
Does Your Current Site Adhere to Industry Best Practices?
If you don’t know if your site is in accordance with industry best practices, you’ll need to do a little research. In a field that is ever-changing, sometimes it’s hard to keep up. That being said, if your site uses Adobe Flash Player or images as buttons (instead of text), among others, you’re due for a refresh.
Using Images as Buttons
You’re damaging your SEO when you use images as buttons instead of stylized text. While you can still achieve the same end results, namely directing your users from one page to another, the text on your images cannot be indexed by search engines like plain text and your content is therefore not being wholly accessed by search engines. This also goes for the use of text on images across your site in general.
Does Your Site Navigation Make Sense?
A website exists so that individuals can find information, interact with your business, and/or buy products. Don’t make it hard for people to do this. Is your navigation easy to find? Is your site hierarchy consistent? You’d be astounded at the number of sites I visit that look like they are part of a design project gone terribly wrong. While they’re visually appealing, I can’t figure out how to access the information I need. Frustrated, I move on to the next one in an attempt to find what I’m searching. In short, don’t sacrifice usability for something that looks cool. If you site is both unusable and uncool, you’re most definitely due for a redesign.
What Are Your Customers Saying?
Part of being a successful business includes constantly listening to your customers’ feedback and improving your operations when you encounter negativity. If people are reaching out to you on social media, calling your offices, or engaging with representatives to tell them their thoughts, listen. These people want to do business with you and are letting you know that they are dissatisfied and could potentially take their business elsewhere. This is especially true if your website is commerce-enabled.