Is it time to update your website?

Your business website is the center of your brand identity, marketing, sales, and customer relations. More than 80% of shoppers do online research before they buy (AdWeek). You have spent a lot of time and money to build your business, develop your reputation in the marketplace and develop your website so you don’t want to repeat that effort unnecessarily. Below will help you figure out if it is time to revitalise your website and if it is doing the job of creating you sales leads and enhancing your client relationships.

Why It is Important

An outdated website design can hurt your search rankings and turn away clients, which is definitely not your goal. It is important to keep your website working hard for your business – every hour of every day. A redesign every so often will keep things fresh and freshen your look. You also need to keep your technology current while you are at it.

So, how often do you need to redesign your site? The following eight factors will pinpoint whether you need a redesign now – or twelve months ago!

  1. Mobile friendly
  2. Visual appeal
  3. Navigation and content
  4. Speed
  5. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  6. Security
  7. Lead generation
  8. Social media integration

Website Audit Tips:

1. Mobile-friendly web design is the standard

So, we list this first because having a mobile-friendly or responsive website design also affects the other factors. Consider the following:

  • Google search favors websites that look good on smart phones and other mobile devices. Google began indexing websites based on their mobile version, not their desktop version
  • More than 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices
  • People are twice as likely to use search than other online or offline sources.

Between browsing behaviours and search results, having a mobile friendly or mobile-first website is a must.

2. Visual appeal for your audience

Your website needs to have visual appeal for your audience. Website standards keep evolving, as do visual standards. Large images, appealing colours, and open or flat design elements are the normal user experience. Words matter, but how those words look matters as well.

If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful information, visitors will see you as an authority and expert. Likewise, if your site looks poorly designed or out-of-date, they may make the same assumptions about your business or you as a Building Designer or Energy Rater or any other profession.

Use your competitors and peers as examples to evaluate your own site. Are you keeping pace with your industry? Remember to check both your computer and phone views of your website. Both should be appealing and similar.

Your page elements need to look good and work on mobile devices. Links and buttons need enough room around them to prevent accidental clicking.

The text needs to be easy to read and the navigation easy to use. Your visuals of your projects and your work should be professionally photographed and showcased.

Your website should have a clean and easy to use look and feel about it.

3. Navigation and content matter

Can your visitors find the information they are looking for? Website visitors are looking for information. Either they found you through search or they know who you are and want information about your services, your past work and current work. They want to know about you and how credible you are.

Make it easy for visitors to know who you are, what products or services you provide, and how to find you. Information should be no more than two clicks away. Consider implementing site search, mega menus, and deep footers to link to popular content.

If you have high bounce rates (check your Google Analytics) that may indicate visitors are not finding what they’re looking for on your site. Check your referral sources and search terms to see what your visitors are wanting.

Short content is out. Every good piece of content answers a question or solves a problem. Arrange and develop content to provide answers.

Showcase your projects and the good work you have done. If you have won awards here is where you can display them and boast about your wins.

Browsing preferences have changed and scrolling is preferable to multiple clicks. Use subheads and images to break up content and make it more visually appealing.

Mobile users want content without downloads, sideways scrolling, or needing to zoom their screens to read your words. When possible, do not use PDFs or attachments, but format the content to fit your website so it is searchable.

For example if you have brochures do not just post the brochure PDF! Use the content to make an optimised page that can be read without downloading.


4. Page speed is important

Bounce rates rise by more than 50% if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. A slow site or slow page hurts your traffic (and conversions). Use Google Page Speed Insights and find out how long your site takes to load. If your score is low then you may need a website design update.

Optimising images and minimising CSS can help reduce page load time. Other factors include your website hosting company and hosting plan.

If you are using WordPress, you may want to evaluate the use of plug-ins and remove any that aren’t needed.

If you need a page redesign, starting with a mobile-first approach to limit load factors will also help with page speed on computers.

If you are using graphics to showcase your projects be mindful of how long they take to download. Consider reducing the file size in order to make it easily accessed by clients or create a gallery that sits on it’s own page so clients can view your projects separately.

5. SEO or Search Engine Optimisation

While content has the most influence on SEO, page design has an impact as well. There are choices in page design and element order that influence SEO, including alt tags for images and using styled text instead of graphics. A good page design will consider the site goals and optimisation.

If your site is missing meta data and alt tags, or lacks the ability to add these, then it is time for an update.

6. Security matters

Don’t have an SSL Certificate? Google is going to flag your website this year! Security matters to everyone. If your website does not use SSL security, then it is time to update it. You can check by going to your website and look next to the URL. Do you see a little padlock symbol and the word “Secure”? If so, you’re all set.

But, if your website is not secure or has warnings of mixed content, it will be flagged and will most likely drop in rank for search results. If your site is not secure, it is time for a redesign.

7. Lead generation through forms, enewsletters, calls to action, and offers - build a database of potential clients

Your website is out there providing information about your business, you, your products or services, and interacting with prospects and customers. It is a clearing house of information. With more than 80% of shoppers searching information online before purchasing don’t you want to find out who they are?

If your website does not have easy ways for visitors to sign up for information or join your email list, then it is time for a new website design.

8. Integrate your social media into your website

Link your social media to your website or integrate it so all digital channels are working for you simultaneously.

This ensures that clients can find you through all channels and it creates a full narrative about you, your business and your services. It also allows you to interact with your clients and engage them in the community you create digitally.

Websites are your digital business cards and your digital shop front

You have spent a lot of time and money to build your business and develop your website content. If your website doesn’t get a passing score on these eight factors, then you should be planning your next update today.

There are future clients who are looking at your current website or have completely missed your website and this is the very reason why your website may need a redesign and reinvestment.

This article is written from the following sources: