How To Know When Your Company’s Site Is Due for an Overhaul
If your business is like most others, your website is the single most important marketing tool at your disposal. It tells your company’s story, details your products or services, and helps your target audience find and contact you. If your website isn’t up to date and functional, it’s bad news for your business. So how do you know whether you need to make some simple updates or you need to start from scratch? Here are 7 indicators that it’s time for your company to build a new website.
We’ve updated this guide from our most recent list to reflect best practices in 2021. If you’re unsure whether you need a new site or maybe just some website TLC, we’d be happy to help. Just drop us a line!
- Lead generation metrics are declining for no good reason. It’s time to do a deep dive into your website’s analytics. The two types of stats that we’re most interested in for this discussion: acquisition (“Are people coming to my site?) and conversion (“Are they doing what I want them to do?”). For acquisition, look at measurements like the total number of visitors and sessions. For conversion, pay attention to how long visitors stay on your site, which pages they visit, whether they fill out contact forms, and the bounce rate (i.e. what percentage of visitors leave without looking at more than one page). Once you’ve adjusted for factors like seasonality, are you noticing any troubling trends? Declining acquisition statistics might mean that your site isn’t optimized to rank near the top of search results, which could require an overhaul. Poor conversion indicates that something else is wrong–visitors are making it to your site, but they’re not finding what they’re looking for. You might not know exactly what the issue is from data analysis alone, but it’s an early signal that your site needs attention.
- Your website’s load speed is sluggish. It’s no secret that our patience and attention spans are oh-so-brief. When your site is slow, you lose visitors, period. The effect is even more pronounced for visitors using mobile devices, which is especially important when you consider that mobile devices generated about 54.8% of global web traffic in the first quarter of 2021. If users can’t find what they want quickly or spend more than an instant staring at a blank load page, they’ll go elsewhere–and that can be costly for you. More and more, Google is incorporating site performance metrics into its search algorithm ranking, so your site will get buried it’s not up to speed, so to speak. Some of the prime suspects for slow load speeds include excessive plugins, media files that are too large and not properly compressed, and issues with your hosting service. There are some quick fixes that can help, like ditching plugins you aren’t using anymore, but if that feels like you’re putting a bandage on a broken bone, it might be time for an overhaul.
- Updating your site is a major headache. In an ideal world, your website should be an evolving, dynamic being. That means you should be able to update it frequently and easily. If the thought of making a change to your site fills you with dread, you need to find a new solution. An outdated, clumsy content management system (CMS) can be replaced with something more flexible and user-friendly like WordPress. Or if you currently rely on a third-party agency or freelancer to make updates, it’s time to break that cycle and get your site into your own hands. The great news is that almost everything on your current site can be transferred and uploaded to your new platform with relative ease.
- The user experience is poor. This is a big catch-all for a lot of common website problems. Basically, consider your website from the perspective of someone outside your organization, preferably a member of your target audience who is a total stranger to your company and your brand. If this imaginary person is visiting your site for the first time, will they be able to find the information you want them to find? Will they enjoy using your site? If your answer isn’t a resounding “YES,” that’s a red flag! Take a look at your site structure, how many clicks it takes for a person to get to important pages, whether page content is current and consistent with user expectations, how clear your call to action is on each page, and whether the design and usability are up to modern standards. If you really want to go the extra mile, phone a friend who has never been to your website and ask them to perform a simple task, such as finding a particular product or submitting a contact form. Their feedback about the experience might be eye-opening.
- Your website doesn’t meet accessibility guidelines. It’s 2021, and your website absolutely must be accessible for visitors with disabilities and impairments. Not only is this imperative to ensure that everyone can visit and enjoy your website, it’s also part of Google’s search ranking algorithm. Here are some common pitfalls for website accessibility include: images with missing or incorrect alt tags, low contrast between text and background colors, text or buttons that are too small, fonts that are difficult to read, confusing or non-linear page hierarchy, and contact forms that have hidden labels. As a bonus, an accessible site is better for all visitors, as it generally makes the site content easier to take in and digest! Not sure if your website is accessible? Try this online web accessibility evaluation tool.
- The technical components of your website are woefully outdated. Plugins that you haven’t touched in ages and that aren’t supported by the developer anymore. Broken integration pathways to your email platform or customer relationship software. Website design trends that have become obsolete. Don’t run today’s site on years-old technology. Outdated tools open your site up to issues with usability, security, and efficiency. Some updates could help, but if you haven’t looked at the technical components of your website since Barack Obama was in office, it’s time for a change.
- Your website doesn’t tell your company’s story. We shouldn’t have to tell you that this is critical. You can have the most beautiful page design and the flashiest technology, but if your site doesn’t represent your business well, it isn’t serving you. Does your website match your brand and company culture? Does it give visitors an accurate picture of who you are and what you do? Building a new website that’s true to you, or at least making some substantial content updates, will make all the difference.
While these are some of the most tangible indicators that you need a new site, sometimes it comes down to intuition. Does your site just feel old? Is it possible that your website is what’s holding back your business? If you think you’re due for a new website, you’re probably right. Or if you’re looking at a mountain of temporary fixes and patches, make your life a little simpler and start fresh with a new site. A website isn’t a cure-all for your marketing, but it’s one of your most essential tools. So make it a great one!
When you’re ready to build a new website–or if you need more help to figure out if it’s time for a new site–reach out to the Ampersand team. We’d be happy to help!