If you’ve been a web designer for over five years, it’s probably time for some of your early web design clients to redesign their websites. Or you may be contacted by a prospect who already has a website, but wants to update it.
The question is, how do you get them to redesign?
Unfortunately, it is often much harder to convince a web design client of the need to upgrade a website than it was to convince them of the need for a website in the first place.
It’s almost as though they are trapped by those old web designs and can’t break free.
There are many reasons why a client may continue to use an old web design, but in this post I’ll address two of those reasons. I’ll also identify eight signs that it’s time to redesign a website and give web designers some ammunition for talking about website upgrades to their clients.
8 Signs That It’s Time to Upgrade
Many small businesses and organizations believe that web design is a one-time investment. You pay to build a website, and you’re good to go. Forever.
Businesses may believe their old website designs still have the same value they once did, but web designers know that they are probably wrong.
While it’s true that web design is usually not a fixed monthly expense for a business, it’s not true that a company should expect a web design from over five years ago to meet their needs as effectively today.
Yet, those same companies who refuse to update their website design regularly invest in new computer equipment, as they need to.
Website design is much like a computer. It will serve you well for several years, but eventually it needs to be replaced with a newer site design that works better.
Here are some signs that it could be time for one of your early web design clients or prospects with an existing site to upgrade:
- Customers have difficulty using the site. The latest trends in responsive design have made sites more user friendly–especially for mobile users.
- The site looks dated. Over the years, consumer tastes change. Website designs that were popular over five years ago are not necessarily effective at reaching today’s consumers.
- WordPress and plugins have not been updated in ages. Some businesses are not comfortable performing site upgrades. But not upgrading can leave a website vulnerable.
- The site loads very slowly. Load time is crucial for a web page. Unfortunately, over time it’s not uncommon for added plugins and other factors to slow a website’s load time down.
- The organization’s brand has changed significantly. A common reason for upgrading web design is rebranding. A company’s website should reflect the company brand.
- The website is full of broken links. Over time organizations often remove web pages without looking for links on the site to the removed pages. Unfortunately, broken links make for a bad customer experience.
- The web design has been “junked up” by too many “cooks.” In-house amateurs have made their own modifications to the website, so that it no longer works smoothly.
- You are concerned about security issues. Security issues often go beyond web design, but a good web designer can provide some tips for safeguarding your information.
If you notice one or more of these problems with a client or prospect’s website, it’s time to approach them about upgrading their site design.
Dealing with Objections
Typically, web designers face one of two scenarios when they approach a prospect about upgrading their web design:
- Scenario one. The prospect sees no reason to upgrade. They had a good experience with their last web designer. They believe their current web design is working fine and see no need to change it.
- Scenario two. The prospect was very unhappy with their last web designer. They know that there are problems with their web design, but they see their website as a money pit with very little return.
How you approach each prospective client about redesigning their website depends on which type of scenario you are facing. A common mistake that web designers make is treating the two types of prospects the same way.
Let’s start with the prospect of scenario one. For them, your main goal should be to demonstrate how a new web design will provide business benefits. Here are some points you should discuss:
- Load time. Odds are that their old website doesn’t load as quickly as it should.
- Customer experience. Are the customers able to find what they need on the site?
- Company changes. Most companies grow over the years. Does the new site reflect who the company is today?
- Competition. While their old website may be okay, how does it hold up to competitor sites?
- Traffic. Ask the prospect if the traffic has held steady or decreased over the years.
With this prospect, who is happy with their current website, the key is to show them that they could do even better with a redesign. Let’s move onto the prospect of scenario two.
The prospect in scenario two has had a bad experience with a web designer. You don’t need to convince them that they need a new website design. They probably already know that. What you do need to convince them is that they can trust you to do a good job.
For this prospect, discuss:
- Your testimonials. It’s especially important to demonstrate that many past clients have enjoyed working with you. In particular, focus on clients who have gotten results from their website.
- Your availability. Stress that you will be available for this prospect. Explain how they can reach you with problems and reassure them that you will address each problem promptly.
- Any guarantees you offer. This prospect needs to know that you stand behind your work. If you offer any client guarantees, mention them to this prospect. They need the reassurance.
- Your maintenance or support fees. Stress that you are willing to maintain their site and give them the option of using those services. Let them know upfront what kind of maintenance costs they can expect.
- Be specific. Explain exactly what you will accomplish with a website redesign, and then deliver exactly what you promised. You want to convert this unhappy prospect into a happy client.
In many ways, the prospect from scenario two is much harder to win over than the prospect from scenario one. However, both prospects are trapped in their old web design and need your help.
It’s your job as a web designer to make sure that their website becomes everything it should be.
The Importance of Good Content
A company’s web design is a crucial part of their online presence. A good web design can mean the difference between getting a client or customer and losing a prospect.
Content and the user experience are equally important. Poor content on a beautifully designed website does not attract customers. So make sure that your web design clients understand the importance of good content.
Pointing this out makes both of you look better.
How do you approach a prospective web design client who needs to upgrade their web design? Share your experiences and tips in the comments.