Many businesses face the challenge of knowing when they need to invest some money in a re-design of their website. If you’re in this situation, here are 9 ways to tell when it’s time.
1 – Outdated Look
Websites are like anything else, certain styles come and go. If your site was designed several years ago, it may be a little bit “out of style” with today’s internet users. Even very well designed sites will go out of style eventually, just like designer clothes.
2 – The Navigational Structure is No Longer Adequate
Ease of navigation is essential to have a user-friendly website. If considerable amounts of information/pages have been added to your website since the last design the navigation may be difficult to understand. This is common if the site and the navigation was designed for a much smaller type of website than what you currently have.
If visitors have difficulty maneuvering through your site, or if it takes several clicks to get from your homepage to specific information, your visitors may not be able to find what they want. Depending on the severity of the problem, this may be something that can be fixed without a complete re-design.
3 – Your Business has Grown, but the Website Still Has an Amateur Look
Your website will create the first impression of your business for many of your potential clients and customers. If it doesn’t accurately reflect the level of success or professionalism of your business, consider an upgrade. You may have had the site developed when your business was just starting up or when money wasn’t available for a more professional design. Take a look at your current situation and see if a new design is feasible.
4 – Corporate Change of Direction
Sometimes a company makes a major change in its strategy. Many times this may include new products or services. If your website no longer reflects the direction your company is headed it may confuse your website visitors and have adverse effects. Be sure that your website portrays the image that you want your visitors to see.
5 – Traffic is Falling
Many times a new design will reinvigorate the flow of traffic to your website. A new look and a new concept can give your company a fresh appearance to your visitors. While a new design is not the “answer” to traffic problems, it can help the situation.
6 – The Competition Requires You to Keep Up
If your website severely lags behind the quality of your competition’s website(s) you may be losing money unnecessarily. Keep pace with the competition, or out do them, with a better-looking, more functional site of your own.
7 – The Current Design has Severe SEO Deficiencies
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves far more than the structure of a website, but having a website that is built with proper SEO principals is essential and it is the first step to having a search engine-friendly website. Minor SEO flaws can easily be corrected without an entire re-design, but depending on the severity of the deficiencies you may be better off to start over with a solid foundation for your SEO efforts.
8 – Your Pages Load Too Slowly
One of the realities of doing business online is that your potential customers have a very short attention span. If your pages aren’t load quickly enough, you’re almost certainly loosing valuable visitors every day. This problem is compounded when you are advertising or paying for traffic, in which case you’re probably paying for traffic that leaves before ever seeing your pages. (Read our article Designing Pages to Load Quickly)
9 – Invalid Code
If your website was built several years ago there’s a good chance it uses a lot of invalid HTML or CSS code. Web standards have come along way in recent years and valid code is becoming more important every day. With invalid code you may be limiting who can access your website and how it is seen by your visitors. To check the validity of your code, visit the W3C’s HTML validator and CSS validator.