Tuesday, February 4

14 Signs You Need to Update Your Website

How do you know if your website's in need of a redesign? Here's 14 reasons why.

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1. You can’t update content yourself

Content Management Systems (CMS), which allow you to update your website’s content, are sometimes a little more expensive to implement initially, but save you money and time in the future. They provide you the ability to edit your website anytime without any additional costs, an extremely important factor when you want your website to be fresh and up to date.


2. You can’t get a hold of your web developer

Your hands are tied if you've found yourself at the mercy of a company that isn't returning your calls or conducting work professionally. The inability to gain access to your site or update content is a major indicator that you need to find a new web agency. This often happens when the website is built by your best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who knows a guy who does freelance web on the side. It's cheap at first, but expensive in the long run.


3. Your website is slow to load

Old code can be clunky. Large images, animated elements like flash intros, and other antiquated functionality can bog down your website and cause slow loading times. A typical user only waits 3 seconds for your website to load, so if your site takes longer you’re losing customers.


4. Your website is not showing up in the right searches

If your website was built without attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), users may not be able to find your website when they search. Search engines like Google have specific requirements for making sure your website is indexed properly within their database, like page titles and semantic code. If your website isn’t ranking high in Google, contact a web professional to evaluate your site’s SEO.


5. Your website doesn’t work on mobile devices

Did you know these days over 20% of users view websites on their mobile devices? If you're not taping into the mobile market, you're losing potential customers. Try visiting your website using a smartphone. Do you have to zoom in and scroll sideways to see the content? Websites that don’t change to accommodate different screens can be frustrating to use.


6. Your website has a flash intro, splash page, or music auto-playing

Users don’t like to be kept from the content by waiting for animations to load and play or having to click an extra time to “enter” a website.  Users should be able to find what they’re looking for in 3 clicks or less, and intros use up clicks needlessly. Likewise, users don’t like to be assaulted by music or noises that they didn’t choose to have playing. Especially when your website is open in a background window or tab, the user is left wondering where the music is coming from and often would rather close the window than take the time to find out how to stop it.


7. Your competition has a better website

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try navigating the websites of your competition. How does the experience compare to your website? Is their site easier to use? Is the information organized in a more meaningful way? Do they have a newer design that makes them look more respectible?

8. You just updated your logo/brand

Your new logo may not fit with the style or colours of your current website. This is a perfect time to update your site to match your new branding. Luckily, in revisiting a site design, any issues with usability that also may exist can be address and fixed during the redesign process.


9. Your website breaks in newer browsers

If your website is a number of years old or built by an amateur developer, there could be issues with cross-browser compatibility. Web browsers are a pain because each one renders your website slightly differently, the worst offender being Internet Explorer. Try viewing your website on a PC vs. Mac and on Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome to make sure everything is displayed and working properly.  No one can build a website to work in browsers that have not been released yet.  When new browsers come out, review your website in the new browser and if something needs fixing contact a professional to get it fixed.


10. Your website looks old

Has your website looked the same for more than a couple years? Is it tiny compared to your massize wide screen display and hard to read or full of bubbly buttons and harsh coloured gradients? Sometimes the style of your website just goes out of fashion. If you're website looks outdated, users may assume your content or services are also outdated. A facelift can often make a world of difference.


11. Your website doesn’t bring value to your customers

What are your customers trying to accomplish when they come to your website? Are they gathering information, looking to buy something, find your contact information? If a customer visits your site and doesn’t find anything of value, chances are they won’t return.


12. Users can’t find the information they need

Similar to the last point, if the valuable information is on your website, but the customer can’t find it or figure out how to use it, you have a big issue. User experience design is an important part of building a website that can be easily overlooked. Designing a website using usability standards in navigation, accessibility, and content organization can make a huge difference when trying to minimize user frustration. Think about how frustrated you get when the contact information isn’t on the homepage and there’s no “contact” navigation item. Users have a very short attention span when it comes to exploring your site. If your users can't find what they're looking for within the first couple seconds, they'll move on to a competitor.


13. You aren’t seeing conversions

Looking at your website analytics, you can see that lots of users are visiting your website, but you’re not seeing any additional sales or growth in the business. Where is the website failing? Market research and usability tests can be performed to see who your users are, where they’re becoming frustrated and why.


14. Your website doesn’t match your company’s image

Maybe you run a renowned law firm and your website looks like a cheap newspaper ad. If your last web firm didn’t quite hit the nail on the head when it came to representing your brand, or if your company has grown and changed over time, it might be a good idea to consider a custom design that fits.