Time for a website redesign?
It very well maybe. The problem is, many brands have trouble telling when it’s time for a tweak and when it’s time for a total overhaul.
In this post, I’ll take you through 9 warning signs that it’s time for a redesign.
The thing about websites is, you can’t outrun a bad one. And as Jon Mueller says in the latest Google Hangout “you can’t work around bad content.”
Sure, you can employ new techniques like AMP and continuously refresh your old pages, but if your site’s just plain bad – with outdated content to boot – you still won’t achieve the rankings you want.
And while a redesign will definitely take work, it’s worth it.
Outside of the items below, here are some things to consider.
- Is you website ugly
- Do you customers like it and will they spend time there
- Is the website built on the correct platform
- Is it technically correct
- Is your website easy to use
- Does your website work with the latest technologies
1. If It’s Not Mobile Friendly, You (Definitely) Need a Website Redesign
Mobile marketing has been on the rise for years. And as of now, it’s no longer a trend. It’s a must.
Why? Because users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones. As a marketer, your job is to notice buyer behavior trends – and apply them to your business.
If consumers want mobile, that’s where you need to be.
Beyond that, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.
Don’t let that be you.
To piggyback on that stat, Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. Which means you’re not just losing business, you’re handing it over to a competitor.
And speaking of Google, their mobile-first initiative has long been in the work. As of March 26, 2018, the change is official:
“To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.”
So if you haven’t already, now’s the time to take this mobile thing very seriously.
If in doubt, use Google’s Mobile Friendly test to see how your site stacks up.
2. If Your Site Speed is Slow, You Need A Website Redesign
Nothing kills a user’s experience quicker than a slow load time.
Usually, they don’t stick around long enough to even have an experience.
According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.
And if you operate an e-commerce store, it gets even worse: 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again.
As if that weren’t enough, a one second delay can in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
The cause of a slow website can be hard to diagnose. Sometimes, it’s on the user’s end and simply out of your hands.
It could be caused by bulky files, inefficient code, too many plug-ins or redirects, or underperforming servers.
In many cases, when a company initially builds a website they choose a server that best fits their needs at the time. Over time, their company and traffic needs may simply outgrow the server.
To combat slow load times (without an entire redesign), first try the following:
- Optimize your images
- Avoid too many redirects
- Optimize content – combine into single scripts
- Make your components cachable
It is important to note, a slow website does not mean you need a redesign. However, in some cases people do redesign legacy websites to use faster technologies. We are seeing that now with AMP and Angular.
Before you do a redesign, make sure to review these simple page speed tips.
3. You Need a Website Redesign if Your Bounce Rate is High
A high bounce rate is a something all marketers should take seriously.
Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your site but leave without visiting any other pages.
So if you have a bounce rate of 75%, that’s means 75% of visitors are leaving after landing on just one page.
And that’s a big deal.
You want your site to be engaging and inviting enough that visitors want to stick around. And while a “good” bounce rate will vary by brand and industry, generally speaking, you want to keep them as low as possible.
Pretty much everything on this list – slow load time, mobile unfriendliness, etc. – can contribute to a high bounce rate.
Another big reason? Your site just isn’t engaging.
If you’ve tried everything else, including refreshing your content, adding more images, using videos, etc., it may be time for an entire website revamp.
Check your bounce rate in Google Analytics under Audience Overview.
Now if you have a high bounce rate it does not mean you absolutely need a redesign. In some cases, it might be the content on the page, a lack of a call to action or a poor image. So start there. But if you have an issue site-wide, it could be due to design.
4. If It Looks Dated, it’s Time For a Website Redesign
Hate to say it, but in the case of websites, looks are important.
We’ve all seen the old ones. They’re usually filled a big, non-scrollable site filled with text and one solid background color.
They might like a little like this:
Or maybe even this:
Either way, they’re not pretty, and they’re not doing you any favors when it comes to conversions.
Also, consumers simply don’t like bad websites.
Warning signs include:
- Too much text
- No photos
- Stale, old content
- No clear navigation
Today, you tend to see websites swing towards the minimal style with flat graphics, large background images, and small pieces of text. They’re often scrollable, including links to different pages throughout.
Generally, your website should have the following:
- Good visual design – visually pleasing is what we’re going for here.
- Good content – “good” content here translates to relevant. It should, as always, be catered to the user. Your value proposition should be stated here, and tell users what’s in it for them and what separated you from the competition
- Easy navigation – users should never have to hunt for the relevant pages. Instead, you should have clear and easy navigation, usually at the top of the site or along the sidebar, to point them clearly the right direction
- A call-to-action – this tells users exactly what you want them to do to take immediate action on your site. What that is will vary by brand and industry, but always test it. The text, the colors, the placement, everything.
5. If Your Industry Has Evolved, You Need A Website Redesign
Business changes with the times (just look at marketing).
If your industry has shifted, make sure your website has too.
Often, you’ll find a brand that talks a big game about certain products and services, only to find little information about them online.
While this can sometimes be a quick fix with a little added content here and there, if the shift is major enough, it may warrant a major change.
For example, if you were running a printing magazine business for some time and have recently switched more towards digital, your website should reflect that. Not only should it highlight your new products and services, but the whole design should reflect your new direction.
You’ll also want to take some time to scope out the competition to make sure you’re not falling behind. If everyone else has updated recently and you haven’t, it may be a sign it’s time to look into a redesign.
6. It’s Time For a Website Redesign if You Can’t Easily Update Your Content
Good, consistent content is one of the surest ways to rank high in the SERPs and keep the traffic coming.
But if it’s too difficult to keep the updated consistent, you’ll all too easy fall behind.
Not only that, but because SEO is constantly changing, it’s important to be able to easily get in and tweak, add to, and optimize pages as necessary.
One of the best ways to make sure you can easily update all content is through a content management system (CMS). A CMS, as you might guess, is an application that can be used to create and manage digital content.
Many popular website platforms like WordPress and Drupal double as a CMS. If you don’t have one in place, it’s time to consider a platform that will support your content needs (and trust me, consistently updating content is a need).
7. Your Website Still Uses Flash
In the late 90’s, Flash was the “it” plugin.
Then in 2010, Steve Jobs banished flash from iPhone, and it was all downhill from there.
These days, it’s an SEO sin, and most browsers no longer support it. Because of that, it can cause websites to load extremely slow, and due to lack of support often times the flash doesn’t work at all.
To add insult to injury, Flash is incredibly insecure.
Chances are you’ve already said your goodbyes to Flash, as Internet Explorer is virtually the only browser that still supports it.
But just in case, it’s a definite sign that a redesign is very necessary.
8. You Need a Website Redesign If Your Conversion Rates are Low
One of the biggest signals of an under-performing website? No conversions.
There can be many reasons for low conversions, and not all of them mean an entire redesign is necessary. But similar to bounce rate, often times the cause of low conversions is a bad user experience.
Start by setting up Google goal tracking and conducting a conversion analysis audit.
Some things you’ll want to focus on are:
- The behavior flow – this is in Google analytics and will show you people navigate through your site
- Landing pages – also in the behavior section of Google analytics, this will show how well your landing pages are converting. Sometimes just a landing page revamp or two will do
- Top exit pages – these are the pages most people abandon (and the ones that will need the most attention during a redesign)
- Your CTAs – each page should have a clear CTA
For more tips on increasing your conversion rate, check out the video below.
9. Your Website is Inconsistent
Remember, one of the biggest factors in a successful website is user experience. And if you’re website is inconsistent, it may be hard to provide that.
By consistent, I mean a few things. First off, consistency in design. A small color, logo, or header change could be enough to throw viewers off. Also, make sure the tone and voice of your brand is consistent.
If you’re going for an authoritative tone, don’t include one page or post from an amateur’s perspective, or include too much humor or sarcasm if that’s not what you’re known for.
The look, feel, and function should remain similar across all pages of your site. One thing to watch for is any recent updates you’ve made to pages. Often, rather than undergoing a full redesign brands will focus on improving and updating just a few lagging pages.
While that’s fine in the short term, it can lead to greater inconsistencies across the site. Make sure you’re occasionally taking the time to navigate through your site as a whole and taking note of any warning pages.
So, Do You Need a Website Redesign?
If any of the signs above sound like you, it’s time to seriously consider a redesign.
Some of these could be quick fixes. Some could point to problems other than page design. But all are worth investigation, and could very well point to a complete site overhaul.
Most importantly: don’t ignore the warning signs. It may require some up-front, but it will be well worth it when your rankings and traffic begin to skyrocket.
Also, outside of this if you have not done a redesign in 2 years, you are probably due.