November 17th, 2016
What Happened? My Website Didn’t Used to Be Bad
You paid good money for that website…back when fax machines were relevant. And damn it, the longer you keep it, the better that decision was! Problem is, there’s a point of diminishing returns, and missed opportunities. So how do you know when it’s time to pull the plug? Glad you asked:
1. Your Website Looks Like a 1970s Leisure Suite
Websites go in and out of style just like clothes. Take a good, hard look at your website without emotionally compensating. Sure, you were proud of it when it first launched back in 2011, but technology, and variable screen sizes and the dominance of mobile has changed the way websites look, and how consumers use them.
Look around and see what your local competitors are doing. Just be aware that they are probably just as busy, and haven’t put any more thought into their website than you have over the last five years. You don’t want to have a website that is about the same as theirs, you want to have one that blows them away.
Instead of fixating on what the average guys in your industry are content with, take a look at the larger brands in your industry. You know, the ones that can afford to do things right. We frequently use state-of-the-art, industry-leading websites as the blueprint for what we build for our clients.
2. Your Website is as Easy to Navigate as a Chinese Phonebook
A great user experience is something that both consumers and search engines can agree on. Why? Because search engines try to emulate human behavior. If Google can detect indications of satisfaction (lots of activity on your website), it is more likely to rank you higher in their search results.
Human beings are inherently lazy and want the shortest path to whatever they are looking for. If human beings can find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently without wading through reams of ego-driven content, they are MUCH more likely to consider doing business with you.
Just because you can easily find what you are looking for on your own website, it only proves that you know where it is. Think like a consumer who is looking for something specific. If it’s more than three clicks away, you need to redesign the site.
3. Your Website Looks like a Postage Stamp on a Smartphone
According to Search Engine Land, almost 60 percent of all searches are now conducted on a mobile device, and that number continues to climb. If your fingers are bigger than the navigation buttons, and the print smaller than the fine print on your credit card contract, then you need a new website.
Even if everything was properly sized for smartphones and tablets, it’s still a different user experience on a smaller device. So make sure the user experience is just as good on the small screen as it is on your desktop.
4. That New Website Smell is Gone
If you’re no longer excited to show your website to everyone you come across, they probably wouldn’t be that excited to see it anyway. If you aren’t getting that warm, fuzzy feeling when you look at your site, take the hint.
Stop making excuses for your website, and put it out to pasture while it’s just old…not embarrassing. If the thrill is gone, move on.
5. Your Website Doesn’t Deliver
Design issues aside, does your website deliver leads and sales? Should it be delivering more? Perhaps your site is current and looks great, but still doesn’t perform like you envisioned when you wrote that check. Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures. Take a look at your messaging.
Look at your website through the eyes of a consumer who needs your products and services, but doesn’t know, or care (yet) who you are. Do you get to the point quickly, or do you do an information dump and let your visitors sort it out for themselves?
Almost every one of your customers will eventually come across your website at one point or another. In many cases, it’s their very first impression of your company. A website’s main purpose is to produce more business, either by itself, or in conjunction with other marketing initiatives. If it isn’t pulling its own weight, it’s time to redesign.
Get Opinions from Objective Third Parties
It’s fine to ask people who routinely don’t want to offend you, but consider the source.
Ask customers what they think. Ask other business people who you know and trust. Ask objective people who will tell you the truth as a consumer, and ask professionals who can independently analyze your website and explain SPECIFICALLY what needs to change. I do for my connections in the glass industries’ all the time as a courtesy. It’s just good karma.