There are two main groups of people I work with for web development: those who have an existing web site and those who have never had a site.
Those who have never had a web site before very often do not understand the scope of what is involved in developing and maintaining a web site. What they look for in their first web site is not usually what they look for in the subsequent versions of their sites.
It’s kind of like when you bought your very first computer. You didn’t know what you needed, so you relied primarily on recommendations of those who already had one. The next time you upgraded your computer, you knew what was important to you and the focus in your purchasing decision was made on those factors rather than the recommendations of other people.
As you use your site, you figure out what is important to you and your business.
It isn’t necessary to constantly redo your web site, but just as we remodel our homes, upgrade our smart phones, and replace our computers, over time a web site redesign comes due.
Below are 10 signs that your web site might be due for a redesign.
#1 Flash based site
Flash at one time was cool but it was never a good idea. Unless you are in the entertainment or gaming industry, just stay away. Heavy load times, uncrawlable content, and incompatibility with most mobile devices make this a no go.
#2 What Was Once a Great Idea Really Wasn’t
The very first web site I ever created was on AOLPress with floral divider bars and animated gifs. Sometimes there are things that we think are cool at the time, but really aren’t and never were. If there are remnants of that on your website, it might be time for a new look.
#3 Little to No Content
Images and videos are engaging; however, priority number one is content on your site . . . words on the page. If the extent of the content on your site is a bullet point list of services, it may not be an aesthetic redesign that you need so much as an examination of how your web site is incorporated into your marketing strategy as a whole.
#4 Hasn’t been updated in 15 years
If your site hasn’t had new information posted in a significant amount of time, as with the point above, it might be time to examine why that is. Is it because no one in your business knows how to update the site or is it because the web site is considered ancillary to or an afterthought of your overall marketing strategy?
I actually came across a web site a few days ago that had been a “Coming Soon – Under Construction” page since 1997. At that point it would be better to just put up one page with a company name and phone number.
#5 Barriers to Use
Is the web site too difficult to use? Some of the reasons for this could be that the site is a static site requiring the manual addition of pages; a site that is based on a proprietary system that limits extending the functionality; or a site that just too complicated for the user. If it is the latter, a determination needs to be made whether the best option is staff training, hiring a third party company for updates, or making the switch to another platform.
#6 Company Focus Has Changed
The services and focus of a business can evolve over time. What was the primary revenue source of your company when your web site was first launched may not be the primary source today. Or maybe there is another area of your market that you want to target. If that is the case, the structure and focus of your web site should reflect that.
#7 Scattered, Unorganized Content
When you have a web site and are actively using it, it is very easy to let the content and focus get away from you. Some web sites have a problem of not enough information. The opposite can also be a problem if not organized. Ideally, every page, every piece of content should be furthering one of your organization’s goals. Regardless of how someone comes across your site, are they getting the message you are trying to send?
#8 Dysfunctional Platform
A lot of the web site redesigns I do are because the platform the existing site is on is now dysfunctional. Something about it just doesn’t work anymore for the business.
That happens. Things change.
Web sites are like houses. Once you build them they still need maintenance and upkeep. There comes a time when certain systems become obsolete and have to be replaced.
#9 User Functionality Needed
Another reason a business will overhaul their web site is if additional user functionality is needed. If your web site is currently on an up-to-date CMS like Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress, you don’t necessarily need to redo the whole site. That individual functionality can usually be added.
However, if your site is one of those drag-and-drop, DIY web site builders, the site is probably going to have to be rebuilt from the ground up to get the features you want.
#10 Need a Mobile Friendly Site
As I mentioned in my article last week on mobile web site options, having a mobile friendly web site is increasingly important. Studies have shown that between 301 and 502 percent of all internet traffic is through mobile apps.
If your site is older than three year, the odds are the layout is not optimized for mobile.
Does your web site need an overhaul? Contact us.
- Greg Sterling. Mobile Devices: 30 Percent of Traffic, 15 Percent of Sales. Marketing Land. 28-2-2014. Accessed 12-8-2014. http://marketingland.com/mobile-devices-generate-30-pct-traffic-15-pct-e-sales-75498 [↩]
- James O’Toole. Mobile Apps Overtake PC Internet usage in U.S. CNN Money. 28-2-2014. 12-8-2014. http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet/ [↩]