My business website at www.imarketsb.com is in dire need of a re-design. But like I’ve discovered in many other professions, say mechanics, they’re just too busy fixing other people’s car problems to work on their own. This last iteration of my website was done in early 2011 – a very long time in web years. Since that time, my skills have improved and web technology has evolved. I’m aware that an improved website can get me more business so I’ve blocked out some time to get it done in the next couple months.
A nice-looking, professionally-designed website builds trust in the minds of potential customers who visit your website. If you’re on the fence about whether your own business website needs a re-design or not, this article aims to clear it up for you. We’ll talk about some of the signs that it may be time.
1. Your website just looks dated.
Sometimes you visit a website and it just looks like it was built years ago and there’s been nothing done to improve it. You might even be able to tell by looking at the copyright information in the website’s footer that might display a year sometime before three years ago. Newer designs are about removing clutter, clean designs and making navigation easy.
What’s even worse? Your main competitors have upgraded their own websites and have left yours in the shade.
2. It does not work well on mobile devices.
For a number of years now, smart phone and tablet usage have been growing, even faster than desktop computer use. Do you know how your old website looks on them? It probably looks terrible, with visitors having to zoom in and side-scroll to view your website content. Modern websites are built to be easily viewed across devices of all screen-sizes by using a technique known as Responsive Web Design where the website simply adjusts itself to the size of the screen. The visitor would scroll downward to view content with no zooming or side-scrolling necessary.
Check your present website analytics to get an idea of what percentage of your visitors are from mobile devices and what size devices. As an example using my own website tntvenues.com, from the website visitor data during the first three months of this year, I can see that almost a third of website visitors came from mobile devices and that tablet users had the lowest bounce rate and stayed the longest on the site. They’re able to do this because tntvenues.com is built with a responsive web design that makes it easy to view on a smaller screen like a smart phone.
3. No business leads come from your website.
What percentage of your new business leads come from your website? How many website visitors convert into business leads by calling, emailing or otherwise giving you their contact information? If the answers to these two questions are “very little”, this is an indication that your website is in dire need of an upgrade.
Visitors to your website may not find your present website to be useful or easy to find information so they leave quickly and go to other websites that contain the information they need to make buying decisions. What it comes down to is that your website isn’t getting you the results you want.
4. Your business has changed.
Your products and services may have changed since you last designed your website. You might no longer be carrying some products or have added services which are not reflected in your present website. You could have also changed logos, brand colors or your tag line. Senior employees who were listed on the website could have moved on.
Whatever may have changed in your business, your website took a back seat while everything else was going on: new business cards, brochures, radio ads. I’ve seen it happen where the business owner leaves it for last. Don’t let this be you.
5. You can’t update your own website.
Do you have a business website that you can’t update yourself and need the web designer to do it for you? They probably sold it as a cheaper option and you went with it thinking you’ll save on cost. In the end, it turned out that every time you needed to make a change, you had to pay to do so and it added up.
Modern websites are built with a Content Management System (CMS) that allow users to easily update them. No matter which one is used – WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or another – the web designer should be building you a website that you can add or change content, new pages, images, video, links and menu items.
6. You get few visitors and leads from search engines.
Potential customers should be able to find your website when they use Google to research providers for products and services that you sell in your region. If your business is not receiving visitors and leads from search engines, this is an indication that you need to redesign your old site.
Your code may be done poorly and slowing down your website or you may be lacking in any serious content that a search engine can use to match against relevant search queries. Your web designer should be advising you on and implementing the basic search engine optimization techniques that can help you get more traffic from search engines.
Sometimes we think we can get by with our old websites and don’t want to spend the money to improve them. We still think of our websites as cost centers but a website that’s built right makes money for us and works as a 24/7 salesperson.
Have a look at your website analytics and see if there are any glaring problems like low time on site, no website leads and high bounce rates. These are signs that your website needs redesigning to serve your present business needs.
Sherwin Ramnarine is a web designer and the owner of tntvenues.com, a website for finding venues for events in Trinidad & Tobago. Contact him at 656-5808 or [email protected] You can also download a free guide Profitable Business Websites at www.imarketsb.com/pbw