Technology is constantly changing and evolving, and so is the way we as a society utilize it. Take social media, for example. When it first appeared, it was used entirely differently than it is now. MySpace wore the crown and was designed to allow users to show off a more personalized profile. It was also heavily ingrained in media and music. Then came Facebook, which was originally developed to connect college and school-age communities. It has since expanded to be the titan of industry it is now.
Mobile devices have also evolved and are capable of so much more, as are websites.
It makes sense, then, to regularly update your online and digital presence to keep up with the changing times, not the least of which involves your website. This ensures you’re providing the best experience to your customers and audience, but also that you remain competitive in the market. In fact, as a foundational element of any business, your website should be an absolute priority when it comes to keeping up with modern times.
How do you know when it’s time to update your website? When should you kickstart a redesign? Here are some signs that will help you determine whether or not your site needs an overhaul.
Whether you know it or not, it’s fairly easy to discern how dated your site looks — just poke around some other sites. Take a look at some of your competitors’ content and compare it to what you’re offering.
If your site design looks blocky or retro — without you trying to make it so — then it’s time to spring for a visual upgrade. Sites that look like a relic from the ’90s are incredibly offputting and frustrating to browse.
You Don’t Have a Mobile-Friendly Version or Responsive Design
Mobile traffic has far surpassed desktop, and it’s been that way a few years now. It also happens to be one of the biggest IT trends for the year ahead.
Knowing this, it’s rather obvious you need a mobile-friendly website. In the early days, that meant creating two separate versions of a site: one for mobile and another for desktop. That’s no longer necessary today. In fact, it’s not even recommended.
The better option is to adopt responsive design techniques. What this means is that the site, on-page elements and certain content automatically adapts to the size and resolution of the device users are browsing on. Many platforms incorporate support for this natively such as WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace and more.
It’s Been a Long Time
When exactly is the last time you updated your website? Have you hired or promoted new staff? Have you moved to a new location or opened another facility? Have you launched any fresh products or services?
If it’s been a long time since you last updated, then it’s likely there have been at least a few changes worth mentioning on your site. Maybe you’ve won some awards since your site was last edited? Maybe you’re chasing an entirely new demographic?
Whatever the case, simply look at the length of time since your site’s last update or redesign. The longer it’s been, the more likely you need to make a few changes.
It’s Difficult to Update Your Site or Add Content
Every site requires regular content — from news and press releases to product information. If you find it difficult to add new copy to your site, upload images or even change existing text, then it’s definitely time for an upgrade. Editing and adding new content should be easy, quick and relatively painless.
Many platforms make this process easier than ever. One of the most pertinent is a CMS or content management system — WordPress and Drupal are great examples.
Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate
The bounce rate of a website or portal reflects user sentiment, particularly when they don’t want to bother navigating or browsing content. There are many reasons why people would leave a site. Maybe the experience was too dull or aggravating, they could not find what they were looking for or they just landed on the wrong website.
A/B testing and user heatmaps can reveal a lot, like what people are doing when they visit your site. Combined with bounce rates, you can use the collective information to understand what’s wrong and what needs to be changed.
SERP and SEO Rankings Are Down
At this point, you’ve probably had it drilled into your head just how important SEO, or search engine ranking, really is. It’s what determines the visibility and exposure of your site in search results, and you want a high ranking.
Outdated and poorly designed sites, especially those with terrible loading times, tend to be listed much lower in search results. This leads to fewer visitors, less opportunities when it comes to converting new customers and nearly invisible local search listings. That can make or break a small business.
It may be worth a redesign or upgrade, simply to improve your SEO ranking.
The Site Lacks Social Connections
You may or may not have social elements incorporated into your site. If you don’t, then it’s time to upgrade.
Facebook is one of the most popular advertising platforms for modern business, with Twitter, Instagram and several others following close behind. If you’re not visible on these platforms and you don’t have connections to your main portals, then you’re missing out big-time. People love to share images, content and even products they find interesting on social media. Make sure you make it easy for them to do so.
You should also include your social account links on your site so people can easily find you. Furthermore, it’s always good to have a certain amount of social engagement on your site, as well. You can include a live Twitter feed in a sidebar or have a widget that shows your latest Facebook posts.
Site Security Is Outdated
Cybersecurity attacks are much more sophisticated, and the threats to your business and customer data are more numerous. The older your site, the more vulnerable it generally is. Many loopholes, security vulnerabilities and outdated tools likely exist — if they haven’t already been utilized by unscrupulous parties.
You need to order a security audit to find out what problems exist.
Your Business Has Grown or Become More Successful
If your business has either grown in size or become much more successful since you last updated your site, it’s time for an upgrade. There’s a common misconception that once you reach a certain point, there’s no longer any need to improve your site or maintain your digital presence. The exact opposite is true. The more successful you are, the more important your website and online presence is.
Your website, in particular, is what your growing customer base will use to interact with your brand, communicate and learn about products. If the site experience is subpar, you’re going to lose customers. Keep that site updated no matter how great your business is doing.
Do You Need to Redesign Your Site?
If any of these points resonated with you, then it’s about time you invested in a site redesign. These days, a brand’s online presence, as well as its website, are influential on customer sentiment and experiences. If your site is subpar, your customers are not going to be happy.
This article is a guest post written by Lexie Lu
Lexie Lu is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media and branding. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog, watching HGTV and baking. Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.