Whether it’s your car’s transmission, your PC’s speed or the romance in a relationship — when something peters out, there are always warning signs before the big blowup occurs. If you want to salvage things, you need to pay attention to those warning signs and then take action. What’s more, successful intervention often requires a professional touch — a marriage counsellor’s advice to save your relationship, a visit with a certified technician for your PC or a trip to the mechanic for your car.
Those same principles can apply to your company website. When warning signs tell you your site is no longer working as well as it could, having it refreshed by a professional could prevent a decline in traffic.
Websites are like billboards, broadcasting your presence along the information superhighway. As a small business owner, you need your website to work well without costing you a bundle. So you might be tempted to cut costs in your website design or redesign by doing the job yourself.
You would never dream of buying a billboard on the busiest interstate in town and then climbing up there to hang your sign yourself. Nor would you hire just anyone to do the job for you. So why wouldn’t you pursue professional help when it’s time to redesign your website?
Instead of DIY, DIFM — do-it-for-me — can be a more cost-effective way to build a website that gets better results. There are multiple advantages to choosing a DIFM service, including:
How do you know it’s time to DIFM your website? Here are 12 signs it’s time to think about giving your website a professional refresh:
Outdated information on your website can lead new and existing customers astray, thinking you’re located where you’re not, you offer more or less than what you do, or that you’re not open when you are. Plus, outdated information sends negative subliminal messages such as “I just don’t care” or, worse, “I’m so busy that I don’t need to try to get your business by having a functional website.”
The complex computer codes that make up your website don’t just sit there. When you make changes to website content, the code changes, too. Breakdowns can cause a site to move slowly, glitch or (most horrifying of all) crash a visitor’s computer. If portions of your site no longer work as intended, it’s time to look at a refresh.
Even worse than outdated information on your website is an outdated persona. Businesses and brand identities evolve over time and your website should keep pace. Whether your brand has undergone a complete overhaul or experienced a sea change over the years, your website should reflect your current identity — not who you were at the time the site first went live.
Social media use is huge and ever growing; Pew reports 65 percent of American adults use social media. Worldwide, more than 2.3 billion people are on social media, We Are Social reports. Your website needs to have social media components and interact well with existing social media platforms. You need a shareable blog with links to popular social media so readers can click and share easily. Your website needs to make it easy for users to move between social media platforms and your site. If it doesn’t do those things, if it’s static and anti-social, it’s time for a refresh.
Multiple studies show that website design heavily influences more than just how a visitor perceives the attractiveness and usability of a website; it reflects on your brand, too. If your design is difficult to understand, visually unappealing or simply “old school,” incorporating more current design trends and elements into a refresh can breathe new life into how visitors perceive your brand.
More people than ever are accessing the internet, interacting with social media, making purchases and payments, looking up products and services, finding businesses, and interacting with brands via mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it can be difficult for users to find it in searches conducted through a mobile device. What’s more, it can be impossible for them to use the site if they do land on it and can’t read it because it doesn’t adapt for a smaller screen.
It can be difficult to know the finer points of what search engines look at when they rank web pages in response to user searches. However, one point is crystal clear: search engines reward quality content. If you’ve been seeing your rankings decline, it may be an indication that the search engines no longer view your website as quality. Dated design and content can contribute to lower rankings, so refreshing your website could help improve your search engine ranking.
A decline in traffic to your site could mean it’s no longer as attractive to users as it once was. Taking steps to liven things up could make a big difference for your website traffic.
Of course, getting people to your website is only part of a website’s overall success. Once visitors arrive, you want them to stay for a while and take action. If people are finding your page and visiting it, but leaving quickly or departing without taking your desired action (making a purchase, signing up for your email list and so forth), it may be a sign your website isn’t functioning the way you want it to.
In the early days of website architecture, you pretty much needed a supercomputer and an advanced programming degree to make changes. Of course, only professionals had those things, and paying a professional to design and maintain your site was costly. In 2016, updating your site is much easier and cost-effective. If making minor changes to yours is still a painful and expensive process, it’s time to look into better, more modern options for website design, operation, hosting and maintenance.
Hopefully, as a business operator who is savvy with digital marketing, you’re looking at your competition’s websites on a regular basis. If theirs look, work and convert better than yours, it’s time to refresh your website into something that will be able to really compete.
Plenty of studies shows that when people land on a website, they want to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If your site requires users to go through multiple pages or close repeated pop-up prompts before they get to what they want, it’s not functioning as well as it should. Navigation should be fast and intuitive, leading visitors smoothly from your landing page to the individual areas within the site that are of interest to them.
Sometimes, things that start out well go awry for reasons beyond your control. Other times, initial poor choices lead to the slow (or speed) demise of something you hoped would be good: you bought that costly sports car because you loved the way you look in it, despite the fact that its consumer reviews all said steer clear. The need for a website overhaul can stem from initial poor decisions, too.
If you design the website yourself or hire a “professional” with dubious credentials (e.g., your brother-in-law or the college kid across the street) to do the job, you’ve got a higher chance of needing a thorough redesign sooner. Instead, going with a “do-it-for-me” website design provider can help ensure all the signs you see will be pointing toward website success, rather than impending trouble.