1. Improve Your Curb Appeal
When people visit your site, they see it as an echo of your business. If your site appearance is professional and has plenty of valuable information, readers will see you as an authority on the topic and will be more likely to trust you. Similarly, if the site is poorly designed, badly organized and/or out-of-date they’ll assume you do not have the expertise they need. Your website is the first opportunity you’ll have to build trust with your audience. For lack of better terms, it is your business ‘dating’ profile that determines whether customers choose to work with you, or swipe left and find someone with a better website.
Consider the content on your site. How old is it? Is it as relevant now as it was when you first added it to your site? In terms of visual appeal, does it reflect the type of business you do in a way that will attract your consumer?
2. Design with Mobile in Mind
Do you know how fast your website loads on every device? This question is crucial when considering a redesign. Google has made hundreds of changes in the last few years that have shifted the focus from desktop speed and appearance to mobile first indexing. If your website doesn’t load at lightning speed on a desktop, you can bet that your website performs even worse on a mobile device.
The advent of smart phones has made people even less patient with websites that do not load immediately. Before smart phones, marketing experts suggested you had approximately 8 seconds to gain the attention of your customer. If 7 seconds of that is taken up by load speed on desktop, your website is extremely slow.
With smartphones, you have even less time to gain the customer’s attention, by some estimates just 3 seconds. This change in the attention span of a buyer has expanded to desktop computers – if your site doesn’t load instantly, on all devices, you could be losing most of your customers before the page ever loads.
3. Make it Responsive, Make it Flexible
Another major issue with websites on mobile is how responsive the site is on a variety of screen sizes. A truly responsive website uses a range of techniques that allows a website to adapt to the screen size of the viewer. Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Consumers want to see the same site on mobile that they do on desktop, which is why many marketers working to redesign old sites take a “mobile first“ approach.
If you haven’t updated your website in a while you are likely driving your key audience right to your competitors
4. Use Up-to-Date Coding and Design Techniques
This one is a bit tricky, especially for the non-technical consumer. Your website uses a variety of coding to keep it running smoothly. However, just like plugins, your source code does need maintenance to keep it from crashing down around your ears.
Keeping your website up to date on all fronts is one of the best ways to make sure you do not receive penalties from Google that will reduce your site visibility. Additionally, using the latest coding standards improves the usability of the website for your consumers. If your website was built many years ago, chances are high that your site is out of date, doesn’t work well on mobile, and is in desperate need of some TLC to ensure your Google Ranking doesn’t drop.
5. Create Interesting, Relevant Content
First impressions are important and for a website, the first impression a visitor has after page speed and layout is how well you provide useful content for those searching for it. People come to your website with a need and you need to prove that you have what they need with the content you put up on your website.
Such important, relevant content needs to be very easy to find on your site. A site redesign to put the most important content first is a smart, strategic move that will help you maintain your visitors attention long enough for them to want to take the next steps with your business.
One mistake we see here is that although a client has a website with plenty of fresh content, much of the content put up is filler or fluff designed improve search ranking but is of little to no use to the target audience.
For example, if you run an Early Learning Center, you may want to keep your content focused on things that parents with young children would be interested in reading – like how to potty train a toddler or how to get a picky eater to try new foods. Your readers are unlikely to care about an off-topic article about hiring the right people.
So, while fresh, unique content is vital to improving your search ranking – relevant content is far more important and more beneficial to meeting your business goals.
6. Use Images that Complement Your Content
When building a website, especially on a CMS like Wix, Wordpress, and even in the Google and Godaddy site builders, it is vital to choose elements that align with the objectives of the website. This is especially true is photography and imagery used on the site. Many outdated website designs have an over-reliance on stock photos.
This is not to say that you should never use stock photos in your website design but rather an argument to use them judiciously and only if they add value to the look and feel of the website. Any imagery you choose for your site needs to reflect what you are trying to promote with the site. This holds true for every site, especially if you use imagery to capture the attention of your audience.
For example, if you run a business that specializes in placing personal service professionals in Florida with the people who would need a butler, maid, nanny, etc., the first thing you want consumers to see is images that reflect your service. You would want to avoid images that focus on the beauty of South Florida and instead use images that reflect your business.
Bottom line: whether you use stock images or professional pictures, the pictures you choose must match the message or it is useless, a decoration to the page that adds no value and can frustrate your prospective clients.
7. Make Sure Your Call-to-Action Encourages Action
Many older websites do not have effective calls-to-action (CTA) to convert visitors into customers. A CTA is more than simply a button on your website for consumers to click to contact you. An effective CTA combines content, subtle instruction on what you want the visitor to do, and enough content for the consumer to know why they should click the button and what will happen after they do.
You should have a clear CTA on every page in a position that attracts attention. It should stand out from the page content. It must be compelling enough to persuade your visitor to complete the desired action. As a matter of fact, many customers of FairBloom Marketing that come to us with the complaint that they are just not getting any return on their marketing spend are often missing this element, which leads them to believe the problem is with the paid advertising (it still can be – a misbehaving PPC account combined with a bad CTA pretty much guarantees that you will be losing potential customers).
8. If You Aren’t Measuring Results, you are Running Blind
This is another issue we see when a new client signs up with FairBloom Marketing. The customer is guessing how well their website and marketing campaigns are performing without any data to back it up. They see the high level – clients have stopped calling, stopped buying, new leads slow to a trickle, but they don’t know why because they have no data to measure performance.
One of the first things we set up for new clients if they don’t have one already are analytics tools like webmaster tools for major search engines, Google Analytics, call tracking, and even heat map software to see how people use your site. These tools, when examined together can tell you how your site is performing and why you may be losing customers.
If it isn’t measured, it can’t be analyzed or improved. Your marketing campaigns (including your website) may end up being about as effective at drawing new customers as a garden hose is at putting out a forest fire if you do not measure and analyze your website data.
9. Keeping up with the On-Site SEO Trends
Google is the leader in the world of digital marketing. Even if you focus on other search engines, the algorithms used are consistent across the board. If it’s been a while since you last updated your site, it’s also likely that you are using website SEO techniques that are also out-of-date.
By design, search engines seek out websites with the freshest, most relevant content for web users. You may think that your content is flawless and doesn’t need any changes, but, if your content hasn’t changed in years, crawlers are unlikely to agree, which can cost you precious points in the complex search engine ranking system. In fact, as your site drops in ranking you will see an equivalent drop in traffic. A decline of 1 point can mean a loss of 100 clicks or more to your site
In addition to changing up the content, a site redesign gives you the opportunity to rethink which keywords are most important to your business and have the highest chances of boosting traffic and conversion rates on your website. Improving your keyword strategy to target terms that have less competition can be that shot in the arm your site needs to bring in more relevant traffic without needing to complete with the big guys with gigantic budgets.
10. Look at Your Site Navigation Like a Customer
The usability of a website can be more important in the end than how it looks. The user experience or UX of your website combines the look and feel of your website with page speed, navigation, and how easy it is to find needed information. Poor UX can cost you customers and if it has been a while since you last updated your website, you may not be using the most effective tools to improve user experience.
11. Make it Fast – Then Make It Faster
Your website’s load speed can make the difference between people staying on your site and returning to your site or people leaving and never looking back. We use tools like YSlow, Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom to find out how fast your site is. If your score is not up to par, then we seek out the elements of your website slowing it down.
For example, elements like video and images can significantly increase your load speed. By employing tactics like lazy loading, compression, minification, content delivery networks, and page caching, you can significantly improve your website page speed.
12. Upgrading Your Site Keeps Hackers At Bay
A hacked website is every website owner’s worst nightmare, but many do not realize that their outdated website is to blame. Hackers love finding websites with out-of-date plugins and coding. To them, your outdated website has a giant sign announcing that you have vulnerabilities they can exploit. Although security flaws can appear on a site no matter the age, older websites are more likely to have security issues that leave you open to losing your entire website.
For example, if you are running a site on a shared server with coding from 2010 and plugins that haven’t been updated in years, your site is vulnerable. If the server programming language hasn’t been updated, your vulnerable website is now a doorway for hackers to march through to attack other websites that may not be fully up to date. Depending on what the hacker does once they find an entry point, you may end up losing your site completely. You may even cost other people their websites, too.
13. Update to Integrate
Our society is driven by technology. Many businesses use an array of software to run their businesses more efficiently. When you update your website, you can also integrate these tools into the fabric of your website. For example, you can connect a chat system that allows consumers to talk with a representative directly from the site. That chat system can be integrated into your customer relationship management software. You can also create a members area where customers can login to make payments, submit service requests, view progress of their project and more.
There is no limit to the number of systems you can integrate into your website back-end to help your business run smoother. A website redesign is the perfect time to examine new elements that you can add to the site to improve efficiency.
15. Make Your Website Work for You
Your website is the only thing that truly represents your business 24/7 and an old or outdated website can sink your business. The 12 points in this article highlight a few of the many reasons you should consider upgrading your site and the common signs you should look for to tell you if your site is outdated. Although there are many other signals that can tell you its time for an update, the appearance of one or more of the 12 signs in this article can be a strong indicator that your site may not be as fresh as you think.