We run into a common misconception with our website clients -the idea that websites are “set it and forget it”. Websites need constant maintenance, plug-in updates, additional features, and aesthetic tweaks. Every once in a while, your website will need more. While timeframes vary among SMEs, most digital media experts believe that a new site or total site refresh is necessary every 2-5 years.
So, it’s time to refresh your website if…
Your target audience changed.
Did you release a new product or service that doesn’t align with your current target audience? Has the evolution of your industry opened up your target audience in some way? If so, then how the product or service is presented should change as well. Each type of user has specific expectations, so your website should rise to meet them. This could include:
- How your product or service is explained.
- The CTAs (Calls to Action) that grab the user’s attention.
- Considering how the user expects to be presented the new product or service.
- The overall design and functionality of the website.
Your branding or messaging has become inconsistent.
Is your brand still cohesive? Meaning, can the brand voice still be heard through the site? Are the brand colors and fonts still consistent with brand guidelines? Does the website still align with your mission? If not, maybe it’s time to look at a website refresh. As random updates are made to your site, probably by different people or companies through the years, your branding can become inconsistent, and each of those small inconsistencies dilute your brand.
is your website no longer consistent?
Your marketing goals changed.
We meet with each of our recurring clients on a quarterly basis for this very reason -marketing goals can change frequently. Whether you’re rolling out a new product or service, adding e-commerce functionality to your site, rebranding, or running a large campaign, you will require some major changes to the site. Not all changes will require a complete overhaul, but it is a good idea to check often to ensure your site is still meeting your marketing goals.
Your users are complaining.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, sometimes complaints can lead to small changes that will help improve the user experience. For example a common complaint might be “I cannot find the hours on your website”. This is a simple fix, we would just add the hours in a location on the website that can be easily found, and/or add the hours in multiple places on the site. But sometimes user complaints might not be as simple, and may require you to rethink your current website. Slow, broken, glitchy, and unsecure sites might require more of an investment to remedy.
Design trends change.
Design is ever-changing and some new trends can fade as fast as they came. It can be hard to know which design and user interface trends to invest in and which are just a flash in the pan. This makes it especially hard for business owners to know when it is time to pull the trigger on a new website. There isn’t a cut and dry answer, but there are experts you can turn to for advice. *cough, cough*
Your website looks untrustworthy.
Let’s start with the obvious “Your connection is not secure”, this is a red flag for users. If your site is not secure, it’s time to contact your web developer or marketing agency. If you don’t have one, we can help! Other notable reasons users might find your site untrustworthy are:
- The design quality is lacking.
- It’s not mobile-friendly.
- Your content is outdated.
- The copyright on the bottom is from 2013.
Your website has a bad foundation.
Is your website being held together by a band-aid? There are many factors that can constitute for a bad foundation, but here are the most common:
- Your website is not optimized for SEO. Users expect a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds…yes 2 seconds! What happens when it doesn’t load in 2 seconds? The user leaves and goes on to the next site.
- Your website is not responsive. Google is cracking down on this, so it’s important to make sure your site checks out for mobile. You can check yourself on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Your website is difficult to use. You may have heard that users expect to find what they need in less than 3 clicks…well it’s true and Google agrees!
Your competitors are doing it better.
Obviously you do not need to redesign your website every time your competitor does. However, it is a good practice to visit your competitors’ sites often. Make note of what you like, what you don’t like, and how you believe this impacts the audience you’re competing for.
So, what does all of this mean? A beautifully designed website without the right functionality is just a beautiful website that won’t convert. A website with robust functionality that no one knows how to navigate is just as bad. There are many factors to consider in the matter, and we’re familiar with all of them. We have put together a simple checklist that will help you determine if you are ready for a refresh. If you still aren’t sure, give us a call or shoot us an email and we will be happy to help!