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Why Your Website Needs a Makeover
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Have you ever encountered one of those women who’s still rocking her hairstyle from the 80s? Well, that’s how your business looks if it’s been more than a couple of years since your website had a makeover. The internet moves much faster even than fast fashion, so you can end up looking like a fossil in less time than Toni Basil’s entire musical career.
A dated website will not only make you look bad, but it’s also going to quit working for you faster than you can say “search engine algorithm.” For one, the internet (and its algorithms) is constantly changing, and if you don’t keep up, it will affect your site goals (e.g., organic traffic). Plus, the longer it’s been since a complete overhaul, the more likely something is going to breakdown, such as a plugin its developer has stopped updating.
So how do you know when your website needs a makeover?
How Often Does My Website Need a Makeover?
Okay, in an effort to not bury the lead – as they say in journalism – your website needs a makeover every 2-3 years, at a minimum. All other things being equal, 2-3 years is a good rule of thumb, as it ensures you’re keeping up with both technology and design trends, without going crazy and confusing your visitors with a constantly-changing look.
However, the amount of time that’s passed since your site underwent an overhaul isn’t the only thing to consider. Plus, there are some “mini-makeovers” your website needs on at least an annual basis, even when everything else on your site works properly and looks appealing.
Guidelines for Redesign
We’re not just saying this to drum up more work for ourselves (we swear!), but there are plenty of reasons why your business website may need a makeover right now, even if it hasn’t been that long since its last one. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if a website makeover is in order.
Is My Website Working for Me?
If you hired an employee who underperforming, you’d do something about it. You’d identify the problem and intervene in an appropriate manner. The same should be true of your website. It’s not there to be a pretty face. It should work – hard – for you and your business.
So, give your website a performance review. Is it meeting its goal(s)? (And if you don’t know what your goals are, you need to do some homework!) Just like for an employee (i.e., a human) performance review, you must base your assessment on facts. So, let your metrics be your guide.
- Is the site attracting enough organic traffic?
- Have your monthly website visits been declining?
- Are you hitting your target conversion rate?
- Is it driving your bottom line?
Is My Website Working, Period?
Businesses hire employees to do the work needing to be done to make money for the company. If the work didn’t need to be done, the company wouldn’t have invested in the people. The same should be true of your website: You built it to work for you. And if an employee were simply not working, the company would replace him or her. Again, the same should be true for your site – “replace” it.
Here are some ways your website can be not working:
- Slow webpage load times aren’t working because….
- Visitors “bounce.” When people have to wait for a page to load, they hit the back arrow and pick another option from the search result page. Opportunity: Lost.
- Slow load times negatively affect your SEO ranking. When your SEO ranking drops, so does the number of people that find and visit your site.
- Multiple “404” error codes aren’t working because….
- Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for on your website. A 404 code indicates that you have a broken link on your website. That is, the link the visitor clicked used to go somewhere, but you changed something on your site (e.g., removed content that was out of date). You might still have what they’re looking for on your site, but just like traveling in New England, you can’t get there from here.
- Viruses aren’t working because….
- Well, this one should be obvious. But among other things, viruses not only put your site’s security at risk, they kind of give you a bad rap.
- Plus, search engines “know,” warn visitors when something is infected, and lower your website’s rankings. It can even result in a search engine blacklisting your website!
- Your website crashing isn’t working because….
- Again: Obvi. If your site isn’t up and running, people can find you, which means they can’t do business with you.
If your website is not working in any of these ways, your website definitely needs a makeover. Web developers have lots of tools at their fingertips to fix these issues. There are plugins for fixing broken links, up-to-the-minute anti-virus options, and other security measures to fight off hackers and viruses.
Now, if you think that any of these issues aren’t that big of a deal because your site looks really good, it’s kind of like driving around in a luxury car with the engine light on. You might look super-cool, but you’re not going to get very far. It’s time to take it in for some work.
Is My Website Appealing and Attractive?
Okay, imagine you have no technical or security issues, and you’ve optimized your site for search engines within an inch of its life. Users searching for businesses like yours definitely find you when they search. But then what do they see when they land on your home page?
- Does it look dated or on-trend compared to other websites – especially your competitors’?
- Does it look disorganized and cluttered or focused and clean?
- Is it disorganized? That is, can users easily navigate to where they want to go on your site?
- Is it just plain unattractive or is it visually appealing?
No matter how amazing your product or service is, first impressions count with site visitors. Having an old or bad aesthetic on your website would be like being a brilliant, highly-skilled, and super educated job applicant and showing up in sweatpants. It’ll be over before it starts.
Your website may need a makeover if it isn’t visually appealing or even if it’s simply not comparable to others in your industry. (By which we don’t mean “the same” – just of similar look and quality.) Giving your ugly duckling of a website a makeover can change visitors’ perceptions of your business. Make sure you look like Audi A8 of your industry and not the Dodge Dart.
Do You Now Know If Your Website Needs a Makeover?
After reading the above, are you clear on whether or not your website needs a makeover right now? If not – and at least annually, hereafter – make the following assessments and “mini makeovers.”
- Update the copyright in the footer. Is yours still dated for last year?
- Look at your metrics, including Google Analytics. Know how your numbers are trending and how visitors are finding you.
- Examine any changes in the market or your audience. Have there been any new trends you should respond to in your content? Your Google Analytics will tell you what user searches led to your site, but do you know what else people are searching for and not finding you? Update your messaging and content accordingly.
- Audit your messaging and branding for any changes that have taken place in your business. (Especially, ahem, if a world-wide crisis had an impact on how you do business.) Make revisions so that your site more accurately aligns with what your business is all about right now.
- Look for content that’s out of date. Update anything that’s no longer accurate or relevant. (But don’t delete the pages! Remember that’s what can lead to 404 errors.) For example, if a digital marketing agency had published an article about Facebook’s algorithm two years ago (or two months ago, depending on timing), the information is likely now out of date.
- Investigate your top 3 competitors. Does your website look on par with theirs, or are they edging ahead or your business website in some way?
Remember: It’s Your Investment
This may seem like a lot, but – as we’ve established – your website needs to work for you. Sticking with the comparison to an employee, companies don’t hire someone and then just forget about them. Companies invest in people, with on on-the-job training, cross-training, professional development courses, and so on. Later, when a new hire is no longer new and has mastered their day-to-day responsibilities, they’re given new opportunities and tools to improve their performance.
The same should be true for your website: Get it to work for you.
At the End of the Day
So, does your website need a makeover? Or do you just need to work through the “mini-makeover” questions and tasks?
If you are unsure, we can help point you in the right direction. We offer a free website audit report that will help you find answers to many of the questions above. Just complete the form below, and we’ll perform the website checks and send you a PDF report!