If Your Site Is Old, Out Dated, Or Broken, What Should You Do?
Your website is not a pair of bell-bottomed jeans. If you wait long enough it is not going to become ‘vintage’ and cool again. But that doesn’t mean that you have to start all over again and develop a whole new site. Much of the copy, images, and multimedia currently on your site may still be the content you really want to share. You might just need a website redesign and/or rebuild to have a modern site that leverages the best of contemporary styles and functions.
In an era where more people are using mobile devices than PCs to search online, a website can quickly become more of a hindrance than an asset for your business if it’s not up-to- date. If you run a small-to- medium-sized business, you may not be fully aware of important advancements in website design that might benefit your marketing, workflow, customer satisfaction, and bottom line. While some tweaks to your site here and there may help, there comes a time when it makes more sense to opt for a website rebuild from a web design company that stays on top of trends and technology. While partnering with a web redesign company is an investment, it’s one that could pay off big time for your business when you consider the long-term value of having a full-functioning website that’s welcoming to online searchers.
Does Your Website Need Attention?
Not sure if a web redesign and rebuild is worth the time, effort, or money? Take a moment to think about whether or not your website is really helping your business. If you haven’t done so already, write down or review the goals you have for your website – such as increasing leads and conversions, educating prospects, or appealing to a more specific niche. Then dive into your metrics (statistics about your website and online interactions) to see how your site is currently performing in these areas.
A good place to get all the stats you’ll need is with Google Analytics, a metrics tool that displays your stats in easily accessible reports. You’ll get an assortment of data about everything from where your online traffic is coming from to how long people are staying on your site and what actions they’re taking while visiting. Additional factors to consider:
Are your scripting languages still widely supported?
How up-to- date is your code and is it compliant with today’s browsers?
What content management system (CMS) are you using (or do you actually have one)?
How well do you understand the goals and motivations of your intended users?
How user-friendly are your existing site and its content?(Is it clear to visitors what action(s) you want them to take? Are your calls-to- action buried? Is your content easily digestible?)
Redesign vs. Rebuild: What&’s Involved with Each Option?
Basically, a redesign is an update of your site’s basic design and layout. A rebuild, on the other hand, involves getting down to more fundamental changes and the underlying code. However, realize that a redesign isn’t cosmetic. Many older websites have had ”cosmetic touch-ups” the years where new code is added on top of existing code in an attempt to stay current with trends. What this really does is clutter up a website with a bunch of redundant and unused code, referred to as ”dead code”. Properly updating or rebuilding a website may involve:
So, Which Option Is Right for Your Business?
There is no ”right” choice when it comes to a website rebuild or redesign. The process of redesigning a website might involve a series of small rebuilds to add functions or correct issues with code. And it doesn’t have to be one or the other. For instance, if you have a larger website with multiple landing pages it may be easier to do smaller updates as part of an ongoing process to keep your website fresh.
If your website is no longer meeting your goals and your conversions have been steadily falling off, a rebuild can be a smart move. Or you may find that you’ll benefit from strategic redesigns that work better for you based on your budget and timetable. Regardless of the option that’s right for your business, keep the user experience in mind for anyone who visits your site. Consider these benefits of redesigns and rebuilds when making your decision:
• A redesign can be a cost-effective way to make your website more visually appealing and functional
• A rebuild is a better way to deal with underlying functional issues that may be affecting your website’s performance
• A redesign makes more sense if you are only unhappy with the basic look of your site but everything else is functioning well enough to meet your goals
• A rebuild may serve you better if it’s becoming increasingly difficult and
time-consuming to add new content to your site or you’re having frequent usability issues
• A rebuild may serve you better if it’s becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to add new content to your site or you’re having frequent usability issues
Are You Paying Attention to How SEO Affects Your Website?
If you’ve been in business for a while and you developed a website a significant time ago, be aware that your site may be built using out-dated ideas about what search engines (like Google) like and reward. Many changes and refinements have been made to search algorithms and how search engines rank pages. Things like simple keyword volume or alt-tags don’t produce the results they used to and can sometimes even have a effect on your SEO.
If your site isn’t making it easy for a searcher to do things like navigate to other pages or find the information they need to make a decision or take the desired action, Google will notice. Today, SEO is all about the user experience online.
One major example is Google’s shift to mobile-first, which means you’ll definitely want to pay attention to how responsive your site if you want to maintain your online visibility. Google now considers how a website appears to mobile visitors when determining rankings. While it’s not known how significant a factor this is or will be with overall online placement, it’s something to consider, especially if you have a site that was created before mobile was really a big deal. Your website may not be all that mobile- friendly if you’re not paying attention to:
• How your website content appears on smaller screens
• Whether or not navigation features are easy to find and use
• Your use of HTML, video, and images (too much of any of this stuff slows page load time, especially on mobile devices)
• Page load time (anything under 5 seconds is considered ”slow” these days)
Have You Explored CMS Website Platforms?
Nearly 70 million websites around the world run because of WordPress. The popular open source website creation tool makes it easy for small businesses to create modern, convenient, and high-functioning sites – and you don’t need to be especially adept at website design to create something effective. Plus, there are nearly thirty-thousand WordPress themes available, so you definitely have plenty of opportunities to customize your site. Ghost is a similar platform that offers some appealing free features.
Should you want something other than a do-it- yourself site as an update for your existing website, a versatile web design company will offer multiple options specific to your needs and budget. For instance, a web redesign may be all your site requires to adapt to current search habits and SEO standards. Other times, it makes more sense to dig deeper with a website rebuild. Because of the many options available with website design and redesign, you may be surprised at how well such an investment can fit into your budget. Any reputable website design company will take the time to present options specific to your online business goals and priorities.