I’ve been assisting clients for a number of years with website redesign work – either with aspects of their websites or complete website redesigns and have seen a wide range in reasons why they have considered, and gone ahead with, redesigning their websites.
As ever the reason for this 5 point guide is to be able to help you – as a small or medium sized business – assess whether you need to consider a full website redesign or whether you can get away with just making adjustments to your current website.
So – here are 5 of the top reasons to consider the redesign of your website:-
1. The design of your current website isn’t Mobile Friendly.
In 2014 for the first time ever the number of users accessing the internet from a mobile device – that is to say a tablet or smartphone – was larger than the number of users accessing the internet from a desktop or laptop computer. That trend is only going to increase.
Statistics show that of these mobile internet users, 40% of them will hit the back button as soon as they visit a website using their mobile device that doesn’t have a mobile friendly web design.
If your web design is not mobile friendly then it is a viable assumption that 20% of your potential visitors are leaving your website before they have even started to read your carefully crafted strapline.
What should you do?
If you have Google Analytics (or another analytical program) installed on your website then login right now and check to see how many more visitors to your website over the last 6 months were using a mobile device compared to the same period the previous year. I’m pretty sure it will have increased.
Now work out what 40% of that traffic is – and that is the number of potential customers that are not even bothering to look at your website, even though they have found it. If you can afford to leave them behind, then perhaps you don’t need to do anything. If you want to engage with them, think about a mobile friendly website redesign.
2. The design of your website lacks professionalism
When you last had your website designed you may have employed an inexperienced web designer, you may have had it done in-house by a (non-web) graphics team, you may have had a friend’s cousin do it, or you may have done it yourself.
Whoever did it for you, if in your opinion it doesn’t look professional then it isn’t serving your business very well. Unless of course your business isn’t very professional.
Examples of what makes a web design look unprofessional include ugly outdated graphics, cluttered content without any white-space, the lack of ‘call to action’ buttons, use of poor quality imagery / photos, inconsistent typography (using different colours, sizes and types of font), poor navigation and in-comprehensive structure.
As a part of your website’s sales funnel a well presented, professional website design is a very significant factor in turning a visitor into a customer or a lead. A good, professional website engenders trust in your brand.
What should you do?
To start with have a good look over your home page. Can you identify any areas of this very important landing page that immediately needs improvement? Check for the examples given above of what looks unprofessional (graphics, content, buttons, imagery, typography, navigation & structure) – if you can identify more than two of these then either you need to consider making some changes to your current website OR you need to think about a website redesign.
3. You have updated or changed your branding
Just because you have changed your branding it doesn’t mean you to have to redesign your website, however in most of the cases we have been involved in where a change of branding has occurred it is a natural part of that process that the website is redesigned alongside it.
A change of branding at its most basic includes a new logo. It also often includes either a drastic change in the associated colourways, some subtle changes to the old colourways or adding / refreshing an additional colour to the current set.
Often the font used in either the logo itself, the strapline or any other supporting branding is changed and if the change is more significant, sometimes the underlying ethos of the business is changed.
If a business has had some rebranding work carried out then often the content of the website needs consideration too – and in that case the navigation & structure will need attention – without doubt a redesign of the old website will need to be carried out in these cases.
What should you do?
If you have had your business brand redesigned and it is more than just a change to the logo then think carefully about how that will impact the underlying message that your website conveys, the navigation and structure of your website and the content within it. Think about whether the graphics and layout of your current website complement or detract from the new branding.
Whatever change has been made from the branding perspective there will need to be some work done to update the current website, more often than not this includes a full redesign.
4. You want to engage better with your website visitors
If you have fairly good traffic coming into your website but the visitors are just not engaging with your business then the content and usability may need looking at.
Examples of a lack of engagement include visitors not clicking through to internal pages, not downloading articles, guides or help files, not using your contact form, not emailing you and not picking up the phone.
A very rough acceptable ‘conversion rate’ (percentage of total website visitors engaging with you following a visit to your website) is somewhere in the region of 1.5% – 3% and to some varying degree of success you can use your website’s metrics to evaluate how your website is performing.
What should you do?
If your website visitors are not engaging with your website or your company then you can ask yourself a questions such as “Is the website easy to use – can visitors find the information they are looking for?”; “Are there obvious Call To Action buttons in visible places on the website?”; “Is the content broken down into easily digestible chunks of copy”; “Is it easy for the user to find out how to contact us?; etc.
If you think that your visitors are finding it hard to access the information you want them to see then you are breaking the first and most golden rule of web design… DO NOT MAKE THE USER HAVE TO THINK! If the user has to think more than they are willing to or able to, they will leave.
5. Your current website shows out-dated content and graphics
Out-dated content may be related specifically to the things like products and services that your business provides, the client base that you serve, the industry sector you work in and so on. It may also relate to the current ‘trend’ in graphical design – a website that was contemporary a few years ago may look and feel out-dated to today’s audience.
If these areas of your website are significantly out of date then it will affect the message you are giving your visitors – not just the way your website is perceived – an out-dated website decreases the level of trust your visitors have in your business.
If and when your visitors do approach you following visiting your website only to find that what you ACTUALLY now do is different to that on your website then it is fairly likely that they will turn to another provider of your goods and services.
What should you do?
Suffice to say, if your website has been left out in the cold for a while and the content and graphics are out dated then it probably makes sense to look at a redesign.
Have a good look over your website and consider whether the content is still relevant to your main business aims. Also compare your website to both other websites that you use that you enjoy and also those of your competitors to see how if compares.
If you have a strengthening feeling that your website is not portraying your business as you feel you deserve it to, then a website redesign would be a good consideration.