It has been well-documented fact that a visitor will decide whether they will do business with a company within the first 21 seconds of visiting the company’s website.
What do your visitors perceive about your business when they visit your website for the first time?
1. The information on it is old or outdated.
Outdated information on your website can turn new and existing customers away, think you’re located where you’re actually not, you offer more or less than what you do, or that you’re not open when you are. Additionally, the outdated information on your site can (and will) send negative messaging such as “I just don’t care” or, worse, “I’m so busy that I don’t need to try to get your business by having a functional website.
2. Parts of it just don’t work correctly anymore.
The complex computer codes that make up your website don’t just sit there in the same order or configuration . When you make changes to website content, the code changes, too. Breakdowns can cause a site to move slowly, glitch or (most horrifying of all) crash a visitor’s computer. If portions of your site no longer work as intended, it’s time to look at a refresh.
3. Your brand has “evolved” since your website first launched.
Even worse than outdated information on your website is an outdated persona. Businesses and brand identities evolve over time and your website should keep pace. Whether your brand has undergone a complete overhaul or experienced a sea change over the years, your website should reflect your current identity — not who you were at the time the site first went live.
4. Your website lacks a social media presence.
Social media use is huge and ever growing; 65 percent of American adults use social media. Worldwide, more than 2.3 billion people are on social media. It’s a must-have for your website to have social media components, as well as interact well with established social media platforms. Your website needs to make it easy for users to move between social media platforms and your site. If it doesn’t do those things, if it’s static and anti-social (and nobody really likes anything anti-social), it’s time for a refresh.
5. The design is outdated and ugly (#sorrynotsorry).
Someone had to be the one tell you… Your website is ugly.
Multiple studies show that website design heavily influences more than just how a visitor perceives the attractiveness and usability of a website; and it reflects highly on your brand, too. If your design is poorly laid out, visually unappealing or just simply “old school”, incorporating updated and current design elements into a website refresh can breathe new life into how visitors perceive your business and your brand.
6. It’s not mobile-friendly (Really?! Come on… it’s time)
This is not a new thing: We do everything on our phones. Literally EVERYTHING.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it can be difficult for users to find it in searches conducted through a mobile device. It can make it impossible for users to use your site if they do land on it and can’t read it because it doesn’t adapt for a smaller screen. Another (very) important note: As of 2015, search engines actually penalize websites that are not mobile friendly, demoting site ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engines such as Google look to provide users with the most optimal and relevant content when they are searching, so if your site isn’t mobile friendly, Google says you won’t turn up in their search. Which leads to the next two points:
7. You’ve been slipping in search engine rankings.
It can be difficult to know the finer points of what search engines look at when they rank webpages in response to user searches. However, one point is crystal clear: search engines reward quality content. If you’ve been seeing your rankings decline, it may be an indication that the search engines no longer view your website as quality. Dated design, old content and mobile compatibility can contribute to lower search rankings, so refreshing your website could (will) help to improve your search engine ranking.
8. User traffic has been declining.
A decline in traffic to your site could mean it’s no longer as attractive to users as it once was. Taking steps to liven things up could make a big difference for your website traffic.
9. Visitors are moving on very quickly.
Of course, getting people to your website is only part of a website’s overall success. Once visitors arrive, you want them to stay for a while and then take action. If people are finding your page and visiting it, but leaving quickly or leaving without taking your desired action (making a purchase, signing up for your email list and so forth), it may be a sign your website isn’t as “nice” as you think it is. Optimizing your site for visitor conversion should always be the number one goal; conversions = $$$.
10. Updating your current site is a painful and costly experience.
In the early days of website development, you pretty much needed a supercomputer and an advance programming degree to make changes. Of course, back then, only professionals had the expertise to make the changes for site owners, and paying a professional to design and maintain your site was relatively costly. Today, updating your site is much easier and cost-effective. If making minor changes to yours is still a painful and expensive process, it’s time to look into better, more modern options for your website design, operation, hosting and maintenance.
11. Your competitor is doing a better job than you.
Hopefully, as a business operator who is savvy with digital marketing, you’re looking at your competition’s websites on a regular basis. If theirs look, work and convert better than yours, it’s time to refresh your website into something that will be able to really compete.
12. Guests need a map to navigate your site.
According to a 2017 study, the average person has the attention span of eight seconds. If you aren’t getting users what they are looking for in those 8 seconds, POOF– They are gone. Bye, bye.
These studies show that when people land on a website, they want to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If your site requires users to go through multiple pages or close repeated pop-up prompts before they get to what they want, it’s not performing as well as it should. Navigation should be fast and intuitive, leading visitors smoothly from your landing page to the individual areas within the site that are of interest to them.
A final word about warning signs and solutions
Sometimes, things that start out well can go awry for reasons beyond your control. Other times, initial poor choices lead to the slow (or speedy) demise of something you hoped would be good: you bought that costly sports car because you loved the way you look in it, despite the fact that its consumer reviews all said NO WAY. Just like that, the need for a website overhaul can also stem from initial poor decisions, too.
If you design the website yourself, or hire a “professional” with dubious credentials (e.g., your brother-in-law or the college kid across the street) to do the job, you’ve got a higher chance of needing a thorough redesign sooner. Be smart and cost-effective. Going with an established website design professional can help ensure all the signs you see will be pointing toward website success, rather than impending trouble. You’ve been warned.