When deciding if your website is in need of an update, you want to evaluate the current challenges happening on the site, as well as think about whether it is an effective representation of your business. You have to remember that the most crucial component of a digital marketing campaign is your website. You can strategize new social and Google adwords campaigns to drive in new traffic, but if visitors are not satisfied with what your website provides them and how you present content, they won’t be stopping back anytime soon. We developed some criteria to help you evaluate your current site and decide if it’s time to make some changes to it in 2019.
10. Bounce Rate:
Bounce rate is a good indication of how your visitors feel when they come to your site and if they are really engaging with your content. Bounce rate can be high for a few different reasons, such as complicated menus, an outdated design layout, or poor performance. If you are monitoring analytics on your website and notice an increase in your site’s bounce rate, this might be a good time to evaluate what updates you should put in place this year. In addition to bounce rate data, overall loss of website traffic on a month-to-month basis is another indication that your site could use a visual refresh to better engage people. Redesigning any top pages that have recently experienced a loss in traffic is a good starting point if you don’t currently have the budget for a full design overhaul.
9. Poor performance:
Performance is an important aspect of a business website, yet it is often a factor that goes unnoticed. The ideal load speed for all pages of your site is two seconds. One major reason for this is because many individuals are using mobile devices to browse the web and want to access content quickly. A slow loading website will often create a feeling that the website is outdated or not worth their time to try to navigate. A slow site will also negatively impact your search rankings. If you find that your site is loading slowly, it may be time to reevaluate your hosting and optimize some of the larger images or content that might be slowing things down.
8. Complicated Navigational Menu:
If your current navigational menu is posing challenges for your users, this is another good reason to consider making updates to your website design. Website navigation affects both your traffic and search rankings. If your navigation makes it easy for search engines to identify the types of content available on your site, your rankings will be higher and you will be able to direct more traffic. Navigation also has an impact on website conversion rate. A site that is easy to use will often result in more business leads and customers. If your audience is having difficulty finding information, they often will leave and go to a competitors website instead. Some indications of this problem are a high bounce rate or low traffic on certain pages that provide valuable information. You can also test certain pages or have an evaluation done by a third party to understand if your navigational menu is too complicated. A good navigational menu will consist of very descriptive headings that relate specifically to your business and content. If your headings are not descriptive enough, you run the risk of your audience missing important news or content. Descriptive headings will also make it easy for your audience to understand exactly what your business does. Incorporating subheadings that utilize a dropdown feature is a good way to further organize the content available on your site. However, you don’t want to incorporate too many dropdowns as it may cause visitors to miss important pages.
7. Doesn’t tell your brand’s story:
In order to have an impact on today’s audience, your brand image must be engaging to them. A brand that comes off as outdated will negatively impact your business by leading your audience into thinking your content is no longer relevant. To keep your audience visually engaged, you want to consider refreshing your brand image every few years and make your website design cohesive with this branding. Even small updates such as a color palette and home page refresh will have a positive impact on your audience. If you consider a refresh to reflect any new branding, you will additionally want to consider what types of website design trends are most engaging at the moment. In 2019, streamlined designs with less text, not too much white space, and professional imagery tend to be most engaging. Incorporating other types of media such as video or social media posts also works well to better connect an audience with your brand.
6. Doesn’t engage your current audience:
Another major issue with outdated websites is that their content or layout may not be engaging for their 2019 audience. If your competition is updating their site, you risk losing business due to decreased search rankings and less visual appeal. Consider refreshing the site to have a clean modern design, well organized content, and professional imagery. Your 2019 audience will also be accessing your site from a mobile device or tablet, so you want to make sure your designs are properly optimized for viewing on these devices. You may also consider a content audit to remove any old or non-relevant content, as this can make navigation more difficult. If your content strategy and marketing has changed, you may want to consider a refresh so that your website is cohesive with your marketing strategy and goals.
5. Changes in industry:
Another aspect to consider is whether or not your industry has gone through any major changes since your website was last updated. Think about what topics are important currently in your industry, and if your website reflects these important topics. These changes could affect whether certain content on your site is relevant and if your brand image is still engaging. It also could impact how certain content is presented or what ways you need to better interact with your audience. Certain industries, such as technology, for example, change at a more rapid pace, so updates will need to be made more regularly in order to remain competitive.
4. Not optimized for mobile:
Optimizing your website for mobile or tablet devices is another update you want to consider due to the rise in smartphones and other internet devices. If it’s been five years or so since you last considered a redesign, chances are your site isn’t properly optimized for smartphones. If a website is not properly optimized for a smaller device, the text will be too small to read and certain links on the site may not register properly. Since a majority of people now use smartphones to navigate the web, it is critical to make this update sooner rather than later so you don’t lose business.
3. Not optimized for search engines:
In addition to optimizing a website for mobile, there are a number of ways to consider optimizing your website to improve your search rankings. Without making regular updates to your site and actively using marketing or promotional techniques, search rankings tend to decline over a period of time. You want to make sure industry relevant keywords are well dispersed throughout your content and may want to consider features such as a sitemap to help search engines better understand your site. Other updates, such as improved security and performance features, will also help in boosting your search rankings.
2. Challenges with content management:
If you are finding your website difficult to add or remove content, it might be time to consider both a design and content management update. In order to remain competitive, you need to be able to keep content fresh and up-to-date on a regular basis. Adding new content regularly also helps the site maintain a more up-to-date look in between redesigns. If it is difficult to make updates, older content will begin to slow down the site and increase frustration for visitors who are trying to find your newer content. Taking the time to make a content management update will help your team determine how best to organize your website to make it easy for your audience to find what they are looking for.
1. Not having your website professionally evaluated:
Taking the time to evaluate your website design with a digital marketing professional will help your business continue to grow and remain competitive. Depending on your budget, you can start with smaller changes such as updating performance, optimizing for mobile, creating new content, and redesigning some of the top pages. A custom website design will allow for a flexible content strategy and better audience engagement.
Alliance Interactive helps brands improve their online presence through website design and development. We can assist with any of your digital projects, ranging from improved hosting and managed support to full custom design and CMS integration. For a free assessment of your website or to discuss your next project, reach out to us here.