In many cases, your website serves as your first introduction to your audience. First impressions are everything, as I am sure you have learned on first dates, job interviews and business meetings. If your website doesn’t turn on the charm and offer its visitors useful information they are compelled to share, it’s probably not leaving your audience with a great first impression.
You want your website to speak to potential customers. They need to find your content so engaging that not only do they want to return day after day, but also share it with friends and family. Of course, the reason you started your website may have changed over time. Or maybe you have not stayed on top of Internet technology or social media like you should have. In these and in many other instances, visitors to your site may find it stale and irrelevant. When this happens, visitors are not likely to return let alone recommend your site to others.
YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. Read on to learn more about my top ten reasons for overhauling your website to see if your site meets one or more of these criteria.
1. Your goals have changed
This one is pretty simple. Our goals evolve over time and as a business and website mature, you will likely want to accomplish new goals with each. Ask yourself what the purpose of your website was when you started it and if this has since changed? If you answer yes, start designing a new website today.
2. Browser incompatibility
There was a time when a website really only needed to be formatted properly for Internet Explorer. Those days are long gone. Not only are there numerous web browsers available for desktop and laptop computers, but the Internet is now mobile. People depend on their smart phones and tablets to search the Internet. Your website needs to play well across all browsers and platforms. The best way to accomplish this is with responsive website design.
3. Want to add new features
Maybe you have been toying around with the idea of starting your own online shop as part of your website. Or, maybe you want to add a blog to help boost SEO. Anytime you add new functionality to your website, you should seriously consider a new site design. This is because you want all elements of your website to flow into one another. If you just tack on a new feature, it could stick out. Adding something new? Give your website a total makeover.
4. Your focus is a little too egocentric
Certainly your website needs to tell your audience about you, but if it’s too much “me, me, me, me” your likely to turn away a lot of potential visitors. Visitors want to know who you are, but more importantly how you will accomplish what you promise them. Inform your customers. Put them at ease. If all your website does is brag, it’s time for a re-write.
5. Pitiful SEO
Search for your website on Google. If even you cannot find your website anywhere, imagine what it’s like for people who don’t know you exist. Take the time to design a new website that meets the ever changing SEO standards. Write the kind of content the search engines look for, learn about adding and editing links, coding and the many other factors that can help you rise in the ranks.
6. Launching a new product or initiative
Any time you introduce a new product, initiative or service, you want to make sure your website is designed around supporting this latest effort. Not only do you want loyal customers to find the familiarity of your old website, but you also want to encourage them to learn more about what you have coming up in the near future. A well-tailored and seamless integration of a new product or service can really help the overall success of your launch.
7. The competition is making changes
You should always have an eye on your competition. This means regularly visiting their websites to see what they are doing and how they rank on search engines. If your competitor’s website is ranking higher than your own and/or seems to do a better job at expressing your own goals, a new design is in order.
8. Your website takes forever to load
Think visitors are willing to wait even 30 seconds for your website to load? Think again. The Internet makes us all want results now. If your current website is so bogged down with graphics and large image files that it takes what feels like an eternity to load, start designing a new site immediately. You are most definitely loosing visitors. Stick with a simple clean design to keep people clicking on your website.
9. Your website is using a template or pre-designed theme
Website templates can have their place, but if you are serious about attracting visitors to your site you need to have your own unique design. Templates and pre-designed themes can really hamper your creativity and hurt your SEO. Templates are also prone to more issues for the user and don’t allow you as much control over content. A custom-made website will allow you to craft a very specific message for your audience and set you apart from your competitors who may have went the generic template route.
10. Add social networking features
Social media networks have become an important part of all businesses. Your hope is to get visitors to your website to share what they like about your website. If your current site doesn’t make it easy for visitors to share your information on the popular social media sites, you need a new website.
Your new website should make it easy for your audience to find you on social networking sites as well as share the information they like from your site. Your new website must connect to all of your social media profiles.
If you find your website meets one or more of the circumstances I discussed above, it’s imperative you seriously consider a new website design. Remember, you only get one first impression.