Originally published on June 5, 2018. Updated on May 8, 2020.
Technology is constantly evolving, which means digital marketing is constantly evolving. Every update brings a new way of connecting with prospective customers. It could be a new tool, like a website plug-in that will make it significantly easier to follow-up leads, or a new technique like, SEO. Either way, it’s important to stay up-to-date with best practice to ensure you’re maximizing the impact of your time and money.
One of the foundational principles of digital marketing is that your website is your strongest marketing tool. Think of it as your digital storefront; a storefront that has now become as important as your physical one when it comes to making the right impression. If you don’t have a physical storefront, then your digital one really must be on its “A” game! Websites need to be updated regularly to ensure they deliver what customers expect.
Here are nine telltale signs that you need to redesign (or at least update) your website.
Already know you need help? Schedule a free consultation.
1. It’s been a while
When was the last time you updated or looked at your website? If it’s been a while, that’s pretty much a guarantee that it’s time for a facelift. Trends and styles change all the time, which means you can’t just “set and forget” your website. Just like peeling paint or cracked tiles, an old website will make your business seem dated.
You need to make sure the interface is attractive, the products and services are up-to-date, the tone is contemporary and fresh and it’s fast-loading. Customers won’t sit and wait, they’ll go somewhere else, so you need to make your website as enticing as possible so they choose to stay. Remember, this is your first impression.
Here’s a checklist of things you should consider updating:
- New location
- New contact details
- New services or products
- New team members
- New awards and certifications
- New photos of your building, team, products, etc.
- Update your project portfolio and add any news
- Ensure all information is still correct
Read more: Is marketing the new sales?
2. You have a branding disconnect
It isn’t uncommon for a company’s branding or mission to evolve over time. Perhaps you’ve decided to go in a new direction, you have a new opportunity, you have a new investor or your team has decided to shake things up. It’s likely that your target audience has changed along with some of their services or products.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that your website reflects the story your business is trying to tell and that the story is consistent across all your platforms so customers can get to know you and start to trust you. If you’re run a successful campaign on Facebook or you’ve seen great results with a neighborhood letter-drop, update your website to match. Brand recognition is an underrated, but incredibly important aspect of inbound marketing.
Read more: Why is corporate branding important? (VIDEO)
3. Adding new content is difficult
Can you feel your blood start to simmer at the prospect of adding new content? It’s OK, you can breathe easy, because we’ve got you. Website technologies are changing all the time. There are new platforms, new updates and new plug-ins being launched every other week, and the best thing is they’re all designed to make your life easier.
If your website was designed even just a few years ago, it’s probable that some updates could dramatically simplify your marketing life. Truly, there’s no need to wrestle for hours with a page that isn’t formatting properly. You also shouldn’t have to engage in battle with a hosting company or developer who built it for you.
A modern, up-to-date website will be easy to run, allowing you to make edits instantly. If this is something you struggle with, it’s worth asking for professional help. A digital marketing company will be able to help you sort out the rights to your domain (or buy a new one) and set up a user-friendly website that will be running in no time.
4. Your site has a high bounce rate
The term “bounce rate” basically refers to the amount of time people spend on your website – if a high percentage of people click onto your website and bounce off almost immediately, that’s the bounce rate.
This could happen for a number of reasons – for example, perhaps they clicked on the wrong site, perhaps it looks clunky and old so they assume your business isn’t operating or the information isn’t credible, or perhaps they can’t find the information they’re looking for quickly. Again, websites need to make things as easy as possible.
The cold, hard truth is that you only have about four seconds to capture a visitor. That’s the average person’s attention span when it comes to clicking on, loading and viewing a new website. It’s critical it loads at lightning speed and that your layout, color and text are all designed to capture attention immediately.
Read more: How much does a website cost?
5. Your site isn’t mobile-friendly
You know how some websites automatically adjust so they look great on both desktop computers and mobile devices? That’s called “responsive design.” This isn’t a new concept; it became essential when smartphones became mainstream. The idea is to give customers a seamless experience across their devices.
The main reason why this is important is legibility. A full-size website simply becomes too small when displayed on a mobile device, which means it’s too hard to use because readers will constantly have to zoom in an out to navigate the page. You’ll lose them in seconds (unless they really, really want your product or service). The second reason why this is crucial is because Google actively penalizes websites that don’t have responsive designs. This makes it significantly harder for your business to rank on Google when people search associated keywords.
The good news is that most modern website platforms, such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix all automatically adjust to suit the device the customer is using. Ask a web developer to help make sure you get this right.
Seeing any red flags? Contact us today and let’s start problem-solving.
6. Your SEO is non-existent
What’s SEO? This acronym stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” which is critical to the success of any digital marketing campaign. Put simply, this is the practice of ensuring your content ranks on Google.
If your website is not ranking well on Google (or other search engines), and people are having a hard time finding it, that is a serious sign that you need to redesign it or revamp it right away. Done right, this is an easy win; done wrong, and you’re wasting a great resource. Again, this isn’t something you can set and forget, because search engine algorithms change constantly. Staying up-to-date will pay big dividends.
How do you start? First, decide what keywords best represent your business and make sure you use them consistently. Second, claim your listing on Google My Business. Third, start creating content based around the things people are most likely to search – for example, explain a new product or answer some FAQs. It’s also worth updating your back catalog as Google will consider date stamps when generating results.
7. You’re not converting customers
Getting visitors to your site is a great first step. Congratulations, you’ve got a lead! However, if those people aren’t turning into customers at some point, then something is wrong with your site. You need to ensure it’s easy to get from A to B and that every visitor follows a logical path through to a purchase decision.
For example, can people click on your phone number on your site from their phone and call you? At the bottom of a page full of information, is there an option for them to learn more by filling out a contact form or scheduling an appointment? These are simple enough things to add, but they make a big difference to people wanting to use your products or services. If they can’t do it easily, they are more likely to move on to a competitor.
8. You’re still using Flash
Flash sites were a big fad for a while, and they did lend themselves to some beautiful designs, but they went the way of the dodo after iPhones were invented. Flash and Apple apparently decided not to play nice, because no-one using an iPhone will be able to view content on a Flash website. According to Statista, iPhone owners accounted for about 45.2% of all smartphone users in 2019, which means this cuts out about half of your customer base.
To save your website from being buried under a pile of other content on Google, you’ll need to build a new website. It’s definitely possible to do this yourself, but if you want to save time on the re-design while developing a killer digital marketing strategy to accompany it, it’s worth engaging a professional agency.
9. Your website is confusing
Remember our four-second rule? No matter what, it is vital that your visitors understand know what you do very quickly. You need to make a great impression and give them a reason to stay on your site and keep reading or watching your content. Most importantly, they need to find answers to their questions immediately.
If your website isn’t user-friendly, it’s not easy to navigate, it doesn’t adhere to current user experience principles, or your content is clunky and disorganized, you’ll need to update or redesign your site. It doesn’t matter if your visitors are coming from Anchorage, Alaska, Reno, Nevada or the moon. They’re much likely to stay on your site, and become a customer, if you make their life easy and create a great first impression.
That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? If your website ticks any of the boxes above, it’s time for an overhaul. A fresh, functioning website will create a good foundation for future digital marketing campaign, which will pay big dividends when you start directing traffic to your new website through social media, SEO and content.
Here’s a checklist of everything that’s essential to a new website:
- Your site has been updated recently
- Your site is consistent with your branding and product or service offerings
- You have updated the content recently (because it is easy to do so)
- You captured their attention in the first 4-seconds, and they didn’t bounce
- Your site is mobile friendly
- You have good SEO rankings, so they found your site quickly
- You made it easy for them to convert
- Your site is NOT Flash
- Your visitors can easily and quickly understand what you do
The best way to ensure you hit all of those goals is to hire a professional digital marketing agency. They’ll take care of the research, design, copywriting and development and build you a tip-top website in no time. Marketers will also be able to advise you about current best practice to ensure you’re maximizing the impact of every dollar.
Have questions? Schedule a free consultation.