Every 3-5 Years
Rapidly evolving technology doesn’t allow your business to rest on its laurels very long. Just as hardware changes make PC’s of yesteryear look ancient, the software environment and cloud-based tech can render your website’s content equally as long-in-the-tooth.
Experts suggest that a business website should be redesigned on average every 3 – 5 years if it is to be perceived as “current” in the eyes of consumers.
Here’s a quick checklist to see if its time to consider a makeover for your business website:
#10 – Inaccurate or Out-dated Information and Broken Links
Potentially more damaging to the credibility of your business than you realize. If your website’s content isn’t “current,” you are losing prospective customers before they even contact you. Don’t believe it?
Think about what goes through your mind when you are researching a product or service on a particular company’s website and it’s obvious that the content hasn’t been updated in years. Or the links don’t click through to the destination. If you’re like most people, you are already moving on the the next company on your target list.
Research indicates that 1st website impressions are made within 5 seconds. That means if your website screams Y2K, then prospects are bailing in seconds and you may not even know it!
#9 – Missing or Unclear “Call-to-Action”
Your website is your best online sales tool. Everything about the user experience should be leading the viewer down the path towards a decision (either now or later). If your website represents a service, there should be a submission form for a free quote.
Websites pitching a product should contain a “Buy Now” link. Websites offering free information should require users to create an account to access your valuable information.
If the viewer of your website isn’t guided into taking action, consider a professional redesign.
#8 – Lack of Regular Security Updates
These days, you probably know someone whose website was hacked or breached in some fashion. It can be costly and disruptive.
Routine security patches are an essential part of website maintenance. If your website was built using a content management system (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal), the plug-ins need to be updated regularly. In addition to security updates, a regularly scheduled back-up of your site should be part of your security plan.
#7 – Unclear or Confusing Navigational Links
Navigational links should be short, sweet and to the point. Avoid the temptation to use creative terms, long phrases, or any other devices that can be construed as vague.
For instance, audiences are conditioned to look for a “Contact Us” tab, either at the header or the footer (preferably both). Refrain from getting cute by using “Drop Us A Line” instead of the the more familiar version. Occasionally, spacial dimensions or style considerations may dictate what you can enter. The “KISS” method usually is best when it comes to clear & concise navigational instructions.
#6 – Photos Are Out-of-Date and/or Are Not Optimized
Just as damaging as broken links are photos of items that are no longer relevant to your business. This could be products you no longer offer, or a picture of your building prior to a renovation. Also, increased bandwidth allows for higher resolution imagery. If your images appear pixelated… time for an upgrade.
Photos shot with your own camera should be appropriately resized, color and level-balanced, and then optimized with meta tags. If your photos take too long to load, you risk losing viewers who grow impatient quickly.
#5 – Too Much Text
No one wants to read a wall of text. Studies show that for maximum online readability, paragraphs shouldn’t exceed 3-5 sentences. Sentences shouldn’t exceed 12-15 words.
This Is A Header
Visually break up sections with Headers, which allow readers to scan and find what they are looking for. Headers also facilitate the search engine optimization (SEO) of your key phrases.
Sans Serif Please
Typefaces known as “sans serif” styles are much easier to read on the web. Check out this great primer on typography by Stacey Kole.
#4 – Your Site Is Hosted On A Free Service
Free hosting might be fine for the website featuring the beach condo you are advertising, or your son’s little league team.
Nothing screams “unbusinesslike” more than when a bonafide business website is perched on a free hosting service. The reasons are too numerous to do the subject justice in this space; however here are just a few of the disadvantages:
- Lack of storage and/or bandwidth — free means limited space & speed. Slow loading graphics or buffered video just won’t cut it today.
- Ads on Free Pages — the whole point of a business website is to feature YOUR business. Free hosting services make money by putting paid ads on free pages. So now your business website is also featuring someone else’s business!
- Their name & logo appears on your site or in the URL — This telegraphs to the world that you’re either not successful or savvy enough to host your own site. Prospects will leave your site for one that is branded properly.
#3 – To Add Functionality
When adding significant tools or features to your website, it makes sense to get help with a professional redesign.
This will avoid that dreaded look of a tacked-on afterthought. The goal is to incorporate the new feature and ensure that its operation is seamless with the existing architecture of your site.
#2 – Don’t Forget About SEO
Search Engine Optimization is an essential ingredient if you want your business website to be found. There’s a direct correlation between how competitive your industry is and the amount of resources your competitors are allocating to SEO. Nobody lands on page 1 by accident or luck anymore. Professional web developers know that code, images, video and accessibility are key to effective website optimization. It’s like brain surgery for your website. Best left to professionals.
#1 -Make It Mobile-Friendly
If you’re already paying for SEO, you’re not getting the most out of your efforts if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices.
In fact, your website may even be penalized by search engines for not being “mobile friendly.” In an earlier post this year, Tight Line released information on the benefits of mobile optimization. They include:
- Improved Mobile SEO
- Faster Website Load Speeds
- Increased Time on Site
- Higher Conversion Rates