14 signs you need a new website

As the owner of a small or medium-size business, you spend a lot of time thinking about how you can make your business more effective. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure that your website is always working hard for you.

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But do you really need a new website?

Unfortunately with the world of website design and development evolving so quickly and also your customers and clients online habits changing, your website isn’t something that can stand still. If you don’t measure its effectiveness, you’ll reach a point where your returns start to dwindle and you’re likely to need a new website.

Here are 14 signs you new a new website, and why investing in a new website is the first step towards getting serious about your digital marketing strategy. Let’s dive in…

 

1) Your website offers a poor experience to users on the move

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An incredibly easy to use website on mobile is paramount for your business success. If it’s not easy to use on mobile then you need a new website that’s designed with mobile heavily in mind and not as an afterthought.

Mobile internet browsing is huge. Way back in 2008, marketing analyst Mary Meeker, predicted that in 2014, mobile access to the internet would overtake desktop usage. She was right, with the tipping point actually occurring in late 2013. In July 2015 another report was conducted which concluded that time spent browsing the internet on mobile devices, clocks in at 4.3 hours per day (on average) compared with 2.8 hours on desktop devices[1].

Of course, we’re now in 2019, so it’s absolutely critical that your website’s mobile experience is top notch and we see most of our clients’ websites being used by more users on mobile devices than on desktop computers.

More recent stats show that the amount each person spends on e-commerce is also growing, with average revenues per user (ARPU) up by 7 percent year-on-year to reach US$833. The British are also the biggest e-commerce spenders, with annual spend in the UK now greater than US$2,000 per user [4].

The stats above just show that we’re consuming websites on the move as well as when the feeling takes us, by impulsively searching for services we require or products we might need, such as during an ad break whilst sitting on the sofa watching TV.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

The takeaway here is that with users dipping in and out of their devices and looking for products and services on the go, your website needs to be super-fast, easy to navigate and skim read, as well as being memorable. If not, you’re going to lose potential business – no question about it.

Even if your current website is mobile-friendly, we would still recommend evaluating its ease of use on mobile devices. Time has marched on and people now expect perfection when browsing on such devices. It’s safe to say that there are probably considerable improvements that could be made to your existing website even if you decide you aren’t quite ready for a whole new website just yet.

There are great free tools you can use to evaluate your website’s mobile compatibility two of which are Google’s Mobile Page Checker and Website Planet’s Responsive Checker. These tools will come back with issues your web designer can look at fixing.

We would also recommend actually sitting down with some people who have never seen your website before, and get them to talk you through their thoughts when browsing it on a mobile or tablet device. This process can reveal some wonderful insights!

 

2)  The content on your website isn’t communicating the right message anymore

invest-in-a-new-website-in-2016-if-content-isnt-communicating-right-message Content – often left as the last piece of the puzzle in a new website design project – is actually one of the most important elements of your website. It’s also probably some of the most difficult copy you will ever try and write. Why?

Because words go a long way when it comes to converting your website’s visitors into customers and clients. If you can successfully pair up awesome design with great content, you’re on to a winning combination.

So, what’s the problem with content on many business’ websites?

  • It’s not regularly fine-tuned and updated, so it makes their website appear extremely stagnant, and can even make the business project a totally different message to the one they intended.
  • It’s written like a series of statements and facts. E.g. “We were founded in 2009 and offer web design services to small businesses”. Instead, the copy should address the problems that business’ clients are facing and how they can solve them.
Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

Content is definitely still king online, and it will continue to be that way far beyond 2019, so having a website that makes it super-easy for you to effortlessly add new content is essential if you want your website to be a success.

A website redesign is also the perfect time to re-evaluate your message and re-work your copy to make sure it’s resonating with your target audience(s). Our top tip would be to ensure that if you do redesign your website, you choose an easy to use CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, and put a lot of work into fine tuning your content and making sure it’s of high value to your prospects.

That “ideal client” you want to appeal to may have changed over time in your business, so there’s a good chance your website is outdated in this respect too. In that regard, we always recommend taking time to create customer persona profiles before starting any new website design project as well. This helps you fully understand who this website is for and whether the decisions you make will positively impact them.

 

3) Your visitors can’t easily find what they need or complete an action on your website

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Can visitors find valuable information on your website? Is the information valuable enough and compelling enough for them to make contact with you?

If you answered no to those questions then you might need a new website.

You might also have a few different types of user visiting your website, each type looking for something different. Do you know who they are? And, does your current website cater for all of their individual needs?

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

This is a big reason for needing a new website because if your visitors can’t find what they need, or carry out the tasks they want to complete on your website, then it’s ineffective and a complete waste.

In order to avoid this with any website redesign you carry out, we recommend creating “user stories” or “customer personas” as we briefly mentioned earlier.

This is where you give your customer type a name (e.g. Customer #1: John) and create a persona for him by listing tasks he’d likely be looking to carry out or information he’d be wanting to access on your website. You can go further and map out what other websites he’s likely to read, where he might shop and what problems he’s looking to solve. This process helps you build an accurate picture of all your target audiences.

Often, once you’ve got all your personas mapped out (you might have three or four), you’ll have a lightbulb moment, giving you clarity on how to structure your new website and what kind of content you need to include to ensure visitors convert into customers.

Creating these personas helps you get out of your own head and stops you creating the website you would like to see, but rather the website your clients or potential customers would like to see, which is definitely going to be the more effective outcome.

 

4) You aren’t using video on your website (and on other channels too)

invest-in-a-new-website-in-2016-include-more-video You’re bound to have noticed that over the last few years video has played an ever-increasing part when it comes to inbound marketing strategies.

HubSpot’s “The State of Video Marketing” article[3] includes some telling stats, such as:

  • 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  • 76% say it helped them increase sales.
  • 47% say it helped them reduce support queries.
  • 76% say it helped them increase traffic.
  • 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website.
  • 95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
  • 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
  • 69% of people have been convinced to buy a piece of software or application by watching a video.
  • 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018.

Creating high value and entertaining videos and then publishing them on YouTube and other social media channels is a great way to generate web traffic. Filming and recording is easier now than ever and can even be done to a very decent standard on your smartphone with a cheap microphone from Amazon.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

Video usage will only increase in the years to come as our attention spans get shorter, and we demand more information quickly. So, embracing video is a no brainer if you want to get serious about inbound marketing.

Including video in a big way on your website is also increasingly popular now. Why? It’s just so engaging if done correctly.

The way in which you use video on your website will differ depending on the type of business you’re in. Are you selling a product or service? Then try having an explainer video created for your new website, and then integrate it front and centre on the homepage. We would be willing to bet you’ll see an increase in conversions.

 

5) You don’t have a clear ‘digital strategy’

invest-in-a-new-website-in-2016-as-part-of-your-digital-strategy Having a ‘digital strategy’ is imperative. If you don’t have one now, you need to work on putting one in place, and your new website can be the centrepiece that brings it all together.

A digital strategy is really the process of specifying your business’s vision, goals, opportunities and related activities in order to maximise the business benefits of digital initiatives. It’s basically putting in place a digital plan to succeed online.

Let’s say you’re a florist. Your digital strategy might be made up of:

  • regular social media posts on your business Twitter / Facebook pages, sharing new products, bouquets, arrangements to encourage engagement and sharing among your followers.
  • the creation of videos on your YouTube channel and website to educate users about how to pick the right flowers for the right occasions and how to prolong their life.
  • publishing high-value articles in the blog on your website to encourage sharing, distribution and as a result, you’ll gain more traffic to your website.
  • weekly email newsletters to your customer list informing them of special offers and recycling content you’ve posted on your website.

As you can see, it’s really all about content creation and distribution on different channels.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

This is a big sign because your new website will be the central hub for all your marketing, where you are adding and publishing new content which can be shared across all the channels mentioned in the florist example above. All your digital activities should point people back to your website, which if finely tuned and professional in it’s appearance will convert those visitors into customers.

 

6) The design of your website is outdated

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Pretty much every business is online in this day and age, so an easy way to stand out from your competitors is to invest in quality design for your new website.

If your website design hasn’t been updated in the last year, then it’s safe to say it might be looking a little old fashioned and not doing you any favours. The way your business is perceived will have a massive impact on your success and really help you to build trust and loyalty with new and existing customers.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

People judge a book by its cover, so if your website looks shabby on desktop, tablet or mobile they’ll leave – simple as that. Having said that, good design isn’t just how your website looks, it’s how it feels to use too, so having it developed in a way that makes it feel intuitive to use will pay off.

Quality design builds trust and credibility, so it’s hugely important to invest in a new website design that shouts professionalism, lets your content shine and makes your website a pleasure to use.

 

7) Your website isn’t getting enough traffic from Google

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If you aren’t getting traffic from Google then as harsh as it sounds, your business may as well not exist. Your website needs to be able to be found organically on Google so that you have a constant stream of potential customers visiting it.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making changes to your website itself in order to help it rank higher (called on-site SEO), and also carrying out activities away from your website, like link building (called off-site SEO).

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

Search engine optimisation is something that should be carefully considered at the start of a new website redesign project, but it isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it activity – ideally you need someone monitoring your rankings and proposing on-site and off-site activities to help you outrank your competition.

Having a constant stream of traffic visiting your website means you’ll be making more sales or generating more leads – it’s simple maths really.

 

8) Updating or adding content is difficult

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In this day and age 99.9% of websites are “content managed” meaning their owners can log in to an administrative area and add pages, add content, add imagery and add news posts.

If your site was created quite a while ago you might be stuck having to contact your current web design agency to ask them to make changes, and this can get expensive.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

The main reason why not being able to add content to your site is a reason to urgently invest in a new one is because Google rewards websites that regularly add new content.

This means that a website where high quality content, articles and general updates are being posted, will outrank a website where nothing is changing. So keeping your content fresh has big benefits for your website’s Google rankings.

 

9) Your conversion rate is poor

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The purpose of your website is to convert as many of your visitors as possible into customers, so your conversion rate is something that must be measured.

If you don’t measure your conversion rate you can’t tell whether a change you made to your site has had a positive effect or not.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

If your existing website isn’t converting as many visitors as you’d like, there are techniques you can introduce to try and combat this, but if your conversion rate won’t pick up after a concentrated effort to improve it, a total redesign can be a good option.

If you go down this route we’d recommend working with a web design agency who use a data-first approach so they can take everything into consideration and analyse your existing poor performing site first, before getting started on your new website.

 

10) Your website takes ages to load

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People are impatient and expect to be able to access information instantly, irrespective of whether they are connected to wi-fi or not, or if they are browsing the web using a laptop or a mobile phone.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

If your website is extremely slow, with the majority of your pages taking longer than 4 seconds to load, then now is the right time to urgently think about a new website and make speed one of your main key performance indicators.

The speed of your website is such an important factor as Google now takes this into account when ranking your site against competitors, so obtaining fast load times is critical.

 

11) You shy away from promoting your website

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Believe it or not we’ve met with business owners who don’t promote their business websites because they’re ashamed of the way they look, or the message they’re sending out. Not good!

So why does this happen? Because the website has been left to stagnate for a prolonged period of time.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

This one’s obvious! You should feel proud of your business website as it’s your business’s shop front, promoting your services (or products) to the whole world.

As soon as you feel inspired by how your website looks and the way it projects your business image, you’ll want to promote it and use it as the centre-piece to all of your marketing activity – which is exactly what you should be doing.

 

12) Your site has bugs on certain devices or browsers

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A bug on a website can take many forms. It might be as simple as the form fields on your contact form not lining up, which doesn’t look great, but doesn’t impact you receiving contact form submissions.

However, it could be as serious as your contact form not working at all, your phone number not being tappable to initiate a phone call on a mobile device, or your main navigation not displaying properly on a Samsung tablet.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

A buggy website is a definite sign you urgently to invest in a new website because it not only looks unprofessional, it also might make parts of your website unusable on certain devices. This is a surefire way to push potential customers to your competitors.

When you work with a web design agency to create your new website, make sure you talk to them about browser and device compatibility. Browser and device testing should be something they carry out in detail to ensure your site works perfectly across the board.

 

13) You need to make big functionality changes to streamline your business

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As your business grows it’s likely that a time will come when you look to digital to save you time and help automate certain tasks.

This could be integrating your ecommerce shop with Xero (an accounting package), or building out a client area where you customers can access their account with you and see information that is personalised to their needs or requirements.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

Creating bespoke functionality to create a customer portal or integrate with an accounting package can be time consuming and expensive, and if your website is suffering from some of the points mentioned in this article, it might be wise to first redesign and modernise before you jump in and invest in adding complex integrations to a lethargic website.

 

14) It’s been more than 3 years since your last website redesign

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We often get asked by new prospects and even our existing clients what the shelf life of a website is. The answer is that you actually can’t really put a shelf-life on how long a website will last, because ultimately it all comes down to performance.

If your website is 5 years old, yet you’ve invested regularly to keep it looking modern, you’ve added features you know have kept you at the forefront of your industry, and you are converting a high number of visitors into clients/customers, then you could well be okay continuing to refine that 5 year old website for the next few years.

But if your website is suffering from any of the ailments we’ve mentioned in our 15 point article, then it could definitely be time to bite the bullet.

Why is this a sign or reason to invest in a new website?

Having a website that’s over 3 years old means its likely time to urgently invest in an update if you haven’t done one thing and one thing only – regularly investing in making improvements to that website based on how your target marketing are finding it and interacting with it.

Businesses with old websites tend not to devote the time necessary to regularly evaluate their website’s performance and make sure it’s a fine-tuned sales machine.

 

Our advice? Focus on data-driven improvements

Hopefully you’ve found the advice we’ve given useful and it’s got you thinking that now might be the time to revamp and update your website.

If so, it should really be treated as urgent, as your business website is your number one sales tool and the thing that all your marketing should revolve around.

Whether you choose to work with us to redesign your new website or not, our one piece of advice would be to make sure you work with a web design agency who focus on data-driven improvements.

The tendency with website redesigns is that once launched, the new website starts to get neglected and after 2 or 3 years you’re back to square one, likely experiencing several of the issues we’ve mentioned in this article. It’s a vicious circle and one that costs a lot of money.

Instead, if you redesign your website, launch it, and then work with a company who regularly analyse its performance and recommend changes, you’ll drastically lengthen the life of your website, and you’ll make it a damn sight more effective too!

That’s our philosophy and one that will make your website more effective and save you thousands of pounds in the long run.

Make sure you redesign your website based on data.

Your existing website holds the key to the success of any new website you have developed. We’ll provide you with a detailed “strengths and weaknesses report” for free. Just get in touch and request a free website audit in your message.

Request a FREE Website Audit

 

References mentioned in this article:

  1. Mobile marketing statistics 2015 – Smart Insights
  2. The state of video marketing (new data) – HubSpot
  3. How to develop your digital strategy – Mashbable
  4. Global Digital Report 2018 – We Are Social

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