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I’m often asked how a company knows that it’s time to redesign their website. While there are a lot of good answers to this question, there are some things that will affect your company's ability to produce good business results. This article looks at reasons why a website redesign might be the right choice for your company.
First things first: defining “redesign”
A website “redesign” doesn’t necessarily mean that you completely scrap your old website and start from scratch. Laying out your homepage, other most frequently visited pages or page templates differently might only require a few changes, but might help visitors find things easier or make your message clearer.
Sometimes, adding headlines or illustrative graphics or even re-writing pages to be more easy to understand can have a big return. We’d call this “iterative design,” where you’re not changing everything, just parts of the page. We recommend making a plan to test the results of your changes, though, so you know if the changes had the intended effect.
So what are some sound business reasons why you might want to redesign your website?
Your website isn't bringing in enough new business
Do you know for certain that your website brings in new business for your company? The best way to know if your website creates new business opportunities is by measuring the number of leads, contacts, quote requests or proposal requests that come from your website. Some companies don't have measurement tools in place, or simply don't keep track of the metrics from month to month. We've created a free calculator that will tell you whether your website is bringing in sufficient new business opportunities with just 2 inputs.
When you redesign your website, you have to begin with the end in mind.
- What are the sales or lead generation goals for your organization?
- What percentage of your company-wide goal is the website responsible for?
Your website is designed for you, not your customer
Most likely, your website is self-serving. It likely shows news about your company, information about executives, and information on your products or services. What value is your potential customer getting from your website?
If we're honest, it's hard to tell if your website truly resonates with your potential customer. There's often a disconnect between what your company says on your website and what the customer wants. The imagery and wording on your homepage tells a visitor what your company does, but you may be unintentionally sending the wrong message, or at least being unclear.
Building a Story Brand is an excellent book by Donald Miller that discusses how companies can clarify their message, and I highly recommend it.
Your website has a dated look
Because your customers will form an opinion of your company from the look of your website, it's important that your website is modern. Currently, the trend is a clean, simple layout that fits any screen size.
There's no test to definitively know if your website look is dated, but you can usually poll people at your company, or better yet, your prospects, to find out.
Most people view one page and leave
If your website is plagued with a high bounce rate, that's a problem. A high bounce rate means that most people that visit your website visit one page and leave. Since most companies rely on people reading multiple pages, bounce rate is an important metric to consider.
The more pages people visit on a company website, the more they learn about how your company solves their need. A high bounce rate (over 50%) means that people aren't finding what they need (they don't understand what your company does, the message doesn't resonate, etc.).
You can find your bounce rate inside your Google Analytics account. If it's over 50%, you should be concerned.
Your website isn’t mobile-friendly
It's no secret that mobile devices dominate the share of internet traffic. If ranking well for internet searches is a priority for you, your website must be mobile friendly, as it is a ranking factor.
Your best option for a mobile friendly website is a responsive design, which is how a website is coded to automatically re-format itself when viewed on different screen sizes. You can learn more about responsive design here, or test to see if your website passes Google's mobile friendliness test here.
Your website isn’t optimized for search engines
Good search engine rankings result from a sound strategy, organizing your content properly, good web development practices, and ongoing optimization over time. Like anything else, good results take effort, and you have to devote time to adding content to your website on a regular basis to achieve good search engine rankings.
Making sure you have a good content management system will make it easy to add content to your website on a regular basis and add page components that will improve your SEO. At the very least, the publishing system should let you add things like customized page titles and meta descriptions to each page.