A website is often the first impression a business makes. It is like the cover of a book or the look on your face the when you meet a new person. It can be welcoming and engaging or difficult and boring.
When a business launches, the website design is a priority. The company has a blank slate and their goal is to use the most current techniques to bring in new customers and keep them. 9 times out of 10, when companies work with a competent web designer, they’ll hit a home run. After a little time, money, and work, they will have a site that is new, fresh, and easy to use.
Eventually, though, time passes—as it always does. Months go by, then a few years. Maybe the business regularly updates their products and the information associated with them. They could even add weekly blogs. But for the most part, the website remains unchanged.
So at what point should a business do a total revamp? If all of the functions and features on the site still operate, is it really necessary to update it? It’s a little bit of a grey area because there’s simply no hard and fast rule. To help clarify this haziness, the following provides a checklist to help companies know what to do and when to do it.
1. Gut It
It is not always necessary to completely overhaul a website, but sometimes it is just easier to start from scratch. There are a number of signs that point to this:
Outdated Third-Party Tools
For the past few years, companies have been able to add extra features to their website. The most common of these is a shopping cart widget, but there are endless options that are either useful tools to help customers or fun features that make the website experience a little more enjoyable. Sometimes the maker of the widget fails to regularly update it, after a while it simply stops working. Other times, the widget slows down the site speed, making it unpleasant to visit.
Low Search Engine Ranking
Many businesses have websites that were created before SEO even existed. This means an overhaul is unavoidable. However, the same is also true for websites with SEO that has not been updated in a few years. Google alters their algorithm frequently and without adjusting for the changes, companies will see their site slip down the search engine rankings.
Other Reasons for a Website Overhaul:
- The company has been rebranded
- Website navigation is confusing
- It isn’t mobile-friendly
- The site looks dated
- The website is challenging to update
- Most of the content is stale
- Significant time is wasted on website troubleshooting
- The competition has taken their site to the next level
- The purpose of the website has changed
- The website loads too slowly
A complete revamping of a website can be overwhelming. It is time and money intensive. But if it is needed, it will be worth it. A website overhaul allows the company a second chance at perfecting their online strategy. It reintroduces the brand to the world—it can even be a great way to launch a new product or service. And finally, it can provide that needed edge against the competition.
2. Give It A Facelift
When a website is outdated, it does not necessarily mean that a complete overhaul is necessary. Sometimes all it takes is a little nip and tuck. Changes can be made slowly, over the course of a few months. And the key word here is ‘changes’. The website does not need to be made from scratch–adjustments can be made on top of the existing architecture. The following may indicate that this is the best course of action:
A High Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit a site and leave after only viewing the page they landed on. Basically, this means that people thought they might like the website, but as soon as they saw it they lost interest. Now while it is important to understand that every website will have a bounce rate, if the rate is too high it means that something is deterring visitors from the site. In this case, incremental changes can be really effective. As a company slowly makes these changes, they can see whether the bounce rate moves up or down and find out what it is that is scaring visitors away.
Other Reasons for a Smaller Website Revamp:
- A desire to add new features
- A need to update the site with new content
- The website doesn’t stand out
- The website doesn’t get positive reviews
- The website isn’t attracting referrals or leads
- There are no call-to-actions on the website
There are a number of benefits to opting for incremental website changes. The first is that it can be friendlier on resources, including both time and money. A website overhaul takes up time. Even if the business leadership are not the ones making the actual changes, they are still responsible for providing input and approving every aspect of the website redesign. The second advantage to slow change is that it gives customers time to adjust. Change is rarely welcome. Customers know a company’s website and they are comfortable with it. If a new site suddenly replaces it and customers are forced to re-learn how to find products and make orders, they may be put off.
3. Stay Put
If a business’ website still loads quickly, has all the right content, is user-friendly, and has a solid ranking on search engines, there is no need to change it. Maybe all that is need are small revisions. This could mean changing out old images for new ones, freshening up the content, or rearranging the navigation. Basically, something that can be done in a few hours and with little investment.
While there is no rule about when a website should be updated, it is smart for companies to review their site every two years and decide where it falls in the above three categories. Additionally, a good rule of thumb is to make quarterly improvements to a website. By enhancing the website in small ways on a regular basis, any mass-update will be much more manageable.
Link360 is a Digital Marketing Agency in South Carolina. We help business owners who want to grow, but are frustrated that their website isn’t generating the visitors and leads that they think it should. We use a variety of digital tactics to help your business grow – including website design, blogging, social media, optimization, lead nurturing, reporting, and more. What’s most important is that we use these tactics in a systematic, unified, and measurable way so they ultimately drive more visitors and clients and help you hit your growth targets.