We can all agree that in 2021, it’s not enough to just have a website. It needs to look good, it needs to present information in a clear, accessible way. It needs to create a strong first impression and make your prospects feel like they’ve found THE ONE. And, at the end of the day, it needs to drive business growth.
Last year taught us the importance of having a strong and accurate online presence. Yet many businesses are still unwilling to invest in a new or update their current website because they invested time and money in the past.
But building a website is not a “one-and-done” endeavor. Your website is a living, breathing representation of your brand and needs to be maintained to protect your investment. Would you neglect to bring your car in for an oil change because you already paid a pretty penny for the car?
It’s crucial for businesses to budget some funds each year for website development, and there are many reasons for doing so. Below are a few questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering if your website needs some updates. (HINT: the answer is yes!)
Your website is a direct reflection of your organization. If your site looks professional and includes useful information, readers will see you as an authority and an expert. Likewise, if your site is poorly designed and out-of-date, they will make the same assumption about your business. Another part of website design is proper code. If your site is old or a product of a late-night DIY session, it may not be responsive or mobile-friendly, or operate across different browsers. If this is the case, an update is in order.
When considering your website’s design, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your website visually appealing?
- Does the design reflect your brand personality?
- Do you have quality photography?
- Could you add additional photos?
- If photos aren’t possible, could your concept be communicated with an infographic or video?
- Is your site responsive and mobile-friendly?
- Do parts of your site look “broken” in different browsers?
- Do you have a clear color palette or does it look like a rainbow?
- Are your font choices consistent?
- Is the content easily read or does it appear “messy?”
Gone are the days when websites were glorified brochures. Today, we want visitors to interact with our website! if your site is outdated, it may lack effective calls to action that convert users to customers. And, if you are not regularly updating your content, chances are it is inaccurate and out-of-date.
A site redesign allows you to re-address how you communicate with your visitors and to write simple copy that is more effective – remember, in the modern “go faster and faster” world, you only have 2-4 seconds to engage new visitors. Updating content will also help your Search Engine Optimization strategy by giving you a chance to rethink your keyword targeting and the overall conversion rate of your website.
The following questions can be helpful in determining if your site needs an update:
- What would you like visitors to your site to do?
- Is your call to action (CTA) highlighted clearly on every landing page?
- Are your CTAs interesting enough to persuade your visitor to complete the desired action?
- Have you installed Google Analytics and other measurement tools?
- Is your content on-point or could it use a refresh?
- Is there too much content?
- Do you have new services to add, project photos, or customer testimonials?
- Have your keywords changed? Are your keywords present in your copy?
- Do you have a strategy for regularly updating content?
- Would your site benefit from a blog?
When we talk about user experience (UX), we are referring to the totality of visitors’ experience with your site—more than just how it looks. UX includes how easy your site is to use, how fast it is, how easy it is to find information, and how little friction there is when visitors try to complete whatever action it is they’re trying to complete. Your website navigation should focus on nudging the right visitor toward the must-have experience.
When thinking about usability, consider these questions:
- Is your site easy to navigate?
- Do visitors understand what business you are in from the get-go?
- Is the navigation intuitive? Does it make sense to a first-time user?
- Do more pages need to be added?
- Are some pages repetitive?
- Are visitors leaving as soon as they land on your site?
- Do pages on your site take too long to load?
- Do visitors have to click too many times to find information?
- Could your site benefit from drop-down menus?
- Is your contact information displayed clearly on the home page and/or in the footer?
An up-to-date website based on a content management system, such as WordPress, makes it easy to make changes and saves you time. Another way to save time is to have your website work for you by integrating apps and plugins that are beneficial to your business. Integrations could include online job applications, time-tracking systems for employees, billing software, or customer portals.
If your website is wasting your time instead of saving you time, consider these questions:
- Do you have an easy-to-use Content Management System?
- Could your website work harder for your business by integrating other functions?
- Do you have an online job application, contact form, inventory tracker, etc?
- Can customers view and pay their bills on your site?
- Can customers view the progress of their project on your site?
- Would adding a shopping cart drive another source of revenue for your business?
- Is your contact information correct? Do you have a Google map?
- Could a Frequently Asked Questions page cut down on unproductive inquiries?
In conclusion, your website is never really “done”. It should evolve as your business evolves. Be sure to make goals and a work plan each quarter to make your website great in 2021!