Websites are an integral part of an organisation’s branding strategy. Not only is it usually one of the first aspects of your business that a potential customer will engage with, but it also reflects your core values. Now is the right time to update your site if it is over two years old, badly designed, or just doesn’t work for your business.
Sometimes the best way to do this is to bite the bullet and start from scratch with a clean slate – that is, completely rebuilding your website from the ground up. Spend time talking to a web agency, as sometimes all that is needed is a refocus on what your company is about, what you provide and how you can deliver your products and services to your new and old visitors.
Firstly, what determines an old or bad website?
- Age: If your website is more than two or three years old, chances are you would benefit from a redesign due to rapidly evolving web trends and how visitors are now interacting with websites.
- Performance issues: These could include loading issues, graphics not displaying correctly, missing pages, or the general speed of the website.
- Bounce rate: You know it is a failing website if your bounce rate is high. Bounces should be considered a negative statistic if the site failed to engage users enough to entice even a second page view.
- Broken: You know the site is failing if there are lots of broken functions, and 404 errors appearing on a number of your pages. You can find this information in your Google Analytics account.
- Low or no repeat users: To measure site success, you should focus on loyal users who return to the site repeatedly, this shows you are providing interactive and engaging content. Don’t just focus on new visitors.
- Off brand: Determine whether or not there was a strong branding strategy in place when you created the original website. What has changed in the meantime? Does the site reflect your most recent marketing collateral? A site refresh can breathe life into marketing materials and vice versa.
What else do I need to consider moving forward?
- Control: Do you have a website that can be easily updated? Do you have control over those updates?
- Usability for you: Is the CMS Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, Silver Stripe or other? Is it the right platform for your company? Get some advice on what CMS will work best for you.
- Usability for the customer: Do a site audit- consider what your customers are looking for, then try and find it. Ask someone who is unfamiliar with the site to complete some tasks and get their feedback on the experience.
- Maintenance: Is the platform you are using up-to-date, or have there been updated versions released that have been ignored? There could be important security updates you have missed out on.
- Visual: Does your website look different or broken in different browsers such as Firefox, Safari, or IE and does the website look consistent?
- Ranking: Where is it ranking on Google? Are you getting enough visitors? Has the site been properly optimised to rank for your company keywords?
- Conversions: How many visitors are you getting? How many are being converted? A restructured, more visually appealing site can dramatically improve conversions.
- Functionality: Is your site doing all it can do? What components do you need on your site, are you planning to run a blog, include a video or gallery? If it has been a long time between updates, there could be better technology available, or maybe just something you never thought of before. Talking to an expert about your company goals and what solutions are available could inspire something amazing!
Your website needs to work to gain adequate return on investment and to engage people not only with your company name, but what you stand for and what you can offer your audience. The WWW can add significant value for businesses and should not be ignored or let down by an out-of-date, under- performing website. Keep adding, analysing and improving your website to reap the rewards! Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping a working site, the benefits should not be underestimated.
Have you been through a website re-development process? Give us your hints and tips in the comments below.