How long has it been since you really looked at your business web site? Your potential customers visit from time to time, but when did you last load it up and really look at it? And not just the home page, but those inner pages too?
If you’re like many companies, the web site helps to transact business but it’s not been updated in several years and is starting to look, shall we politely say, a little dated…
A website refresh or a redesign to put it another way, can be a very effective method to inject new vitality, fresh ideas and a younger look to a site that is appearing very 2002…
20 Reasons That Your Site Might Need a Website Refresh
1. You or a friend made the web site for you
Let’s get real here. Unless you are a web developer or web designer by trade or the “friend” makes a full-time living working in a web studio, the resulting web site you ended up with won’t be up to much. Often you won’t even realise that the web site wasn’t great to begin with and is now woefully dated too. If it looks like the site was made by an amateur, then visitors won’t respect your brand or your products/services. This will cost sales over time. Time for a refresh..
2. It’s made entirely in Flash
Unless you’re a Hollywood studio and you are showing off your latest motion picture with animated introductions, video trailers and sound clips, you’ll need to rethink the whole Flash thing. Flash isn’t viewable on an iPad and on Android devices it’s a pain to try to view a flash site. Flash has been replaced with something called HTML5 (HTML being one of the languages used to make web pages and understood by all web browsers on any device). Flash quite often can crash a web browser, the content cannot be copy pasted into another document to be read later and it takes an age to load up. If you’re still stuck back in Flash age, time for a change.
3. How bad it looks on a 4-inch display?
What do we mean by this? We mean, how does the web site look when viewed in a web browser on a smart phone? iPhones are presently still only 4-inches in size, so web sites need to manage the smaller screen size. Such sites are known as being “responsive” which means that their design changes entirely based on the size of the viewing screen and device. Alternatively, a separate mobile site can be created providing simpler navigation and more limited content. Speaking of content…
4. Poor communication through existing content
How does your web site read? Does it sound like a 12-year-old wrote the home page? How well does your web site copy explain the purpose of your site, what solutions you provide and how you can help their businesses? Could a better job be done in explaining how you can help and selling the products or services that are offered?
5. Designed for small resolutions and low-quality displays
Is the current website made for a fixed width like 800 x 600 pixels or smaller? Does the web site look okay on small monitors but the fonts and design don’t scale well when viewed on more modern larger HD monitors?
6. Poor typography
It used to be that headings and titles had to be written in Photoshop in a fancy font, an image created of that heading and then placed into a web page. This was to get around the limiting list of font typefaces that were compatible on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac and Linux. Today, many web sites use Google Web Fonts which is an easily accessible collection of over 500 web fonts which load quickly and can display beautiful and easy to read headlines that are a pleasure to see. How do your headings look?
7. Lousy photography
With fast internet connections it is now possible to have high quality images that will look great on high resolution displays like the Apple Retina Display. If your current site only uses postage stamp and low resolution images, then these will not scale well or look good at all. It is like using a magnifying glass to see them on these HD screens and it will turn off visitors.
8. Lack of video content
YouTube and Vimeo content is a great way to visually get your point across. This can be slide-shows, recorded interviews, explanations about products or services, and other ways to communicate with new visitors besides using the written word. Do you have any audio visual content yet? Is it available in HD?
9. Doesn’t have any opt-ins to collect subscriber information
Do you know anything about your web site visitors? Do you collect email addresses by offering a regular newsletter with details of your latest company news, product releases and special offers? If you don’t, you’re losing out on a great opportunity to communicate with your site visitors after they’ve come and gone. Email marketing can be a great way to bring old visitors back for a second, third and fourth visit with more chances to clinch that sale.
10. Lacks personality
You might not realise this but people don’t like dealing with faceless companies with bland web sites where they don’t get a good feeling about the business when they visit. Brands are useful to create a positive impression but learning about some of the key principals or the other staff can also show that there are real people behind the brand. Smaller businesses especially can play up on the fact that they answer their phones themselves (no computerised answer phone during daytime hours) and customers can receive much more of a personal service.
11. Visitors are confused about your branding and message
If the web site is a hotch potch of different initial ideas and then updates and changes that confused things still further, then site visitors could be getting very mixed messages. The logo, colour scheme and brand tagline could all be creating a confused feeling for visitors who then hesitate to initiate a contact or make a purchase.
12. No strong call to action
What do you want your visitors to do when they arrive on the home page? For each of your product pages, what action do you want visitors to take? Are they doing it? How often? Do you even know? For each page on the site it is important to see if it’s delivering on the goals for the page, converting visitors into buyers and growing the customer base and income progressively. If that’s not happening, then you’re in trouble.
13. Doesn’t target industry segments
Even small businesses need to consider the benefit of targeting different industry segments so that they can tailor their product or service based on the needs of their potential clients. This split can be by the size of business or the industry the business is operating in. Different industries have very different business needs and requirements, as do small business versus large corporations.
14. Navigation is a total nightmare
Can customers find their way around the site? You may be able to do so but how do first time visitors cope? Are the section headings confusing to visitors? Is the navigation too simple or too complex and leads more to confusion than results? Do most people leave quickly by the same page they arrived (known as the bounce rate)?
15. Doesn’t compare to your local or national competition
Be honest. Take a look at your peers and see how their sites look for design, quality content and overall first impression. Then take a new look with fresh eyes over your own site and what do you think? Can you see a problem? If you can, then listen to that thought.
16. The site says it works best in Netscape Navigator at 640×480 resolution
If the site cannot be viewed using any modern web browser then you’re in trouble. There is no need to state what web browser is needed as the site should look good in any modern browser.
17. Pages or images are missing
Do pages not load and have 404 errors indicating that the file is missing from the web server? Does the page load but images fail to load leaving a nasty X mark on the page? It won’t be worth getting someone in to fix the page in most cases. It’s better just to do a refresh instead.
18. Animated icons, scrolling or flashing text or background music.
Do we need to say any more here?
19. Links to external sites no longer load.
Do the external links load correctly or have those pages long been moved or deleted by those sites? You don’t want to send your site visitors down a rabbit hole.
20. Is the content current and topical or promoting a sale that ended a year ago?
If the content is old, tired and outdated, it can often mean that the business isn’t even operating any more. Visitors can assume that and not even bother calling up. Having old news showing and nothing current can be a major problem and reduce the number of leads the business receives from their online presence.
21. No visitor tracking information.
Do you know how many visitors come to the site each month? What are the most popular web pages being viewed? What search terms were used to find the web site? Web site analytics can be integrated into a website refresh where the results are easier to track.
If you’ve read this list and seen a few issues for your web site, please get in touch with Off The Peg Design. We’re sure we can help you.