7 reasons why you really need to update your website

It is easy to underestimate just how important a sales tool your website is or can be. It is available to anyone at anytime, 24/7 and often your website is the very first sales touchpoint you have with a new client, and therefore the first impression potential clients get of your company. If what they’re seeing is unappealing, outdated, or just plain difficult to navigate around, they’ll quickly leave with a decidedly negative opinion of your brand. Remember that it takes about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website, and that opinion determines whether they’ll stay or leave. Trust and respect in your company’s credibility can now be influenced within seconds, all based on that first impression from your website and that is why your website is such an important sales tool.

If your website has an unappealing design with outdated content,  the subconscious connection that people will make is that your company is unprofessional, and they’ll be heading for the back button before they’ve even glanced at what you have to offer. How are your potential new clients supposed to believe you have the modern, innovative product or service they need if your site looks and feels outdated?

Unfortunately, technology waits for no man (or woman) and a website’s shelf life is estimated to only be between 2-3 years. Elements considered best practice in 2017/18, may already be old hat in 2020. Far from just being an online brochure for your business, it is expected that your website must responsively adapt to various screen sizes, include fresh content, and provide an engaging experience for the user. If your website design is left lagging behind your competition, it is quite likely to be costing you more than you realise, in terms of both credibility and even more importantly – leads.

To help you understand if your website is due for a redesign, we’ve outlined seven signs to look for when determining if your web design is out of date and in need of an overhaul.

1) Dated Design & Visuals

• 94% of a visitor's first impression of your website is design related (Kinesis Inc.)• 75% of people admit they judge a business's credibility based on their website (Kinesis Inc.)• 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive (Sweor)

The look of your website can help make a visitor feel comfortable, and establish a sense of trust in your brand. Or equally, if it is unattractive, it can push your visitors right into the arms of your competition in just a click. As technology evolves, so does design. Furthermore, our taste for what is appealing and what is not naturally follows suit. Is your website designed for what is considered appealing today?

  • Compared to competitor’s websites, does your site design and layout look as modern as theirs?
    If its not on the same level, or better, your visitors are probably thinking the same thing about your company.
  • Do the photographs used on your website still represent your brand well?
    Well thought out imagery is key to the appeal of the overall design of your site. If your photography is stretched, low resolution or just a bit kitsch, its a good sign that you’re due for a redesign. Cheesy, obviously-fake or stock photos that you’ve seen on countless other sites will only lower your credibility.
  • Is the content on your website easy to read and understand?
    Has legibility been thought of? is the font and font size appropriate? is there sufficient contrast between the text and the background? You don’t want your site and its content to be a strain on the eyes of your visitors – they’ll just go elsewhere.
  • Are you making the most of the available screen real-estate?
    Modern sites use the full width of the screen, whatever the device you’re using. Is your site working to old screen resolutions and confined to a boxed area in the middle – or worse yet – to the left of the screen? This is particularly noticeable when viewing your website on a desktop or laptop. If so, you know it is time to start considering making a change.
  • Is your site too busy?
    There are several things that were very fashionable years ago. Things like repeating backgrounds were all the rage, but these days are generally accepted to be a distraction to the visitor, and contribute to poor site legibility. There was also a trend of not having any white space and making sure the page was jam packed. Again if everything is tightly crammed into a small area it can be hard to read and people just won’t bother, they’ll end up going to someone else’s site that is easier to follow.
  • Do you use 3 or more different fonts?
    2-3 well thought out and complimentary fonts can work together to enhance your site design and branding, any more and the content can start to become difficult to follow.

2) Inaccurate / Stale Content

• 20% of consumers think that a blog helps establish a company’s credibility B2B• Companies that blog once/twice a month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all (vendasta.com)• 81% of businesses reported their blog as being critical to B2B lead generation. (Nurture)• 62% of buyers say they can make a business decision based on online content alone. (Blue Corona, 2019)

As the saying goes “Content is King!”. The content on your website needs to represent your brand, convey the value of what you offer to the user and enable them to quickly understand that you have the solution to their problem. The content should be benefit-oriented, streamlined and concise. Have another look at your website - are any of the below true? If so, now is the time for an update.

  • The last blog or news article posted on your site was from over a year ago.
    It is important to make the effort to regularly update your website with new and relevant content if you want to be seen as an expert source of knowledge by your audience. How will the latest technology in your industry affect what you can offer? Do you have experts within your business with useful insight on a particular subject? Sharing that knowledge and information will show your potential and existing customers that you are the experts and it will enhance their overall trust in your business.
  • Your website showcases old products and services and is missing core products and services that you do now provide.
    If you’ve made changes to what you do, it’s crucial your website reflects this immediately, as product and service pages are generally some of the most frequently visited pages on your website.
  • Is your content confusing your audience? or is it just plain irrelevant?
    Before publishing any content to your website, remember to always ask yourself – will this be of use to my visitors? and will my audience understand this content? For example, if your vets website listed out the technical specifications of their x-ray machine, would this be a useful information to you? Probably not, unless of course you are a radiology enthusiast.
  • Your dates are… outdated.
    Companies often include date-related information on their website. Whether that might be an amount of experience in a particular industry or a list of awards, this information can quickly become inaccurate and provide the wrong impression if you are not updating your website regularly.

3) It’s NOT responsive

• On average 8 out of 10 consumers would stop engaging with a site if its content doesn't display properly on their device. (Adobe)

In April 2015, Google implemented a change to give preference to responsive websites in their search results, so do be aware that having an older website can negatively affect your search engine rankings. Plus, we all know how annoying it is to have to pinch and zoom in to read content from a website on your phone, or how annoying it is when you’re viewing a site on your phone and you can’t press the phone number and start a call. If this is your site, you run a huge risk of people just not bothering with your site at all.

With the explosion in smartphones over the past decade it seems crazy to think that your website might not cater for users of mobile devices. Your website should be able to adapt to any device without any compromise in quality and performance. The experience on mobile may need to be slightly different, the overall look and feel should be consistent with the desktop version. Did you know that 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online is from a mobile device? Ensuring your site properly optimised for different screen sizes is simply a must.

4) Poor User Experience

• Customers with an unpleasant experience on your website are 88% less likely to return. (Adobe)

As a 24-hour sales tool, it stands to reason that a website should be a primary lead generator for most businesses. If your website is failing to create leads, consider the following:

  • Lack of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
    Put simply, SEO is the practice of optimising your website in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from Search Engines. Years ago, the trend was for web designers/developers to cram 20-100 keywords onto a page, and for a while, it worked a treat. If you still have a site that does that, it is considered “keyword stuffing” these days and you’ll likely be penalised by Google for it. Instead, tell Google exactly what it is that you want to be found for. Research which keywords and terms your audience is searching for when looking for your the products/services you offer and then ensure you use these naturally within your page content. Get your designer/developer to add the appropriate meta titles and descriptions to each page on your site and your chances of ranking well will begin to improve.
  • Call-To-Actions
    Looking at your current site, do you provide users with a next step on every page of your website? Sounds obvious, but approximately 70% of small business websites do not have clear call-to-actions for anything on their homepages. Clarity breeds confidence and is a key factor in turning your web visitors into leads. Once your visitors are on your site, does the content guide them to an action – “Request a Consultation”, “Download our brochure”, “Contact Us”, etc. Remember that website visitors are always looking for that next step.
  • Functionality
    Does your site feature interaction-rich functions that make sense, without the visitor having to think twice? Adding elements that are unfamiliar to your visitor can cause confusion and frustration.
  • Load Times
    Does your website take ‘ages to load’? Today’s society wants everything. Now. Ensuring that your website immediately grabs the visitor’s attention has never been more important. If your website takes a long time to load the content, the delay will cause all but the most patient of visitors to leave.• 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
    • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
    • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.Simply put, a quickly loading site can instantly instil confidence in consumers, and increase your online lead generation.

5) Your site has elements that are no longer best practice

Trends don't last forever, especially in the digital world. Some web elements that were once widely used by designers and developers have become no longer acceptable. Not only can the cause issues with the usability of your site, some can also affect your search engine rankings. Research tells the following elements do not belong on a website today:

  • Flash Animations
    Apple killed Flash… fact. There simply is no iOS safari setting for Adobe Flash since iOS never supported Flash. And Adobe does not even make or support a mobile version of Flash any longer, for any mobile platform. Having elements of Flash on your website today is considered taboo and a big turn-off. If you want to view Flash content, you must first download the player (which can be a cause of frustration for visitors and there have also been widespread reports of fake flash players spreading malware). All in all one to stay well away from these days, plus it actually hurts your website’s search engine rankings!
  • Small page layout
    Have a look at your website on a modern desktop monitor, does the overall layout seem small and its floating in the middle of the screen? If so, the site was designed to old standards for the much smaller desktop screens of yesteryear. Websites that were created within the last 5 years or so will generally have full screen layouts to fill the screen.
  • Image-Based Text
    If most of the text in your site is embedded within an image, this is a big problem for your site’s search engine visibility.
  • Drop Shadows
    This was a big trend a few years ago, but modern web design is flat, clean, and simple. If your site has shadows, gradients, or 3D glassy buttons, it might be time for a change.
  • Number of Visitors Ticker
    A rarity these days but it is an obvious sign that your website is out of date. You don’t need a visitor tracker – Google Analytics does this for you!
  • Sound on load
    We all hate it when you go to a site and a video/audio file immediately starts to play, its perceived as rude, or an annoyance (especially for those looking at the web at work when they’re supposed to be working) and the uninvited sound often has you clicking away from your site immediately. Always give your visitors the opportunity to press play or turn the volume on, rather than force it.
  • Overly long Slideshow
    Having a slider doesn’t mean that your site is out of date, however, do remember that they contribute to your site’s loading speed. If you have a slideshow with more than 3 slides on it, using complex animations, it could be dragging your site speed down and encouraging people to head for the exit before they’ve found out who you are and what you do. Consider using a hero image instead or pare back your slideshow so that it uses less resources to load.
  • Sidebars
    Sidebars on your site, if done properly, can come in handy for guiding visitors to other related areas (particularly within e-Commerce sites). However, in a non e-Commerce setting, having too much content in the sidebar, becomes distracting, and dilutes your content away from your key messages and calls to action.

6) Its NOT generating leads

• 45% of enterprises are investing more than $20,000 on SEO each month. (B2BMarketingZone)• 71% of B2B researchers begin their research with generic Google searches. (Google)• 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process. (Google)• 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. (Google)• On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google)

As the saying goes “Content is King!”. The content on your website needs to represent your brand, convey the value of what you offer to the user and enable them to quickly understand that you have the solution to their problem. The content should be benefit-oriented, streamlined and concise. Have another look at your website - are any of the below true? If so, now is the time for an update.

  • The last blog or news article posted on your site was from over a year ago.
    It is important to make the effort to regularly update your website with new and relevant content if you want to be seen as an expert source of knowledge by your audience. How will the latest technology in your industry affect what you can offer? Do you have experts within your business with useful insight on a particular subject? Sharing that knowledge and information will show your potential and existing customers that you are the experts and it will enhance their overall trust in your business.
  • Your website showcases old products and services and is missing core products and services that you do now provide.
    If you’ve made changes to what you do, it’s crucial your website reflects this immediately, as product and service pages are generally some of the most frequently visited pages on your website.
  • Is your content confusing your audience? or is it just plain irrelevant?
    Before publishing any content to your website, remember to always ask yourself – will this be of use to my visitors? and will my audience understand this content? For example, if your vets website listed out the technical specifications of their x-ray machine, would this be a useful information to you? Probably not, unless of course you are a radiology enthusiast.
  • Your dates are… outdated.
    Companies often include date-related information on their website. Whether that might be an amount of experience in a particular industry or a list of awards, this information can quickly become inaccurate and provide the wrong impression if you are not updating your website regularly.

7) It shouldn't just end with putting the new site live...

• Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (seotribunal.com)• 57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through blogging. (seotribunal.com)• Google Ads results receive 65% of the clicks that started with buying keywords, while organic results only receive 35% (craigmcconnel.com)• 43% of new customers buy something they saw in a YouTube ad. (Contently)

So you've got a shiny new website, lovely isn't it? It took a lot of time and effort both on your part as well as your designer/developer's part but it was totally worth it, the new website is modern, works on all devices, has loads of excellent content and information about your products or services, but how do you now get it out there and start it working hard for your business? There are 160 billion+ monthly Google searches, so how do you start getting some of that to your new site?

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
    Once you’ve created a page or post that the Search Engine deems worthy of directing users to, it can continue to send traffic to your site for months (or even years) after you publish it. 71.33% of searches result in a click on an organic result on the first page. Ever since the rollout of Hummingbird in 2013, Google has increasingly prioritised user intent over the exact keywords used. While keywords are still an important part of SEO, try not to get hung up as much on specific words and phrases. Do your keyword research (or get an expert to do it for you) and let that guide your strategy, but remember to incorporate keywords naturally within the narrative. Write your content in a way that addresses the intent behind them rather than repeating the same exact phrase throughout the text your page.
  • PPC
    If you’ve made changes to what you do, it’s crucial your website reflects this immediately, as product and service pages are generally some of the most frequently visited pages on your website.
  • Blogging
    Before publishing any content to your website, remember to always ask yourself – will this be of use to my visitors? and will my audience understand this content? For example, if your vets website listed out the technical specifications of their x-ray machine, would this be a useful information to you? Probably not, unless of course you are a radiology enthusiast.
  • Your dates are… outdated.
    Companies often include date-related information on their website. Whether that might be an amount of experience in a particular industry or a list of awards, this information can quickly become inaccurate and provide the wrong impression if you are not updating your website regularly.

So, to summarise...

You won't necessarily need to go all the way back to the drawing board, a rebrand doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul of the whole company image, it should be driven by the needs of your particular business. A rebrand could be as simple as creating a new strapline to add focus to the existing brand, or it could be a revamp of the existing logo, keeping some familiar elements that customers associate with the brand. It may be a larger project involving a change of name, logo and involving reconsideration of all of your online and offline customer touchpoints (brochures, websites, email marketing, stationery etc). The key is to keep in mind what your clients or customers think of a rebrand, the benefits of rebranding can be substantial if carried out well.

If this resonates with the issues you're experiencing, then you might want to consider a new website. Here are a few things that you should consider about where to go from here…

Identify your goals

is your website straight out of 2001? Do you need to generate more leads? appeal to new markets? is your content just plain old and irrelevant? setting goals helps to focus your thinking.

Get a professional

There are some areas of marketing and advertising where you can’t afford to skimp, and your website is one of them. Work with the best people you can find or have the budget for.

Generate a buzz

Don’t shock your customers, get your existing customers engaged with the new website. Consider an exclusive offer to get users excited about your changes.

Iterate

Use Analytics to put visitor information and trends at your fingertips, remember your website should be constantly growing, evolving and iterating.

Is it time for a new website?

There are many reasons to consider a new website, and many opportunities and benefits to be had by creating something new and engaging for your visitors. Every business has different requirements and there is no one size fits all strategy for every website in order to gain the desired results. If you are considering a new website, we can help, from the initial planning to the design, build, launch and afterwards. Speak to one of our web design experts on 0117 973 9326 or complete the form below.