It's not great to feel old. It's even worse when you appear old. So do you really want your website to get to that point?
The internet is constantly changing. A website that was top-of-line even a few years ago suddenly feels outdated, difficult to manage, or just not up to snuff. That's when you know it's time for a website revamp.
A bad website can kill your business. Once conversion rates are down or customers start to complain, you know you have a problem. At that point, it might be time to seriously think about a website revamp.
When Orbit Media did some research, they found that the average lifespan of a website is just over 2.5 years. So don't default to thinking it's not yet time for a replacement. That time comes quicker than you might anticipate.
The good news is that you can do something about it. So let's walk through that "something." We'll start with the signs you need to look out for to signal a website revamp, before digging into next steps once those signs begin to appear.
Table of Contents: Website RevampChapter 1: The 7 Signs It's Time for a Website Revamp
Chapter 2: 3 Next Steps to Kick Off Your Website Revamp
Conclusion: Conclusion: In With the New (Site)
These are your red flags. If one appears, start looking for some others. If you see more than one, jump to the next steps about redesigning websites. Here we go:
1) Your Conversions and/or Online Sales are Down
When your visitors like what they see on your site, they tend to take the next step that gets them closer to their goals. That might be subscribing to a newsletter, becoming a lead, or buying something online.
When those conversion rates and sales drop on your current website, you're in trouble.
To be clear: there are a number of reasons your conversions might be dropping while traffic is staying relatively the same. But your website design and set up might be among them. So it's at least worth investigating further.
When your design, content, or user experience is bad, your users don't trust you. They don't want to give you their information, and certainly don't want to buy from you. It might be time for a website revamp.
2) Your Customers are Complaining
Conversion rates dropping are tangible metrics. But it also helps to pay attention to the intangible, like the complaints you hear from your website visitors.
Remember: customer satisfaction is paramount. They'll tell you when they're unhappy, and you should listen when that happens. If they're not enjoying their user experience, it needs to improve.
Customer complaints about your website can result from a number of reasons, many of them appearing below. But it's also important to remember that they're not always able to articulate them.
Yes, they might be mad because the site doesn't work well on mobile devices or is slow. But they might express it simply by saying they didn't get what they wanted to. Listen to both the specific and general complaints when considering a web revamp.
3) Your Bounce Rates are High
You know that feeling when you show up to something, it just isn't what you expected, so you bounce? The digital equivalent of that is your website's bounce rates.
Put simply, this metric describes the percentage of customers who land on your website, but exit it without ever navigating onto a page that's different from the one they landed on. In other words, a single page convinced them that your site wasn't what they needed, so they moved on without converting or otherwise learning more about you.
That actually happens a lot. A bounce rate of about 50% is still considered acceptable in most industries. Above that, though? You might need to redesign the website.
Visitors who bounce don't like what they see. They're frustrated by the content, the design, or the overall user experience. In some cases, a simple tweak can help. In others, though, a comprehensive website revamp is necessary.
4) Your Website Design is not Mobile-Friendly
Building your site for smartphones and tablets is no longer optional. It's 2020; about half of all online traffic comes from mobile devices, and industries like entertainment and travel are seeing particularly high click-through rates on mobile.
Your website needs to account for that fact. When it doesn't, you risk alienating your customers and depressing your conversion rates.
That means being mobile-first, not just mobile-accommodating. Benchmarking tools like Google's Mobile Friendly Test can be a great resource to help you gauge your website's ability to fly high in this area.
5) Your Website is Slow (or Slowing Down)
When your website slows down, it might be time to put it out to pasture. Almost half your audience expects your website to load in 2 seconds or less, and the rest is not much more patient. If it doesn't, you might be looking at lost revenue.
That's not an exaggeration. Search Engine Journal notes that 70% of customers say slow load times affect their purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, every second delay results in a 7% loss of conversions and 16% decreased customer experience.
So yes, your website slowing down is a major red flag. Use slow load times as a major reason why you might be looking at a website revamp.
6) You're Starting to Uncover Technical Problems
On an even simpler level, you might just need an update because what's under the hood doesn't perform well anymore. When you uncover major technical problems, think about a redo.
Those technical problems might include pages not loading, forms not working, and 404 errors. It might be a website design using Flash, which doesn't tend to work in modern browsers. Or it might simply have gotten infected with malware.
Third-party integrations are another potential problem. If you need plugins like calendars or lead generation forms to work, but your website simply cannot accommodate them, look for a website revamp that helps you solve those technical issues.
7) Your Site is Difficult to Manage
Let's turn inward to the last red flag. All of the above signs are about your audience. But you also matter! If you can't manage your website well enough, think twice about keeping it going.
Your website needs to be agile. It needs to be able to grow with you, remaining flexible as you explore new types of content or opportunities like eCommerce.
Older websites tend to be built using static HTML code, which requires fluency in two programming languages (HTML and CSS) even for simple updates. Modern websites are powered by content management systems, which build on an existing design to make content updates easy and straightforward.
No technical expertise required. You can even add multiple managers to the site, further streamlining updates. You need that flexibility as your business evolves.
Have you noticed some of the problems above for your own website? Uh-oh. You might want to think about what to do next. Or, even better, read what we'd recommend for those next steps.
This doesn't have to be complicated. It should be comprehensive, though. These action steps can help you get your website revamp done right.
Step 1: Survey Your Top Customers
As always, it starts with your audience. You need to understand their needs before you can begin to think about your own when planning a website redesign.
Remember that your website's first and most important goal is to earn you business. You can only earn that business if you make your customers and visitors happy. That's why you need to start with an understanding of what drives them.
For Direct To Consumer Brands
For B2C organizations, that might mean a survey form that helps you understand their needs, pain points, and expectations. Actually, we have a sample you can use as a reference point:
For B2B Brands
For organizations that target business buyers, it's more about individual relationships. The buying cycle is longer and more complex. So a 1on1 call or interview with a few key accounts may work better than a broad, generalized survey.
Either way, your goal is the same: find out what they enjoy most about their company. Understand their experience with your company, through all your channels.
Then, ask for feedback specifically related to your website design. What do they currently like? Where do they get stuck? What are the biggest improvement opportunities you might be able to leverage on a website revamp?
This is your opportunity to get some honest, straightforward answers for your new website. Hold on to them; they'll come in handy in future steps.
Step 2: Compare Responses to Your Website
You've got the insights. Now, what do you do with them?
First, analyze them. Make sure you truly understand what your customers are trying to tell you. Look for both trends and outliers to understand exactly what paths you need to pursue on your new website.
Then, start laying out those priorities against your existing website. How well are you hitting on the points that your customers like? Are you truly getting across the features that make your business unique?
The opposite part of the analysis is just as crucial. Can you find consistent themes in the areas your customers don't like? Where could you get some easy wins through quick improvements?
Finally, think through your audience's general likes and dislikes about your business. Look for opportunities to connect those directly to your website in order to make it more beneficial to them and their pain points.
Heads-up: this is not an easy process. It requires diligent analysis and the ability to translate that analysis into real improvements. But it's a crucial step to help you understand both where you stand and where you want to (and need to) go.
Step 3: Assess Your Capabilities for the Revamp
You have your end goals, and the plan for a new website that your customers would consider the dream. At long last, it's time to figure out how exactly you can get there.
Above all, that means figuring out your options in actually getting that website revamp done. Because, as it turns out, you have more than one.
First, you can try to handle it with your own, in-house team. You'll need professionals experienced enough to handle project management, design, and development requirements. And you need to be confident in the end result.
If that's not an option, the next option might be hiring a freelancer. It's usually the least expensive option and offers a good amount of flexibility. But you're also a bit limited in the scope of the project and tied to a single individual.
Alternatively, you can hire an agency. Especially a specialized web design agency might be a great fit—if you have the budget for it. If you do, you can typically rely on a dedicated team helping you build that website.
If you do go with the agency options, you might need (or want) a web redesign RFP. Make sure you get it right to actually help you find the right partner.
Which of these is the right choice?
Check out our Website Redesign Guide. It gives you everything you need to know about your options.
Yes, taking a comprehensive look can be tedious. It might even be painful. But that doesn't make it any less necessary to redesign a website.
The internet moves fast, and so does your audience. Can your website keep up? If not, a website revamp should be a serious consideration.
Once you internalize the above seven signs, you can check for them regularly. If more than one pops up or can't be fixed by a simple repair, a revamp begins to enter the equation.
When that's the case, don't hesitate or dwell on the resources you'll need. Instead, look at the positives. Think about the additional revenue and customer satisfaction, not to mention the improved management capabilities you'll have.
And then, jump in to get started. Follow the above three steps to dive into that redesign and transform your online presence.
Over to you: have you come across websites that were seriously in need of a revamp? And have you ever thought about translating those thoughts to your own web presence? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let's talk.