Let’s set the record straight—a bad website isn’t acceptable in today’s business landscape.
In the past, a lot of marketers and organizations have been all about doing “digital strategy” in a very much traditional world. The honest to goodness truth, however, is that we’re now living in a very much digital world and it’s here to stay.
At the forefront of the digital world are digital destinations—this is your website. It’s an online location where both prospects and customers will explore for information. For a prospect, it could be the difference between contacting your company for that proposal or moving onto someone else.
Strategically Crafted Websites Are Important for Every Industry
This isn’t a biased notion. It applies to every industry.
For the brewery, it’s could be the difference between someone going to your location because they got exactly what they needed (hours, growler details, tap list, etc.) or picking another.
For the car dealer, it could be the difference between a car listing that tops the search engine rankings, or one that is getting stepped on by the competition.
Marketing Agencies Are Under the Microscope
Marketing-ish agencies—your heads are on the chopping block as well. You might be reading this nodding your head in agreement, meanwhile, your website is poorly crafted.
Often times, we as agencies are the biggest offenders. And sure, you might be scoring business by word of mouth, but establishing a predictable lead flow with the power of a website behind you is vital to long-term success.
What Constitutes a Redesign?
The above being said, when is it actually time for a redesign? Here are a few situations—if you are experiencing one or any, it’s time for the redesign.
#1: Your Team Has Trouble Using/Managing It
One of the most common paint points I hear from organizations about their websites is that they can’t use them.
They’re not trying to change code—they’re trying to modify copy and images. In most cases, they’re not trying to change the world here. It’s just the simple things.
What they’re facing is usually one of two problems:
- The website isn’t using a Content Management System (CMS)
- The website wasn’t built well
Content Management System (CMS)
The CMS is the mediator between the code and the content. It’s what is used to upload those photos, to add those pages and to modify that copy.
Common “mediators” are WordPress, Drupal, Magento and HubSpot. All of these CMS interfaces provide different sets of advantages. One of the biggest roles they play—outside their advantages—is helping organizations manage their content.
Without a CMS in place, you’re relying on whoever built the website to swap out images and copy. This is commonly a big sign that the website is built purely in HTML and CSS. From a design side, it might look OK, but from a management side, it’s a disaster.
The Website Wasn’t Built Well
This goes for those cases where the website is built on a CMS. Sometimes the website just isn’t built well.
It’s up to the developer to build responsibly. Part of this is to make templates “unbreakable,” where clients won’t accidentally bump something and ruin styling, and easily modifiable from within the CMS of choice.
If if it’s difficult to do simple tasks—like add images places or modify text—it’s a development issue.
Content Independence is Important
A website without an easily managed CMS isn’t ideal for you or your team, especially if you want independence to implement content on your own.
You need to have the capability. You might choose to have your website design partner do the implementing for you, but you should again have the ability to do so if you choose.
#2: Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly (AKA Responsive)
A responsive website is important not only for the end-user, but for overall search engine optimization (SEO).
For the End-User
More than 60-percent of all website traffic is mobile. This means that more than half of your visitors are checking out your website from their phones.
If you’re website isn’t responsive, you’re missing out. You’re also frustrating a majority of the people checking out your website. This frustration could lead to them passing on you or your services altogether.
A website has to transform to the device it’s being viewed on. Whether desktop, tablet or phone, it should change for optimal user experience.
Google is now counting responsiveness in the SEO equation. It makes total sense. A website that isn’t optimized for all devices shouldn’t appear on page one of Google search because it’s not very useful, especially if you’re exploring it on mobile.
Non-Responsiveness Requires Redesign
A non-responsive website is a vestige of a different era of websites.
Although, a non-responsive website can be redeemed, it would take a great deal of work. It often takes so much work that it’s worth the complete redesign.
#3: Your Website Doesn’t Reflect Your Brand
Your brand has to be communicated through the 6 six senses of branding. Branding is experiential. It’s the way your office looks and smells. The way your team dresses, speaks and operates. It’s your main marketing messages, your slogans and everything visual.
Your website should be a central and powerful brand ambassador working on your behalf 24/7 without pause. All too often, however, brands treat their websites like after thoughts. The overall result? A major discrepancy in the way you’re communicating.
Common Website/Brand Discrepancies
The most common inconsistencies include:
- The wrong fonts, colors and logo uses
- Outdated and hard-to-navigate layouts
- Lack of functionality and features
- The use of phony and very “stock” looking images
It’s pretty simple to figure out if your website isn’t aligned with your brand. Ask yourself, are you partly ashamed for people to look at it? Does it truly communicate who you are?
Let’s say for instance you’re a luxury brand. If you have a less-than-luxury website, you’re contradicting your own messaging.
#4: Your Website is Getting Smacked Around by the Competition
You should be properly representing your brand with your website, and you should also be outplaying the competition.
How does your website stack up? Is your website getting smacked around a bit?
If that’s the case, it’s time for a redesign. It’s time to show your competitors what you’re made of.
Don’t Copy—Rise Above
A common pitfall of a website redesign is copying the competition. Copying isn’t going to make you stand out—it’ll just make you blend in with the rest of them.
Use your brand and creativity to rise above your competition. What can you do to make your website better?
#5: Your Website Doesn’t Provide Value to the End-User
A visitor ends up on your website. What causes them to stay is the value your website provides. If there is none then they’re going to bounce immediately. They’ll continue searching for whatever it is they’re looking for.
How Websites Play in the Marketing Process
Prospects make 60-percent of their buying decisions before they pick up the phones to call sales. In today’s digital landscape, prospects are doing the majority of their research online. That’s yet another reason why you need to have a compelling digital destination you’re offering.
At every turn, the website should be value adding. Instead of providing a vague glaze on who you are and what you do, tell your story in full. Talk about your people, your history, your solutions and your processes. Give people something to explore and discover. Help them get to know you and who they’d be talking to if they requested a meeting.
Beyond that, you have to be continuously value adding. What are some pieces of content can you create that can assist in that research process? Is it a blog post like the one I’m writing here? Is it an eBook or video?
Your Website Needs to Be Able to Support Value-Adding Content
If your website isn’t ready to support value-adding content then it’s time to reevaluate the way you’re representing yourself online. Your website should be a hub of useful information about your organization. It should also be a hub of educational resources to help prospects make their decisions.
Now, Go Out and Build An Awesome Website
There you have it. Did any of these signs hit home?
If they did, you’ll probably start looking for a website design company to help out.
If that’s you, here are 13 Traits to Look for in a Website Design Company.