January 26, 2024
Your website is where the public meets you. It’s your opportunity to make a great first impression that will bring success. You launch it with pride—but how much attention do you give to how well your website is performing years later? How can you tell when it’s time to think redesign?
If your assessment relies on whether you still like your existing website there’s a good chance you could be missing your opportunities by a bigger margin than you know.
BENEFITS OF A REDESIGN for a website that’s 3-5 years old
Attract New Opportunities
When your goals, services or messaging have evolved, a website redesign allows for a comprehensive review and update of content to ensure its relevance and alignment with your current objectives. This may include rebranding but it also applies to basic efforts to refocus attention if you realize your core message just hasn’t been drawing the crowd you’re aiming for.
A visually appealing and search-optimized website helps set your organization apart from others in your field (particularly others who have new and better websites). It positions your organization as a forward-thinking and professional entity—potentially influencing clients’ decisions when comparing options.
Adaptation to Evolving Trends
Web technologies and design trends evolve rapidly. A website that was cutting-edge 3-5 years ago may now lag behind in terms of features and aesthetics (yes, that quickly). An updated website sends a positive signal to both existing and potential clients that your organization values staying current and relevant in your industry.
Improved User Experience
User expectations are also evolving over time. While your current website may be functional, advancements in web technologies enable a redesign to enhance navigation, streamline workflows, and incorporate new interactive elements that cater to these evolving user preferences—ultimately improving overall user satisfaction. And a positive user experience contributes to building trust and rapport with your audience.
BENEFITS OF A REDESIGN for a website that’s even older (especially much older):
All of the above plus:
Mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage, and users expect seamless experiences across devices. Suboptimal mobile responsiveness results in a significant portion of your audience having a suboptimal experience—leading to users clicking out of your website without browsing at all (aka high bounce rates) and lost opportunities. Consider, too, that search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their rankings, so you’re less likely to show up in search results if your website doesn’t perform well on a phone.
Besides being more liable to breakdowns, websites running on old technology tend to have security issues that expose them to cyber threats. And cyber threats are on the uptick. Older websites are particularly vulnerable to getting hacked and hijacked. Proactively addressing these security vulnerabilities through a website redesign will save you costs in the future.
Users expect fast and responsive websites, and studies consistently show that longer loading times lead to higher bounce rates. Not only do you lose potential visitors, but Google considers page speed as a ranking factor and a slow website will negatively impact your search rankings, reducing your chances of people finding your website when they are searching.
Accessibility and Inclusivity
We are more aware these days of how lack of awareness of users’ differences creates bad experiences. Enhancing accessibility—including ensuring your website works well for sight- and hearing-impaired users—not only expands your audience but also reflects a commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
SUGGESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- User Feedback Exploration:
Do you actively seek feedback from website users? Your own user experience on your website is always suspect—you can find your way around it as easily as you can find your way around your own home in the dark. That’s not the case for others. If you actively ask users to critique your website you’ll learn a lot that you’d not have noticed by yourself. Professional user testers are especially good for this but asking your friends can also be illuminating. Sitting next to someone physically as they navigate through your website (or watching them via a screenshare) can reveal aspects that seem confusing or challenging that they don’t even mention.
- Competitive Comparison:
Have you explored your competitors’ websites recently? “Others in your field” may be a better way of putting this but either way, if you’re not checking in on other websites in your field, you won’t see the improvements in communication and engagement they’re getting by their design, features, and overall user experience.
- Mobile Interaction Awareness:
Have you tried accessing your website on different smartphones and tablets? You probably visit other websites on your phone frequently enough to be aware of the frustration that’s possible with slow-loading sites or poor mobile navigation. It’s worth going through your own website on your phone from time to time—as if you are a new user—and checking to see how easy the experience is (or isn’t).
- Search Engine Discovery:
When was the last time you searched for your organization’s services or products online? If the only way you can find your website is by searching by your website’s official name, that’s a lot of lost opportunity. Most online searches are for something a user needs like a kind of service or product or an answer to a question. If your website doesn’t display in search results for someone searching for the specific kind of work or product that you specialize in, that’s an area you need help with.
SOME STATISTICS TO CONSIDER
- It takes about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they’ll stay or leave—and 94% of first impressions are design-related.
- Nearly half of all mobile visitors will leave a website without browsing if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
- 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
- Mobile devices accounted for over 57.8% of global website traffic in 2023.
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Google’s first page of search results has extended from the original 10 to 59 organic results now but your chances of being chosen still drop considerably as a person has to scroll down. People get tired clicking links.
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 61% of B2B marketers say that SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other marketing initiative.
SO DO YOU NEED TO REDESIGN YOUR WEBSITE?
You may have loved your current website’s design so much you can’t see its current problems. Or see the potential for getting better results from a new well-designed, branded and search-engine-optimized website. There are other websites competing for the attention of your target audience. So if they find your website in the first place, the first second they open your website is your biggest chance to get their attention—and holding their attention after that isn’t guaranteed if they have to struggle to find what they came for.
Here’s a way of looking at it:
If your website is more than 3-5 years old and you’ve either done some data-based testing that reveals issues or you are not conscious of it bringing you as much in the way of serious attention as you could wish for, then you might do well to consider a redesign. Because a well-designed website can do that. It can bring you the clients, fans and audience that your work deserves.
You are welcome to check out some websites we’ve designed recently if it helps to think about this. These particular websites might be for different industries than yours but the principles of good design that work here apply equally to any website: create a good and clear first impression, make it easy for users to understand the whole site straight away, and make it fast, easy and pleasant for them to find and read what they want.