A website is like a house. If you don’t have one, you need one. Whether you buy or build, a house fulfills Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; warmth, rest, security, safety.
If you have a house, it’s most likely going to need to be updated at some point. Sometimes it just needs a fresh coat of paint here and there, but sometimes it’s going to need a complete overhaul, especially if it’s not meeting the needs mentioned above.
The same is true for a website:
- If you don’t have one, you need one.
- If you have one, it will need to be updated.
- If you’ve neglected it for a really long time, you’ll probably need to start back at square one, especially if it’s not meeting your business needs.
Depending on where you are, you might need a brand-new website, a quick website refresh, or a complete website redesign. So, let’s take a look at the differences and when you might need each.
DOES MY EXISTING WEBSITE NEED A REFRESH?
Like adding a fresh coat of paint to your kitchen or replacing your old windows, a website refresh can make your website feel new and perform better.
Here are some ways you can refresh your website without doing a complete overhaul.
IMPROVE THE LOOK OF YOUR WEBSITE
If you just want your website to feel new, give it a little cosmetic update by:
- Updating your header and footer.
- Changing your color scheme.
- Updating your images.
- Adding social media feeds.
- Changing your fonts.
- Adding white space.
DESIGN FOR EASIER NAVIGATION
Navigation refers to how your visitors find their way around your website. It’s not just the menu at the top of your site; it could be links within sidebars or your footer. If the structure of your navigation doesn’t make sense, users won’t find the information they need.
- Streamline your menu: Put the most important items at the beginning and the least important in the middle. “Contact us” should be the last item.
- Add a sticky header: This is a menu that remains visible at the top of the page as viewers scroll so visitors can refer back to it no matter where they are on the site.
- Mobile responsiveness: Your website should be as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a desktop computer.
- Add breadcrumbs: This is a type of secondary navigation scheme that reveals the user's location in a website.
OPTIMIZE FOR LEAD GENERATION
Lead generation means that you’re identifying potential customers and getting the information you need to lead them through the buyer’s journey. Optimizing your site for lead generation means you’re making it easy to capture their information and for them to take the appropriate steps. They don’t know the best way to utilize your services, so you need to show them.
- Update or add Calls to Action (CTAs): Calls to action tell visitors what they should do next. Without them, visitors won’t call you, fill out a form, or subscribe to your newsletter, etc.
- Add live chat: Live chat can improve customer service and make it easier for visitors to interact with your business, even if you’re not available.
- Add landing pages and forms: These are what capture the information you need to stay in touch with visitors. Use landing pages and forms to capture emails, sign people up for events, get newsletter subscribers, or offer up premium content.
- Have a conversion path on every page of your website: A conversion path is the process a visitor follows to become a lead. CTAs, landing pages, and forms all help lead visitors through this process. Have a goal for each page and then use these tools to reach those goals.
FOCUS ON GROWTH-DRIVEN DESIGN
During a website refresh, you might choose to make your changes all at once or roll them out over time. This technique is called growth-driven design and minimizes the risks of traditional web design by applying small changes, systematically, over a long period of time. It focuses on making changes that make an impact by tracking the results of those changes, learning from them, and applying them to the next round of changes. If your website just needs a few updates, this might be a great way to maximize the impact of those changes.
Growth-driven design requires careful planning and strategy. If you want to take a look at your website and create a plan for an impactful refresh, reach out to company that not only loves planning and strategy, but is pretty good at it (that’s us). Through inbound marketing software — and innovative, creative marketing strategies — InVerve can build you a website that helps you get discovered on the web.
WHEN DO I NEED A COMPLETE WEBSITE REDESIGN?
Sometimes, no amount of DIY updates will give you the house, or the website, you want. If the plumbing is out of whack and the roof is leaking and the foundation is crumbling, it might be time to give your home a complete overhaul. If your website isn’t performing the way it should or looks like it’s been there since the dawn of websites, it’s time to completely redo it. Having a house, or a website, isn’t helpful if it doesn’t keep you safe and meet your needs.
Here are some signs you need a completely new website.
It’s Been More Than Three to Five Years Since You Updated
It’s a good rule of thumb to update your website every three to four years so if it’s been longer than that, it’s definitely time to make some changes.
YOUR WEBSITE ISN’T MOBILE-FRIENDLY
More than half of all website traffic now comes from mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, users won’t spend much time on it.
YOUR WEBSITE ISN’T DELIVERING LEADS AND CONVERSIONS
The average landing page conversion rate is about 2.35%, but the top 25% of websites are converting well over 5%. If you don’t have the right tools to convert visitors to leads, your website isn’t doing its job.
YOUR SECURITY FEATURES ARE OUT-OF-DATE
If your website hasn’t been updated in a while, chances are it is NOT secure. If you don’t have an SSL Certificate, your usernames, passwords, credit card information, and any other information stored on your site are at risk. Keep your team and your customers safe with a secure site.
YOUR WEBSITE TAKES MORE THAN THREE SECONDS TO LOAD
If your website takes longer than three seconds (yes, three!) to load, 32% of visitors won’t hang around. Google wants pages to load in under one second and will adjust your search rankings accordingly.
These are just a few of the warning signs that you might need a completely new website rather than just a touch up.
DO I REALLY NEED A WEBSITE?
So, after all of this information you may still be asking yourself…do I really need a website?
Short answer, yes. And here’s why…
Just like humans need a house to satisfy their basic needs for shelter, customers need a website to learn more about your business, answer their questions, and fulfill their need for information. A website also helps build trust and shows a potential customer that you are, in fact, a real business. If you don’t have somewhere for them to get information, you’re not fulfilling their needs, and they will find a company that does.
Here are a few more reasons you should have a website.
SOCIAL MEDIA DOES NOT COUNT AS A WEBSITE
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to social media is that you do not own that channel. Even if you’re successfully connecting with your customers on Facebook or Instagram, you’re at the mercy of the channel owners:
- If they change the algorithm, you could lose viewers.
- If they change the rules, you have to adjust.
- If they shut down, you lose posts, your audience and any traction you may have gained with that platform’s content.
- If you can’t pay for ads, it’s really hard to reach your audience.
- If their servers go down, you’re powerless.
That’s a lot of “ifs” to think about. The problem is, many of these aren’t a question of “if” but “when” they will happen. In March of 2019, Facebook experienced one of its worst outages ever. All of its apps (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp etc.) went out, impacting users around the world. The site was down for 24 hours. If you spend your time on Facebook watching funny videos and reading the news, that’s a nice little break. If you rely on social media for sales, that hurts.
Users are also spending a lot less time on one of the most popular channels, Facebook. Facebook claims that people in 2018 spent 50 million fewer hours on Facebook than they did the previous year.
While you should definitely be using social media to engage with your audience, it should not be your only platform. Don’t rely on social media to meet your business needs; get a website that will work for you.
A WEBSITE GIVES YOU CREDIBILITY
84% of consumers think a website makes your business more credible than simply having a social media profile. When users can easily reach out to your business because your website shows up in Google or offers an easy way to browse your business offerings, they’re more likely to engage with your brand.
- Is your best and most useful digital asset.
- Is open 24/7.
- Can guide customers through the buyer’s journey without you.
- Boosts your SEO.
- Is completely within your control.
- Can hold more information about your business than social media.
Even if you don’t have one, it’s not too late to get started. You can build an amazing website that will impress your customers and help your business grow.
Whether you need a new business website, need to freshen up your existing site, or need to give your current site a complete overhaul, we can help. Your website can make or break a customer experience, so don’t take it lightly. Take some time to study your website, and if you have any questions about your next steps, give us a call.
Topics: web site design, responsive web site, web design, Web site maintenance, website redesign, small business, adaptive website