Many small business owners may not think they need a new website, because they currently have a website that seems to work perfectly well. It appears on the screen when summoned. It says the things it’s supposed to say. It doesn’t make your computer explode. But there are many more things to consider when considering what to consider about your website, such as professionalism. Often times a small business will take great pride in their brick-and-mortar location while ignoring their website. Here are five ways you can determine if your current website needs a redesign.
1) It Looks the Same as it Did 5+ Years Ago
There is a handy website that catalogs and preserves the entire web called Archive.org. They’ve been doing so since the 90s! What this means is that, with their “Wayback Machine” tool you can go “back in time” to see how a website looked in the primordial days of the Internet. You can also track how a website evolved over time. For instance, I used to work for a company called FramesDirect.com, undoubtedly the best online eyewear retailer. Here’s a screen shot of their site currently:
It’s clean, simple, elegant. Now here, thanks to the Wayback Machine, is what their website looked like on this same day back in 2013:
Sure, that’s not a complete dumpster fire, and at the time it was actually a top-notch design, but things change, and people’s expectations change. Look how busy and jumbled this older design is compared to the newer one. What the hell are you supposed to be doing on this page? Everything?! By comparison, the old site doesn’t look as trustworthy as the newer site and simply because it looks dated. Would you trust a company that doesn’t care enough about their image and reputation to bother revamping their website? Nope. Me either.
2) It’s Broken
Missing pages. Missing images. Malware infestation warnings. If your site is like this – in a state of retched virtual disease where it’s barely crawling on the floor gasping for bandwidth and begging to be moved to the recycle bin – you may shrug it off and say, “Eh, no one really visits my website anyway.” Well, of course not! One look at a website that’s falling apart at the seams and I click the back button in my browser faster than you can say, “Wow, this site’s in rough shape so I’m going to click the back button immediately in hopes that my own computer doesn’t hold a grudge against me.”
Fix that website and you may see an increase in leads from it. And while you’re at it – since a broken website is usually guilty of point #1 above – get the entire thing redone! Not to mention, that having a slick, modern website that works is something to be proud of, so you can proudly promote it on your business cards, t-shirts, window etchings, cloud writing formations, etc.
3) It Doesn’t do Anything
What does your website do? Is it just a static virtual brochure loaded with information? Well, that’s good, but a website shouldn’t just tell people about the business, it should let them interact with it. I don’t mean they should be able to challenge your website to a game of Asteroids (although that would be pretty cool), but they should be able to do something with it beyond simply reading text. Can they download your restaurant’s menu? Can they send you a message directly from the website? Can they chat live with a representative from your company? Can they actually buy products directly from your website? If you sell physical goods you are missing out big time if you aren’t allowing people to buy products directly from your website. With a modern ecommerce site you can easily bring your entire inventory online, and this includes built-in monitoring of things like sales, costs, stock quantity, etc.
4) Your Site is not Responsive on Mobile Devices
“So what does a responsive site mean, exactly?” I can hear you thinking. Well, that makes two of us. Hang on while I Google it real quick. Haha! Just kidding! A responsive site means a site that adjusts to varying screen sizes so as to always look good on any device. Your site may look nice and comfy on a big desktop monitor, but what about on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet? If your site doesn’t adjust itself to fit the screen then this can cause many problems that will drive people away: 1) The text will be too small to read. 2) Links will be too small to tap. 3) The site simply won’t fit and users will not be able to see important content. This typically results in users smashing their expensive smartphones against the wall. Nobody wants that to happen.
Let’s take another look at FramesDirect.com on mobile. Here’s a few pages of their current site as viewed on a mobile device:
Notice how the content has re-arranged and re-sized itself so it fits nice and neat within the smaller window dimensions. Here’s that 2013 version of their site on mobile:
Yikes! This old site is less useful on a mobile device than a ball peen hammer in a LASIK operation! Most of the site doesn’t even fit on the screen. This is because their website didn’t respond properly to the smaller screen size and adjust itself.
5) YOU Can’t Use Your Website
Can you update your own website? I’m not talking about making massive changes to code or design, but how easy is it for you to update information or add new information? When you try is the process more confusing and intimidating than trying to calculate NASA rocket trajectories with a Speak-N-Spell? Is it even possible to update your website? If you have to go through a webmaster just to update your business hours and write up some updated product information then you need a new website! One that not only your visitors enjoy using, but you enjoy using! Your site should be built on a solid and intuitive CMS (Content Management System) which allows you to make changes yourself as needed. Sure, you may not actually want to make these changes yourself. You are an incredibly busy small business owner already after all! But your site should allow for someone to easily make minor changes and updates. And not only do you want your site built on a good CMS, you want one built on a widely used and trusted CMS like WordPress. This way, it’s easy to get new people on board to help with the website. WordPress is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to find people who are already familiar with how it works.
There you have it. Five reasons why you really should redesign your outdated, broken, useless website. Naturally, we’re here to help! Just drop us a line for a custom quote and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible!
Tracy is the Design Manager here at Redwood Creative. She’s been designing amazing graphics and web layouts for large and small businesses for upwards of 7 years.