A website redesign might sound like a no-brainer, but there are important considerations. A major redesign will impact SEO. It takes time, money and can lead to customer confusion.
At the same time, if a website is long overdue for a redesign, lost sale opportunities, frustrated customers and possible security issues could be standing in the way of your digital success.
These four questions will help you understand why redesigns are important to maximize your online customer experience and become online lead generating machines.
1. Is Your Website Old and/or Outdated?
If it's been more than five years since your last redesign, your website might as well sign up for AARP - it's old. This could result in any of the following:
- Unappealing graphics, typography and layout. The user experience is clunky and dull.
- Outdated information. A lot can change in two years, let alone five. Old logos, irrelevant messaging or missing content for new products or services.
- Broken links and weak CTA's. There are 404 (page not found) errors, broken contact forms or missing call to action prompts. Here’s how to create CTA’s that convert.
If you're using a common content management system (CMS) like Wordpress or Concrete5, an update might be as easy as picking a new theme then updating information. If the website is created by a third-party, a full-fledged redesign will be required to make the necessary updates your site will need to stay in the game.
2. Is Your Website Secure?
No website check is complete without a look at security. Website security is not just about preventing hacks. Security includes content backups, user permissions and privacy. Website security protocols include:
- Installing a secure sockets layer (SSL). An SSL certificate upgrades your site from http to https. Visitors see a small lockbox next to your site's domain name. It's required for credit card processing but it's beneficial regardless. The cost ($50-200) is marginal if it creates a sales opportunity uptick. Not to mention the positive SEO effects - sites with an SSL certificate installed rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPS) than those that do not contain these.
- Automatic backups. Any website without a backup is not secure. If a bad plugin or administrator error deletes your website data, a stored backup will bring it back online. Set up automatic backups through your CMS or hosting provider. If you're unable to set automatic backups, be sure to set up routine manual backups every few months to ensure your data will not be lost.
- Permissions and passwords. Employees can be walking security flaws. Weak passwords are often the reason behind hacks. Make sure you have password protocols whenever going through website maintenance. Similarly, it's important to make sure the proper permissions are in place. For instance, a third-party contractor shouldn't have the same access as an employee.
3. Is Your Website Mobile-First with Responsive Design?
One of the most important questions to ask when evaluating a website - is it mobile first? Designing for mobile users was a "nice to have" feature a few years ago, now it's vital for every website, app, and online tool. Mobile traffic now makes up more than 50 percent of overall internet traffic. Google and other search engines have taken this into account. In 2019, Google announced that mobile-first indexing would be applied to all new websites, and older websites would be moved over to mobile-first over time. In March 2020, they announced mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020. Google's website crawlers look at the mobile version of websites first. If the mobile version is missing content or not working, it's SEO is negatively impacted. There are built-in tools to determine your site's mobile-friendliness, including a free website checker from Google. Along with mobile preview tools and other CMS plugins.
Another trend that works alongside mobile-first is the concept of responsive design. This means a website will adjust to any screen size or resolution. There's a wide range of tablets, smartphones and screens for internet usage. Initially, developers had to maintain a mobile and desktop version of a website. This becomes tedious and expensive. Using responsive design lets you have one website that works across all screen types.
4. Is Your Website Optimized for Speed?
Website load times have always been a significant factor in determining the quality of a website. The rise of mobile has heightened its importance. According to a Google study, a mobile page that loads in one to three seconds increases the bounce probability by 32 percent, if the page loads in one to ten seconds, the bounce probability increases by 123 percent.
The Google PageSpeed Insights test and Pingdom Tools provide load time analysis. Poor load times are attributed to server issues, faulty coding, oversized image or media files and more. These issues must be addressed during the redesign process to ensure your website is fully optimized for the search engines and end-users.
Still not sure if your site needs a redesign? Contact us today for a free evaluation.