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14 Important Reasons Your Website Needs a Redesign ASAP

Published in SEO on September 14, 2018

There’s a lot of talk out there about needing to update your website regularly. Some people say you should do it every 2-3 years, some say every 6 months, some say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We tend to follow the “ain’t broke, don’t fix” philosophy, but how do you know if it ain’t broke? And if it is broke, how do you know?

There are so many factors that go into good website design and functionality that it can be hard to tell what may or may not be working for you. So, we want to help. We’ve listed out common reasons that a website needs to be updated. Your website might just need a few quick tweaks from your web developer, or it might need a total redesign.

We’ll go over each of these factors in-depth so you can make the best decision for your website.

  1. Navigation
  2. Too Busy
  3. It’s U-G-L-Y
  4. Broken
  5. Not Mobile Responsive
  6. Branding
  7. Design
  8. Content
  9. Technology and Security
  10. Reflection
  11. Business Goals
  12. Conversions
  13. Competitors
  14. Difficulty with Developer

User Experience

User experience is probably the most important thing to focus on when designing - or redesigning - your website. Yes, making sales is important, but you can’t do that without users. Almost everything about your website comes back to user experience. Is it working? Is it easy to navigate? Is it pretty? Yes, that last one absolutely matters! People are totally judging your website by its cover.

What makes up a good user experience? Honestly, everything. But we’ll break it down into a few key points.

Your website is difficult to navigate. If a brand new user can’t find the contact page, they can’t get a hold of you - and what does that do for sales? Maybe it’s hard to find information about your services or products. Simply put, users just can’t find the answers to the questions that drove them to your website in the first place.

Your website might not be difficult for you to navigate, so to determine if this is a good reason for an update, ask someone who is unfamiliar with your site to try finding different bits of information on it. If they can’t, that’s a pretty good indicator that you need to make some changes.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

Don’t fret - site navigation can be a fairly simple fix that doesn’t always require an entire site redesign. If you have a good content management system, or CMS (more on this to come), then generally you can get away with simply updating the menu and some content on your site.

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2. Too Busy

A busy website can contribute to poor navigation, and a little more redesign might be necessary if this is the case for you.

Flashing lights, automatic videos, colors that are way too bright, loud music, and HUGE fonts are not helpful. This isn’t MySpace, and it’s certainly not a rave (unless your business is a rave venue, then ONE of these features might be acceptable).

Are there lots of distracting images, ads, or videos that take away from the goal of the website? You don’t want items on your website to distract the user from the conversion flow - you always want to offer them something valuable (like helpful or entertaining content) and offer a call-to-action that will drive them toward a conversion.

Too many links can be distracting too. Only place a link where it makes sense and is helpful to offer more relevant information.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

A busy website is definitely an indicator that you need at least some things updated. It can be as simple as removing some of the busy, distracting features from your site. But if removing these leaves your website bare and boring, you should consider a redesign that emphasizes your important content.

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3. It’s U-G-L-Y

If nobody wants to look at your website, then it’s time for a redesign. People are visual creatures. We want something that is appealing to look at whether it’s our food, car, clothes, books, or even the websites we browse.

A bright yellow website with bold, red text and a decades-old view counter is not going to cut it. Generally, you know if your own website is not visually appealing, but sometimes it is difficult not to be biased. So, ask family, friends, and even complete strangers what they think of your website and how it looks.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

An ugly website can be fixed with a few small tweaks - change the background and text colors, update the font (no Comic Sans, puh-leez!), add in a few nice images and you’re already much better off. If your current CMS makes it difficult to update these or if you don’t have a CMS, then a new website should be next on your priority list.

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4. Broken

Obviously, a broken website means that something isn’t quite right and that your users are definitely not being served with the optimal experience. If some of the features of your website like a contact form, navigation links, images, or anything else is broken, you either need to check with your web developer to fix them or upgrade to a new website with less problems.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

This all depends on which features are broken. Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking your web developer to go in and test and fix your contact form. Or you can go into your CMS and update broken links. However, if you are consistently getting feedback from customers about broken pages or find yourself frustrated with how often your website fails to work, you should probably go for the total redesign.

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5. Not Mobile Responsive

A mobile responsive website is made so users can have a good web experience from their phone or tablet. Responsive websites are created to render well across a variety of devices. Some features of a responsive website include content served at various sizes (according to the device) for optimal loading speed and mobile menus for a good overall mobile experience.

Not sure if your website is responsive? Try pulling it up on your phone and clicking through it. You can also check Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how well your website is performing on mobile devices according to Google. If the mobile optimization or speed is in the red zone, this tool will give you some recommendations for improving that.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

If you find yourself getting frustrated at the slow speed, poorly laid-out text, or inability to navigate the site, then an upgrade to a more responsive site is the way you need to go.

On the other hand, if your website is responsive, but you’re still finding that your page speed is slow, you should try optimizing your images for pagespeed improvements to see if that helps.

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Outdated

It’s great if your website has lasted you years and years, but at what point does your website become outdated? Trends and styles change, technology advances, and unless you’re moving forward with the times, you’re falling behind. Many factors other than time also contribute to an outdated website.

6. Branding

Outdated branding is usually due to changes in design trends and a matter of what is visually interesting to consumers. If your logo, colors, and overall design don’t feel “modern”, that’s probably because they aren’t. Beyond just changing to keep up with the trends, it’s important to update your branding because people get bored seeing the same thing over and over again. Brand awareness is great, but at some point, consumers become too used to seeing your brand to the point that they just pass it over.

Think about how the packaging of your favorite soda has changed over the years - the size, label, and even medium were probably updated at some point. Even your average, everyday products, from laundry detergent to toothpaste, undergo facelifts in their branding many times throughout their distribution. If they didn’t, the products would get boring and people would try something else just for a change of scenery. But when the branding changes, it keeps things interesting and more appealing. You should treat your website’s branding the same way.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

Outdated branding usually involves a larger redesign. If you need to update your branding, you are generally updating your entire look. Sometimes, if your website still has a fairly current layout, you can keep the bones of it and update the content, colors, and fonts to match your new branding.

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7. Design

Outdated website designs can definitely be due to outdated branding, but often it’s a little more than that. Take a look at some newer websites and take note of features that they have that your website doesn’t. New trends are always emerging in the web design industry, and whether you like it or not, it’s important to keep up with them.

Now, we’re not saying that you need to implement every new design trend you see into a redesign of your website, but if your current website feels flat and boring compared to newer sites, that’s probably because it is. So find a few new features that you can implement to keep it interesting.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

If the entire design of your website is outdated, your best bet is to redesign the entire thing. Sometimes a brand new website is easier than updating every outdated feature. However, you can make small tweaks to update some features and give your website a more modern feel if you can’t swing a full redesign at the moment.

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8. Content

When was the last time you reviewed the content - text, images, video - on your website? Is it all still accurate and up-to-date? Are any of the links on your site broken? Are you able to edit the content at all?

Updating your website’s content on a regular basis is not only important for giving your users the most current information but also for the sake of SEO. Google doesn’t like stagnant websites, and it rewards websites who offer more value to their users. If a competitor adds some new helpful information and your website remains the same with old content, that competitor will likely be rewarded with better search engine rankings and user engagement.

Content is something that doesn’t require a complete website redesign UNLESS you don’t have the ability to edit content on your website through a good content management system (CMS).

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

If you have a good CMS already, then you can usually go in and refresh the content yourself without having to build a new website. But if you don’t have the ability to update your content - your website is definitely not current enough and a redesign is in order.

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9. Technology and Security

If the technological features of your website are outdated or don’t work, that’s a pretty good indicator that it’s time for an upgrade. Technology is constantly evolving, and if you want to keep up with your competitors, it’s important to keep your website up to date - especially if any aspect of your business is eCommerce.

An important security feature that everyone should have on their website is an SSL certificate. This feature allows you and your website’s users to securely send information (contact form, payment info, etc.) to your hosting server, protecting it from potential threats.

Google is now displaying when websites do not have this secure encryption by labeling them as “Not Secure”.

That’s really not the first thing you want users to see when they visit your website.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

Unless it’s a simple button, contact form, or other small feature that needs a quick fix, you should probably just upgrade your website to the latest and greatest to avoid malfunctioning tech. An SSL certificate can be added without having to redesign your website.

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It’s Just Business

Oftentimes, a redesign of your website is necessary because of changes in your business or industry. If your business undergoes a branding change, implements new departments, isn’t getting enough online conversions, or changes its purpose, think about how potential customers will be affected if those changes aren’t reflected on your website. Talk about inconsistency!

If your website just isn’t working with your business, then you know it’s time to make a change.

10. Reflection

Is your website a reflection of your business? If consumers get to your website and don’t recognize that it’s you, then your website is not doing its job. Your website is the 24/7 version of your business that people can go to anytime to gather information and pull them further along in the buyer’s journey. But if your website doesn’t feel or look like it’s even the same business they visited in person, that could very well be the end of the line for them.

Branding is important! Make sure it is consistent across all platforms - especially your website. Can’t tell we like branding...can you?

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

In all seriousness, your website is just an extension of your business and it should feel that way. If it doesn’t, then a redesign is essential. Sometimes, you can update the content and the messaging to be more in-line with your business without a total redesign.

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11. Business Goals

A website should help you reach the goals for your business. A website isn’t just something to put up simply because everyone else does (although that’s true too - it’s a total bandwagon that you need to be on). But a website should serve a purpose within your business. If your website is not helping you reach your business objectives or if your business objectives have changed since the last update of your website, it’s time to make some changes.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

This definitely depends on the goals of your business and your website. But if your website is not correlating with the larger goals of your business, it’s time to take a hard look at considering a redesign - and make sure you let your web designer know why!

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12. Conversions

A number of factors can contribute to a lack of online conversions, but sometimes there are inherent problems with your website that limit conversion opportunities. Any of the previous problems mentioned can contribute to issues with conversion rates, so it’s important to take note of what updates your website might need so you can maximize your conversion opportunities.

One possibility for not obtaining conversions is that your website isn’t being found. Now, there are a lot of factors that go into search engine optimization, but some websites just aren’t good for this. They might lack the ability to update content easily, have too much in the code to load quickly, or lack features that contribute to a better user experience.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

If you are not seeing conversions from your website (and there is nothing about your business model that is preventing these), then you should take a look at each possible factor that could be contributing to it. (Hint: look at all the points in this article.) If you have more than a few small changes to make, it would be wise to consider getting a new website that allows for maximum conversion potential.

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13. Competitors Got a New Site

Okay, just because your competitors refreshed their look doesn’t mean that you have to - especially if you have a really good website already. But keep an eye on your competitors’ websites. Monitor their web traffic with a tool like SEMrush.

If, or when, they get a new website, take note of any new features or information that they are offering that you might not be. If these new features speak really well to your target consumers, then it might be worth following your competitor’s lead. And, if their traffic increases after they make a huge website update, that could be a good indicator that they’re doing something right.

Updating your website is sometimes just a necessary evil to stay in the game long term.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

Don’t redo your website simply because your competitors did. But be smart about it and take note of new features and styles that they might be using, especially if their online traffic seems to pick up. Add similar features to your website or do some research on new website trends in your industry that will give your consumers the optimal experience.

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14. Difficulty with Developers

Sometimes you just cannot get a hold of your web developers to save your life (or the life of your business anyway). Whether you were working with a recent college graduate who found a job, an agency that is having trouble keeping up with their workflow, or any number of reasons for your web developer to be unreliable, it might be time to move on.

Finding a reliable web developer who will always be available - within reason - when you have a question or concern about your website is so important. Even if you are simply unhappy with the work that you have seen from them, that is a good enough reason to find someone new. After all, they work for you, not the other way around. You should be satisfied with their service.

Small Tweak or Total Redesign?

If you don’t have access to your website files, can’t get a hold of your web developer for more than a few weeks, or are simply unhappy with your website, it might be time to start fresh with a new website and a new relationship. On the other hand, if you do have a good website but are just unhappy with the service of your web developer, you can try to transfer the hosting of your website and all of its assets to another developer that you can rely on.

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Conclusion

Determining when to build a new website is not always an easy decision. There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into it. You want to make sure you have the right people on your team to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

If you’ve found that your website has several of the issues that we’ve mentioned, then we would highly recommend getting a new website built rather than focusing on fixing each little problem (which might cost you more in the long run).

Not in a place where you can justify a new website? Focus on fixing your top issues and start planning now for the redesign that you need. Set up a savings plan and research new developers and designs so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when it’s finally time.