How do you know when it’s time for your business to get a new website? Use our guide to help you look for the signs that tell you it’s time to start planning for a new site.
The pages don’t reflect what you do as a business
When you had your website built, you spent ages working out your site structure and what pages should be included. At the time, it reflected exactly what you did as a business.
But you’ve moved on.
Looking at the site now, the prominence of the pages is all wrong and there’s whole sections that shouldn’t even be there.
A tidy up might be an option, but are you just “polishing a turd”?
Your site doesn’t work on a phone or tablet
The MD calls you into her office. She’s just twigged that your website doesn’t work on her shiny new iPhone 6 and she’s demanding answers. Never mind that you’ve been mentioning it for the past 18 months – she can’t access it on her new toy and something has to be done, dammit!
In July 2015, we reached a tipping point; more people now access the web on a mobile device (i.e. a phone or tablet) than on a desktop. If your site doesn’t work properly on those devices, you’re losing customers.
Give your site a spin on your smartphone. How’s it look?
You shouldn’t have to pinch to zoom, or turn the phone to read content. You should be able to navigate easily with your finger or thumb. How easy is it to fill in your contact form?
The design of the site doesn’t fit your business
When you look at your site, do you get all nostalgic? Does it reminder you of happier times a few years ago? Is it slowly developing a retro look?
A bit like the structure and pages, the aesthetics of the site might not reflect how you want your business to look to your potential customers any more. What opinion will they form about your business when they look at your site? If the style of your site makes you wince when you look it, you should think about a redesign.
There’s one other thing to consider whilst we’re on the subject;
Could it be that your brand identity’s also out of date? ‘Cos a new website design can fall flat on its face if your brand isn’t working. Don’t be scared to be open-minded about what might be needed to give your business the profile it deserves.
You’re embarrassed to give out your website address
If you’re no longer proud to give out your website address, or you’ve started qualifying the statement with “…but we’re planning to get a new one”, it’s a sure sign you’re due a redesign.
Your website should be a key part of your marketing.
You should be directing prospects to it knowing it’ll improve your chances of making a sale – not worrying it’ll harpoon your sales pitch quicker than a Japanese whaler.
You prefer your competitors’ websites
Be honest – are you falling behind?
Your competitors might redesign their own website at any time of course, and you shouldn’t react every time one of them does. But…
If you’ve got to the point where nearly all your competitors have better sites than you – and not just the forward-thinking ones, but the “slow coaches” too – you really have to start thinking about a redesign.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What will they think when they see your site alongside your rivals?
You want to grow your business
You’ve got ambitions. You’ve got a plan.
If your website doesn’t fit those plans, you need a new one.
Growing your business usually means getting more customers. To get more customers, your website should be planned and built from the ground up, and include an online marketing strategy too.
To achieve that, you need to:
- Identify who your target market is
- Work out how they go about finding what you sell
- Research how you need to structure your site to get good visibility on search, social media or whatever channels you worked out in step 2
- Write content to fit
- Go get a new website designed
You want to move into new markets
Bill’s been selling bathrooms for 20 years. His customers have always wanted decent products, good service, and a competitive price. But as the years have gone by, margins have got smaller and smaller and business has got tougher and tougher.
Bill decides to change tactics, and wants to start selling bespoke-designed bathrooms to wealthier people with deeper pockets; fewer customers, but better margins.
Everything’s in place to operate the new business model, and he’s already made several sales. The time’s right to target his new customers.
But what Bill’s realised is that these new customers have a different set of criteria for choosing their supplier. They ask different questions and have higher expectations.
Bill’s website – designed to appeal to his old customers – isn’t working any more. It’s like Frank Butcher trying to sell Bentleys to the Chelsea set – it just doesn’t fit.
He needs to start again, and plan a website that meets (or exceeds) his new customers’ expectations and makes him look the part.
You can’t update it, or you have to wait ages for someone else to update it for you
Top of the list of things guaranteed to create a bad impression to new customers is a site that hasn’t been updated for a long time.
If your website’s going to work hard for your business, it needs to be current and relevant. If you can’t update your site yourself, or you can’t rely on your web designer, it’s time to look for a new arrangement.
A content management system (CMS) gives you control over the bits of your site you need to update the most. For everything else, you need a good relationship with a reliable supplier.
Are you seeing the signs?
If you recognise any of these signs, then I’d say yes, you need a new website.
Now you’ve made the decision, the next step is to start planning your new site, ready to brief a designer/developer/agency to put it together for you.
For more hints and tips, read our other blog posts about planning a website project: