If you’ve been in business long enough, you’ve probably seen fresh, shiny new websites and thought, “I wish mine looked like that!” You may be tempted to spring for a new website just because you’ve seen something else you like better, or you’re tired of your current design. However, you may be wasting your hard-earned money. Your current website may already be strong, so why tamper with a winner? There are deeper, more crucial reasons than “how it looks” to go for a new website. Let’s examine seven solid reasons to take on this large project.
1. Your current website doesn’t reach your prospective customers.
If you have a website, yet most of your customers come to you through referrals, through phone calls, or through the door, you may be missing out on more. In fact, there may not be a more compelling reason to plan for a new website than this one. What’s needed here is research into how your customers found you, how they use the internet, and how people like them would find businesses or nonprofits like yours on the web. All of this information would help you plan a new website that addresses their needs and most likely can be repaired through some good, thoughtful search engine marketing work.
2. Your current website has grown unchecked or has had many different people adding to it.
Keeping your website logically organized is an essential, but often overlooked, need for your website visitors. But sometimes, pages and content get thrown wherever they can, and not in the most logical place from your customers’ perspective. It may be time to examine your website through your customers’ eyes and streamline and reorganize its content. It’s also a great idea to appoint one person or a small team to be in charge of the website. This way, new content will be added methodically, and old content can be updated or removed, all keeping your website organized and easy to use.
3. Your current website doesn’t maintain consistency across its pages.
A consistent look and feel on all of your website’s pages doesn’t just make your website look prettier. It serves two deeper purposes in your marketing plan and in your site’s usability. Consistency reinforces your branding image and message, and it also signals to your website visitors that they are still on your website, no matter what page they are on. If your website has been around for a long time, you may have this problem, and a new website is definitely in order.
4. Your current website is not user friendly or easily accessible.
5. Your current website is not standards-compliant.
This may not seem like an important consideration or an obvious reason to update or redesign a website, but just scratching the surface here reveals its deep consequences. There is no requirement that your HTML markup (this is the code that contains the content of your website) must be standards-compliant; in fact, using software such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver often leads to non-compliant code. However, compliance ensures the following:
- Search engines can access and index your website more easily.
- Your website is “future-proof,” meaning that as technology changes, your website will still render properly.
- Users with varying abilities and technologies can access your information more easily.
- Your website probably won’t take up as much bandwidth, making it faster to download.
Standards-compliance is a true positive step forward for your website and must be a consideration for any serious website redesign.
6. Your current website doesn’t work toward your company’s/organization’s mission or vision.
Perhaps your mission has changed since your current website was launched, or perhaps your first website was built by someone who didn’t consider these important components of your business or nonprofit. This is an excellent reason for a new website! When the economy is tough, every marketing dime needs to be on point and on message. Start planning a new website that helps meet your mission.
7. Your customer’s needs or market trends have shifted.
The inevitable shifts in the marketplace, whether due to changes in technology, economy, or cultural tastes, translate into a good, hard look at your business or organization. You may find that your marketing message, your business model, or even your mission need to be changed. Don’t forget that as your business needs grow and change, your website should also reflect those changes. Make plans to bring your website along with you!
Any one of these signs is a good reason to update or redo your website. Each one can lead to more customers and more success. But if your website is already strong on all of these fronts, consider leaving well enough alone and keeping more money in your pocket.