When was the last time your company’s website was redesigned? For a lot of companies, a website is an afterthought – something that these companies think won’t need a lot of work to keep it up to date. However, like any other marketing materials you use, your website needs frequent review and updating to ensure it’s staying current – not only to keep it up to date with your current marketing messages, but also to keep up with web and design standards.
As a general rule of thumb, I believe that websites should be revisited at least every 3 years. Both design trends and web technology grow and change so quickly on the web, that by the time 3 years have passed, your website starts to look and act dated. A little freshening up of your website design could be what is standing between you and the ability to really connect with customers.
What are some signs to look for that would indicate you need to redesign your website?
Your website isn’t optimized so it works well on mobile devices or tablets.
In Canada, 54%of our entire population are active mobile internet users (source: we are social). In 2014, the number of website page views that were done on a mobile phone went up 41%from the previous year. There’s no reason to believe that this percentage won’t continue to grow for the next few years. In fact, the mobile experience has become so great that in late April of this year, Google updated their search algorithm to give precedence to websites that could be displayed well on mobile devices (including tablets, smartphones and wearable tech).
If your website isn’t optimized to be viewed on more devices than just a desktop computer, there’s a very good chance that you are losing business because of it. Not only will it be harder to find your website when searching Google on a mobile device, but people who have also grown accustomed to using sites that work well on mobile devices often don’t spend time on sites that aren’t optimized to work on their mobile devices.
Your website can’t be found on Google local searches.
Last year, Google rolled out an update to their local search algorithm that greatly improved the ability for users to find accurate local information on businesses on both Google search and Google maps.
If you are finding that your business isn’t found on local searches, you likely will need to update your website to include clues that search engines will use to place your business, as well as updating (or creating) any profiles that your business may have on local business directories or review sites.
Your website can’t be fully accessed by people with disabilities.
This is something that a lot of us don’t think about very often… but how do people who are losing their vision (or are completely blind), people who have motor disabilities, or people who have problems concentrating on any one task for a long period of time, access the content on your website? If you find that your website isn’t fully navigable using only a keyboard, or if you find that your website doesn’t function properly when it’s viewed at 200%zoom level, there’s a good chance that a lot of potential customers may not be able to use your website.
Accessibility on the web is coming more and more to the forefront of web development, and for good reason. In fact, for companies in Ontario with over 50 employees, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) state that websites have to follow accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 Level A).
Your website doesn’t reflect your current branding.
Your branding is not just everything that reflects your company, but is also everything that each person thinks about your company. Your website should be an integral part of your brand image and should play a large role in helping to build your brand with present and potential customers. If you have recently updated your branding &ndsh; whether that means updating your logo, changing your corporate colours, or even something more abstract like changing the vision of your company – you will want your website to reflect this change.
You’ve started using social media for your business and want to incorporate it into your website
Personally, I’m very much of the belief that companies are missing out on a huge opportunity if they don’t take advantage of social media – it allows customers to see that your business is still active, and keeps you at the forefront of their notice if you use it on a regular basis. Incorporating your social media strategy into your website can be a very beneficial way to encourage your customers to connect with you in other arenas.
I encourage you to take a critical look at your website, and determine whether you need to redesign your website.