On average, the life expectancy of a company website is 1-2 years. Technology design trends are moving at such pace that if you wait any longer than that, you're website is likely to be out of date.
Getting found by and engaging with your buyers online means you need to stop thinking of your website as a one-off project and start treating it like the Forth Bridge: Never finished and in need of continuous improvement.
Aside from regular content updates and tweaks, how do you know when the time has come for that full redesign? Here are 5 clear indicators:
Web design fail #1: User experience is poor
Image Credit: Userexperiencerocks.com
As illustrated by the image above, if your website doesn't deliver a great experience to users, they can be left with a poor impression of your brand. Your products or services might be perfect for them, but if your website doesn't signpost them to information which responds to their needs, it won't matter, you've lost credibility.
Common pitfalls include:
- Poor navigation - frustrated users will give up before they even reach the right content
- Too much content - people are always in a hurry - keep it clear and concise
- Excessive jargon - you need to speak in the language of your buyers, cut the acronyms!
- Poor user journey - Your content doesn't speak to buyers, or signpost them to offers & answers
Take the time to get to know your website users better, what do they want to do on your website, what do they need to learn, what problems are they trying to solve, what outcome are they aiming for?
Once you've identified these information needs you can use this insight to respond with the most appropriate design, navigation, user journey and content hierarchy. (This means structuring your content in a way which moves users through your website by answering their questions, solving their problems and signposting them to calls to action to convert them from strangers to leads.)
Web design fail #2: "Never judge a book by its cover" doesn't apply to websites
Think about the last time you Googled something, how quickly did you click into search results, make a judgment, then hit the back button and move onto the next?
We all do it and the average time between a visitor landing on your website and deciding whether to stay is just 3-5 seconds - what marketers call "The blink test." You need to grab their attention, get your message across, and spark interest and excitement, literally within the blink of an eye.
Design is vitally important here, as the human eye processes visual content over 60,000 times faster than text, so if your design is even marginally outdated, that 'back' button is infinitely more likely to get clicked!
Web design fail #3: Mobile users need a microscope
This one goes without saying...your website needs to be optimised for mobile devices. If not, it's now a crime punishable by Google!
There are a number of options available, including responsive design or adaptive design. Think about what your users will want to do on your site - if their information needs remain the same across desktop, tablet or mobile, a responsive design will probably be best - restructuring your existing content into a mobile friendly format.
If users use mobile to perform different tasks or access different information, an adaptive design might be best. Ryanair for example use their desktop website to promote bookings and deals, whereas the mobile version is more focused around accessing flight information and boarding passes.
Research how you could provide the best possible mobile experience for your users. Scaling your site down onto a 4inch screen and expecting users to pinch to zoom doesn't cut it!
Web design fail #4: Making changes hurt your head, and your wallet
Is your website built on a flexible, future proof, easy to use content management system (eg.Wordpress, Drupal, Concrete5, HubSpot) which gives you full control, lets you update content easily and make design/layout changes as and when you need to?
If not, and you're tied to an expensive web agency who have chosen your CMS for you, and you have to go to each time you want to make changes, unfortunately you're looking at a recipe for stagnant content, outdated design, poor SEO and usually a big bill!
Your website needs to be constantly evolving and under the control of someone who can monitor and nurture it constantly. If it's an expensive headache to change anything, it's easy to become apathetic, but the time has come to take a stand...break away from the web agency ties that bind you and start to take control!
Web design fail #5: Your website gets more bounces than a trampoline
When it comes to web design fails, the most obvious and important indicator that you need a website redesign is that your bounce rate is high, and your conversions are low.
The reason for this is usually a combination or some, or all of the points above: User experience is poor, your content isn't speaking to buyers, your site isn't responsive, your pages don't pass the blink test or your site is outdated because it's too difficult to update.
If users are leaving your website and not converting to subscribers, leads or customers, something has obviously gone wrong along the user journey, or your site isn't attracting the right visitors in the first place.
What to do next
Take some time to review your website, looking for any of the 5 indicators above, if you can relate to at least one, the chances are it might be time for a refresh or even a full redesign. Don't be scared to make investment for a redesign, although it might cost more initially, you'll get better results if you start from scratch rather than go for a quick fix.
Opting for a website design that's centred around your objectives and your users' needs is much more conducive to helping you achieve your business goals, giving you a much better ROI.
Download our free checklist below for tips on how to get the best results from a website redesign and avoid committing dreaded website design fails!