Time For An Upgrade? Signs Your Current Website Might Not Cut It Anymore
If you’ve been putting off updating your website for years, I can’t say I blame you.
When your business is growing and the number of monthly visitors is going up, it’s tempting to keep everything the same. Rather than stay at the forefront of design and usability, you want to stick with what’s been successful for you.
However, the day will eventually come when your website is in dire need of updating. Look out for signs your website needs an update before you get hit with a sudden downturn in business and visitors.
Poor user navigation
User experience should be one of your main concerns when developing and updating your website. Navigation throughout your website is a key part of that. If you’re starting to get complaints from your visitors that they couldn’t find their way around your website, it may be time for a change.
Consider mapping out the average customer journey or investing in software that allows you to track genuine ones, to get a perception of how they understand your website and what stumbling blocks may be preventing them from getting to the next stage. A user may have landed on your page and enjoyed the content, but it doesn’t mean they found everything they were looking for. An improved user journey is often about offering new avenues and options to access more information.
If you’re investing in content that isn’t being seen and developing pages with a strategy to link visitors around your website, it may not be just those pages that need an update, but your whole website.
Updated competitor sites
Why keep track of how to constantly improve your website for one reason? Because your biggest competitors and industry leaders are doing just that.
Website and web store best practices are constantly evolving. As your industry evolves and new trends emerge, it’s vital that your website is prepared to meet them. This doesn’t mean doing a drastic overhaul of your website every couple of weeks to latch onto every emerging trend, but keep track of how your competitors are running their websites and look to keep pace with their best attributes. Failure to do so will mean they can offer a better user experience for visitors, potentially costing you significant business.
This is the reason why many first-time website owners will opt to use a popular CMS format. It enables them to set up their websites quickly and keep pace with industry standards thanks to easy to implement plugins and active communities behind them. However, you must make sure your website is always updated to the latest version so that these plugins and themes stay compatible.
In this day and age, there’s no excuse for an unresponsive website.
Large sections of your potential audience are browsing primarily, if not exclusively, on their mobile devices these days, so if your website isn’t set up to display correctly on mobiles and tablets you stand almost no chance of garnering a following. This means you will lose out on customers and gain a reputation for not understanding the basics of web design and what frustrates users.
It is vital that your website has a mobile device-specific design, where text and visual content is easy to see and the user experience is tailored to thumbs (vs a mouse).
An outdated design can mean a couple of things, and neither of them means good news for your website.
First of all, there’s the visual aspect. If your website looks like something from the 90s in the 2020s, people are going to find it more funny than enticing, perhaps even doubting its legitimacy. The only websites with a design that poor these days are dangerous ones as far as the average browser is concerned. A poor, outdated design can give your credibility a huge knock.
Then there are the technical concerns. A sign that your website might be outdated is how it responds when you’re trying to install new plugins and themes. If they are being rejected and you can’t improve the service you’re offering, your site will feel outdated in comparison to your competitors who can.
Increased bounce rate
Bounce rate is likely the strongest sign you’ll receive that something is drastically wrong with your website. This can come down to a number of issues with your landing pages individually, but most commonly it leads back to a collective issue with your site.
Bounce rate can be a sign that the way you develop and design certain page times, such as your content or product pages, is wrong or out of date. Your website update can be something as simple as redefining how your product pages work. This could be introducing video as a new form of content to show off the product or redesigning the page to feature more white space, which accentuates the product imagery.
You may also need to update your website because it’s simply not delivering what your marketing and advertising is promising. This is, in part, an issue with marketing messaging, and the blame can’t be fully laid at the door of your website. Their campaigns will, however, simply be playing into a perception of what your target audience wants and is most likely to respond to. If your site isn’t in the best place to fulfill what the target market needs, it is a sign you may need to consider updating it.
Slow-loading pages can be one of the biggest detriments to your website finding success. If bounce rates are a problem for you, check the speed of your website.
If you, as the website owner, are getting frustrated with how slowly your website loads while you’re trying to work on the back end, just imagine how annoyed the average user visiting for the first time is. You have a vested interest in the success of your site, which will make you more inclined to stick out the slow loading times. Meanwhile, the average user owes your website no time and will leave for a more user-friendly option.
If your pages take more than 3 seconds to load it’s vital that you make updating your website your main priority. 50% of websites load in under three seconds, and that’s a bracket you need to be in. Consider it the first step in helping you reap the rewards your hard work deserves.
You can never rest on your laurels when it comes to your business’ website. There are always minor updates that can be made, but it’s vital to learn all the signals to look out for that your site is crying out for an upgrade.