All too often, once a business has a website, that tends to be where the work ends. But just like every other aspect of your business, websites need to be regularly maintained. This helps to ensure that potential clients or customers are presented with the most up to date information, helping your business to stay ahead of the competition.

But how do I know when I need a new website?

It can be difficult to know when to add to your existing website and when to start over, which can seem daunting. Here are our top signs that a new website might be on the cards.

1. Your website has become a burden

It should be quick and easy for you to regularly add content to your website using a Content Management System, or CMS. If it isn’t, this can impact negatively on your rankings with search engines such as Google.

Your first consideration should therefore be to overhaul to a modern CMS, such as the latest version of WordPress or a bespoke CMS built around your needs.

2. Your website is more about you than your customers

It sounds obvious, but websites are often built with the company’s perspective in mind, rather than that of its customers. What services do we offer? Who are we? What is our story?

This means that there is not enough focus on the benefit to your customers, and can result in a ‘user journey’ (the way your customers navigate through the site) that isn’t geared towards them.

When developing your website’s structure and content, think about what your customers are looking for. Who are they, what is their story and how best can they get what they want out of your site?

3. You like competitor’s site more

The visual design of your website can make or break a customer’s confidence in your brand. It should stand out, be memorable, and users should go away with a good understanding of who you are and what you offer, compared with the next search result in Google.

This is challenging to achieve without resorting to gimmicks, but with the right amount of creativity, you can find a design that intrigues and inspires users, while maintaining a professional image that stands the test of time.

4. Your website isn’t mobile friendly

Given that last year the number of Google searches on mobile devices outstripped those on desktop computers, it’s vital that you have a mobile optimised website.

If users need to zoom in, pan around, or put up with elements not working, then it’s likely they will leave your site in favour of a competitor.

Think carefully about your user’s goals on their mobile devices, because designing for mobile isn’t just about “stacking” the page into one long column.

5. Your checkout takes too long

This can also apply to enquiry forms, newsletter subscription forms, and anything else where you’re asking users to enter information. If forms have too many steps to complete, are difficult to find, or require too much effort to fill out, you’re more likely to lose the interest of a potential customer.

6. Lots of visitors, but few enquiries

You may be getting good footfall to your website but find that people don’t make an enquiry, buy a product or sign up for information.

This can be caused by a number of things. Your site could be perceived as being outdated, leading people to click on a more attractive competitor. Alternatively, your site may look great but users just aren’t sure what to click on to find the information they need. Rather than spending time and effort figuring this out, a user will leave your site in favour of a competitor.

The look, feel and general usability of your site are important in converting website visitors to new customers.

7. Your website is too slow to load

In a world of impatient web users and lots of online competition, you only have a small window in which to make a good first impression (or any impression at all).

The time it takes your website to load plays a crucial part in this. If it’s too slow, users just won’t stick around to wait. With several other alternatives just one click away in their search results, why would they? If your website takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you may need to speed things up to avoid losing potential visitors.

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Top 7 Signs You Need a New Website first appeared in 53 Degrees Magazine’s September 2016 Issue.

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