The moment you launch your first website is an exciting time for your small business. Finally, you have a beautiful, highly functional website that will serve as a representation of your business online. You understand the value of great web design and you worked hard to produce a site that you know will meet your customer’s expectations. Now it’s time to sit back, enjoy the rewards of a job well done and focus on the other aspects of growing your business.
A new website that’s been well designed shouldn’t require too much of your attention, but you also don’t want to take the launch-and-forget-it approach. The time will come when you’ll want to refresh or even completely redesign your small business website.
The only question is “when”. Unfortunately, this time can come without you even realizing it and this can end up costing your business. Websites don’t come with a hard set expiration date. Instead, you need to look for the key signs that it’s time for an update.
Some Time Has Passed
The length of time that a website remains relevant and functional depends on a lot of different factors, including the quality of the initial web development and how the business has grown or changed. There’s also the fact that technology and trends in web design tend to change rapidly, which can also fuel the need for a redesign.
There are no hard and fast rules about how often you should redesign your small business site, but the typical shelf life of a website is 2-3 years, with some businesses needed to redesign sooner and others being able to wait a little longer.
While the passing of time can indicate the need for a redesign, there are several things that are more important to consider.
Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Mobile
If your website has gone more than a few years old without any updates, there’s a decent chance that you’re missing the opportunity to connect with the growing segment of your audience that are mobile consumers. A few years back, mobile optimization was nice perk. Today, it’s a necessity.
The number of people who use their smartphones to access the internet and connect with businesses is on a continual upward growth trajectory. Most businesses that are serious about growth have already adopted responsive design. This means that your audience realizes that if they can’t easily access and use your website on their mobile device that they can easily bounce out and head to your competitor instead.
Mobile friendliness is also crucial from a digital marketing perspective. A mobile optimized site, especially one that uses responsive design, will meet the mobile speed and user experience criteria that search engines look favorably on.
Retro Isn’t Always Good
As cliché as it sounds, you don’t want to be caught wearing last year’s designs on your small business website. This isn’t to say you need to a cookie cutter website that doesn’t stand out, but you don’t want to stand out in the wrong way.
It’s important to pay attention to the trends in web design. A site that looks outdated, disorganized and unappealing from a visual perspective is going to reflect negatively upon your business. Your website serves as a representation of your business online. What a visitor sees when they land on your site is often the first, if not the only, impression that they’re going to form about your business.
Unfortunately, we can all be a little blind to our own faults and this can make it difficult to see when it’s time to update the look of your website. If you’re not sure if your website is outdated, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Take a look at a few websites for other businesses in your industry. If you were a new customer and visited both your website and theirs, does your design stand out as being clean, uncluttered and modern or does it look outdated, like nobody is paying attention to it? It also never hurts to contact a professional web design company to take a look and provide you with an honest assessment of the visual appeal and usability of your current design.
Your Website Isn’t Helping You Achieve Your Goals
Your small business website serves many purposes, but at the end of the day, it should have a significant role in helping achieve your business goals. Great web design should help you gain visibility and traction online. It should also make lead generation easy and influence conversions. If you’re not reaching your business goals, your website is one of the first places to look for solutions.
For instance, if you’re not producing enough leads, it could be that landing pages are underperforming or that you need to redesign content and call to action features on your high traffic pages. If you’re getting leads but few conversions, there is a good chance that visitors are either finding your site difficult to use or that your content just isn’t relevant to their needs.
Your challenges could also be based in the fact that your website isn’t designed for your target audience. For instance, a business that caters to a twenty-something demographic is going to require frequent redesigns to continually meet the visual and usability expectations of younger consumers. Consider your target demographic and determine if your current design is aligned to their digital preferences and expectations.
A Professional Opinion
Form many small business owners, web design is incredibly personal. Regardless if you built your website with your own hands or enlisted the help of a professional web designer, there’s a lot time, energy and money that goes into it and a redesign can feel like a huge undertaking. When you’re ready to explore your options, we’re the website design company that can help. At Knowmad, we offer a range of digital marketing services for small businesses, including web design. Contact Knowmad today and let’s talk about what a fresh redesign of your website can accomplish.
William McKee is a founding partner of Knowmad. As a Web architect & Internet business consultant, he is passionate about applying business knowledge & technical expertise to deliver solutions that advance business online. With over 15 years of Web experience, his current work involves designing strategies and creating processes to help business attract, engage and convert website visitors into customers.