Having designed and re-designed hundreds and hundreds of websites over the past decade, we get asked all the time ‘Why should I update the design of my website?’. There are several benefits to giving your website a refresh, least of which it gives you an opportunity to update your software and modules to ensure your website is as secure as possible, and also provides the chance to look at the marketing messages and images you use throughout the site (particularly on your homepage).
Here are a few elements we think are important to take into consideration with a design refresh.
Control of your website
With the popularity of systems like Squarespace, Wix and Weebly, we’re seeing more and more customers ask us to redesign their websites into a system they have control over (like Joomla). There’s a very good reason for this because whilst systems like those listed above are great if you’re a small business with little budget, or you’re wanting to have a go at creating your own business website, many businesses soon realise that once a website reaches a certain amount of pages these types of systems become very cumbersome to manage a site with more than 10-15 pages.
Combine this with the fact that you have very little control over your site in terms of access, backup functions and if these systems will still be in business in a few years time, the risk of putting one of your most important marketing platforms (your website) into the hands of a third party is something some businesses aren’t willing to do.
“Imagine, for a moment, you put your entire online businesses presence on Myspace several years ago. Where would your business be now in terms of generating traffic from that site? I’ll tell you where - nowhere. Platforms like Facebook, Squarespace, Instagram, etc will come and go (Remember Google+? That’s now been discontinued for brands) which is why you should ALWAYS have control over your main online marketing presence - your website.”
If you believe having control over your own online marketing is important, it makes sense to build your site on an open source platform like Joomla with hosting you have control over. This way you will always have options. If Squarespace closes its doors tomorrow, what happens to your website? Tech companies go out of business and shut down all the time. In 2018 alone we saw Google+, Musical.ly, Otto (Self-driving trucks owned by Uber), Yahoo Messenger, Klout, Apple Music Connect and many others close down or go out of business.
The fact you can’t export your data or backup your website to move it to another platform on a system like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly means you’re stuck within that framework and if you want to move your site to another system, add a custom design, add custom functionality etc you have to start from scratch.
Design of your website
When looking at the design of your website I always say “Your website needs to look at least as good as your worst competitor”. What I mean by this is do a Google search for your product or service and take a look at some of your competitors' websites. Now, look at the worst-looking one of the lot in terms of design. If your website looks worse than that website, you have a design problem and it’s probably time to give it a refresh.
A new design will give your website a more modern look and give you the opportunity to refresh your online presence so that customers who are searching through different websites for a particular product or service won’t put your site at the bottom of the pile when set side by side with your competitors. You may have the best sales pitch in the world or first class customer service, but that won’t mean anything if your potential customers aren’t even getting past the homepage of your website to enquire because the design is old, tired and looks dated.
Usability for your customers
Giving your website a redesign gives you a big opportunity to look at the responsive design of your site to make sure it’s accessible for devices of all sizes. Depending on the type of service or product you provide we typically see mobile views of websites in the 40-60% range, which means more often than not over half your audience is viewing your website on a mobile device.
A redesign also gives you the chance to make sure things like phone numbers and address details are linkable so that someone on a mobile device can simply click on your phone number to call you (no more copy and pasting phone numbers into your phone app). The easier you make it for customers to contact you, the more likely you’re going to convert them.
Mobile First Indexing impacts your rankings
You may not have heard about this, but Google introduced mobile first indexing in March 2018. Previously Google used a desktop version of a website for their index, but considering more searches are conducted in their search engine from mobile devices than desktops, they made the change to indexing mobile versions of content on websites. This means that Google is (and has been for some time) using mobile versions of sites as a factor in its search engine for both indexing and ranking.
Put simply, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it could have negative effects when it comes to Google displaying your website in their search engine and when they consider what position to put your website in search results.
Marketing and positioning of your website
Often businesses will go three, four, five even seven or eight years before updating their website design. Over the course of that time, there is often considerable business changes regarding how they promote their products or services, how they position themselves in the marketplace and the types of imagery and benefit statements they use. Redesigning your website is a great opportunity to bring your online marketing efforts more in line with the changes your business has gone through.
These are some of the major reasons you may want to consider re-developing or re-designing your website if it’s looking a little aged in terms of design and look and feel. There are several benefits both to your business and your customers in having a modern, clean professional website that typically greatly outweigh the cost of an upgrade so if you’re thinking about updating your site or would like some advice on new designs, talk to Marketeam today on (07) 3882 3375.