If you’ve had the same website for nearly as long as you can remember, then you might not realise if it’s no longer working well and producing results for your business. After all, running a business is time consuming and involves a lot of hard work – it’s understandable if your day-to-day thoughts aren’t dominated by your website!
However, if you’re starting to get fewer new inquiries than you once did, or your business isn’t growing at the rate you’d expect it to, it might be high time you took stock and invested some time and money into a brand new website for your business. Otherwise, all that money you’re spending on advertising and marketing could be money going down the drain if people are clicking “back” straight away after landing on your website.
Your website is probably losing you business and costing you money if it’s out-of-date, slow, not mobile-friendly or easy to navigate. Coming up are 10 tell-tale signs that you need a brand new website fit for the modern age…
1. Your Website Design is Old & Outdated
First impressions are hugely important in the business world, and this is even more important online! Whereas you might have minutes or even hours to make a good impression in the real world, be that at a conference or business networking event, in the ruthless world of the Internet you have mere single-digit seconds. If you’ve not caused some raised eyebrows (in a good way) within about 3 seconds of someone landing on your website, then you can wave goodbye to that prospect – and probably all others – forever.
If your website isn’t visually appealing and doesn’t make it immediately obvious what you do and that you’re an expert in your field, then you should definitely look at getting a complete makeover and redesign. A website that looks like it was made in the ‘90s or early 2000s will actually do a brilliant job – of putting people off your business. Why? Because it’s like sticking a big sign on your lawn telling people that you’re out-of-touch with current trends and you don’t have your finger anywhere near the pulse.
Good photography and images throughout the site, easy-to-read fonts, background effects and subtle (but not overbearing) animations can all help to create an immersive and enjoyable experience – and remember that not everyone is viewing your website on a desktop computer with a large screen – mobile is equally (if not more) important these days, too. Leading us nicely on, to…
2. Your Website Doesn’t Work on Mobile
Have you heard the term “Responsive Design”? This basically means that your website and its design should “respond” to whatever it’s being viewed on, automatically adjusting the layout (and maybe even hiding or disabling certain features and elements) to give the best possible experience for that device. So, things might be laid out a certain way when viewed on a large, widescreen 16:9 computer monitor, but when viewed on a small smartphone screen in portrait orientation a different layout will work better.
Some features of the website might be worth canning altogether unless the page is being viewed on a large monitor: certain animations or background videos, for example – or maybe even some graphics and photos might disappear.
The key is to ensure that regardless of how your visitors (who are potential customers) view your website, they all get a really GOOD experience – even if those experiences are not all 100% identical.
Having a website that works well on mobile doesn’t just benefit your mobile visitors, either – it benefits you! Google is constantly changing and updating what factors it looks for in determining websites’ ranking in search results, but one thing which is becoming more and more important overall is whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. By ensuring that you get a responsive website design, your website will climb the rankings for all searches!
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Easy: just take out your phone and go to your own website. Does it look good? Do you have to zoom in and out to read text? If yes – then it’s not good enough! The solution is easy: get in touch with us for a complete website redesign.
3. Your Website is Invisible to Google
What do people do when they want to find a company that does a thing? They Google it.
Question: where’s the best place to hide a dead body?
Answer: on the second page of Google.
That might seem harsh, but when was the last time you paid much attention to any pages after the first one when you Googled something? You may have clicked “next page” a couple of times, but I bet what you ended up settling on was probably on the first page (or you rephrased your search query). So, suffice it to say that appearing on the first page of Google for the sorts of search terms your prospective customers are searching for is the holy grail in terms of your website marketing.
How difficult or not this will be depends hugely on your specific industry and how competitive it is. Entire books have been written, and re-written, on the topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but here’s a woefully inadequate one-liner summary: make it relevant to your customers, include good quality content, make it mobile-friendly and fast-loading, and make sure people elsewhere are talking about you, too.
We don’t make spurious claims about “guaranteeing to get you on Page 1 of Google” like many SEO firms out there, but we can certainly help you with a new website design that looks great, is mobile friendly and that loads fast. Why not take a look at our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services and get a free SEO audit of your website to see what’s working well and how we can help you improve?
4. It Loads Too Slowly
In today’s demanding and instant-gratification-obsessed society, we’re developing ever shorter attention spans. Not you, obviously, because you’ve read as far as point 4 in this “top 10” blog post, so good on you!
Visitors to your website will almost certainly not be as patient as you, so you’ve only got a few seconds to capture their attention and give them reasons to stick around and explore. The number one turn-off is a website that loads slowly, boring the user before they’ve even seen the crown jewels. Bored customers = disappeared customers = lost sales. Before you know it, they’ll have clicked back and opened their wallet for your competitor. AGAIN!
Not just that, but if you’ve got a slow website then it’s less likely people will even be landing on it at all, in the first place. That’s because Google, as a business itself, wants to provide its own customers with search results which will delight them and answer their questions quickly and succinctly. So they don’t want a list of search results stuffed full of rubbish websites that load slowly, meaning that if your website is slow (or rubbish) then it’ll slip down and down and down the rankings, until no-one even notices it exists. That, my friends, is invisibility.
So how do you know if your website is too slow? The simplest thing you can do is run it through either Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) or Pingdom’s Page Speed Monitor (https://www.pingdom.com/product/page-speed/) and if the results disappoint you, pick up the phone and give us a call…
5. You’re Not Making Use of Online Video
We live in an audio-visual world and video is becoming key to the online experience. And according to a 1997 study by Metcalf for the University of Texas, “people remember 10% of what they read, but 30% of what they see – and an incredible 50% of what they hear and see.” So, do you want your website’s visitors to take in and remember 10% of your website, or 50%?
Think also of the age-old phrase that “a picture is worth 1,000 words”. With standard video here in Europe displaying 25 pictures (“frames”) every second, how many words does that make a 3-minute promotional or explainer video worth to you and your customers?!
It’s four and a half million, by the way.
Yes, that’s a meaningless and irrelevant number really, but the hyperbolic point still stands – you could write a long page of text explaining what your business does, who it’s for and all the ingenious ways it solves various real-world problems, but chances are no-one would ever read it. However, if you commission a video production company like Innobella Media to create a stylish, eye-catching and unforgettable promotional video to sit front and centre stage on your website’s homepage, I can guarantee that your visitors will watch it and love it.
There are also SEO benefits to be had by including rich, high-quality video content in your website – as I mentioned before, Google want to deliver search results that will please their customers, so if you have a pleasing website… you get the picture!
An additional, not-to-be-overlooked benefit of making full use of online video on your website is that you can host the video itself on the world’s second-largest search engine: YouTube. Within YouTube, you’ll find millions more potential customers so by having a well optimized and highly targeted video on the platform, many people will find the video on YouTube itself too, not just on your website, and that can be a superb signpost to your website, your business and the services you offer. Make sure you’re not missing out!
6. Your Website Doesn’t Answer Your Visitors’ Questions
Why do people come to your website? Are they looking to purchase a specific product? Are they looking for a service? Do they want to find out a specific piece of information?
Stop reading, and ask yourself that very question. Write down your answer, and then carry on.
It’s important that you ask yourself that because you need to get into the mindset of your potential website visitors/customers and think like them – that way, you can tailor what you offer so that it best serves their needs and scratches the right itch.
Just as important as it is for your website to look good is for it to work well for you – and in order to do that, it needs to work well for your customers. It needs to be easy to understand and navigate, and absolutely not to confuse your visitors! People stumbling across your website should be able to find what they came there looking for, and quickly. Otherwise, they’ll be clicking back and going to a competitor; no matter how nice your website looks, and no matter how quickly it loaded or how sexy it looked on their smartphone display. All of that counts for nothing if it doesn’t answer the burning question on the mind of that user.
Have a look at your website with a critical eye. Ask friends, family members and co-workers what they think. Don’t be offended if they criticize, and don’t think them daft if they “make mistakes” when looking for information. One of the biggest lies in retail is that “the customer is always right”, but in this case they almost certainly are: just because something is blindingly obvious to you, doesn’t mean it will be to others.
You may be able to make improvements here and there to solve some of the issues stopping your website from performing for you, but if there are too many issues it may be time for a completely new website design. (That’s your cue to click on the Contact Us page, above, and give us a ring…)
7. There’s no Blog or Social Media Integration on your Website
The online world is very different to how it was in the late ‘90s and early noughties. Gone are the days of Netscape Navigator and being excited to download version 5.5 of Internet Explorer on a dial-up connection whilst your sister is desperate to use the phone upstairs…
If you weren’t already aware, social media is now a thing. Yeah, really! And there are these things called blogs, too, which might catch on.
Sure, you can probably get by without having a blog on your website and being active on social channels. Kind of like how a joiner could probably get by without using any power tools, but why would you want to pointlessly make your work more difficult and less productive?
A blog is a superb way to provide new, valuable and unique content to your website users and to create a resource which will act as an advert for your company without advertising in the traditional sense. “Content Marketing” is where you market your company by creating compelling content under your company’s umbrella that people will appreciate, enjoy and want to share. All the while you’re acting as your company and dropping in mentions of the services you can offer, without going all-out on a hard sell. Notice how I’ve been talking about website design and video production throughout this post? Yup.
People also browse through social media a lot more than they browse through Google search results. Plus, social media posts are increasingly being indexed by Google too! So be sure to create a presence on all the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) and try to post on those at least a few times a day.
If you simply don’t have the time to post multiple times a day on multiple different social networks, then we can help. There I go again, advertising my own services in this piece of content marketing… you see, it really works! Take a look at our Social Media Management Services and how we can help you fill the void.
8. Your Website is Broken
Is your website looking more worn out than a rusty old bike that’s been left out in the rain and forgotten about? Sure, it used to go like the wind and together, you and it had some great adventures. And it’s still technically a bike… just not one you’d want to ride a hundred miles on. The brakes squeak terribly and they don’t really work, and trying to pedal that rusty chain burns lots of calories but doesn’t really get you very far.
Old websites can get a bit like that, especially if you’ve chopped and changed things a lot over the years, meaning that dotted around the internet there are lots of backlinks and old search engine indexes which now lead to a 404 error (page not found). Not only does that frustrate otherwise-willing customers, but it also tells search engines like Google that your website is past its prime and probably not worth offering up to its customers.
Or, you might have features like a contact form that no longer works (“oohhhh, that’s why no new inquiries have come in for the last 2 years!”) or embedded Google Maps which no longer function due to requiring an API key these days. All of these problems are huge turn-offs to your customers and will be costing you big bucks if you don’t fix them.
So, instead of wasting big bucks by not fixing your website, invest some small bucks with us and get yourself the website you deserve, and a website you can be proud of. This is, after all, your children’s inheritance and they don’t want you to squander it!
9. Your Website has No Obvious Calls to Action / Contact Details
If you’ve ever worked in retail then you’ll know that there comes a point in any sales conversation with a customer where you have to bite the bullet and ask for the sale.
The same is true for your website, only you’re not face-to-face with your customer so you have to work doubly hard to make a compelling business case and then influence the visitor to take the next step. In the industry, this is known as a “Call To Action”, or CTA.
Don’t be afraid to have a clear, bold and unapologetic call to action after each “sales pitch” on your website. This should either be to call your business phone number, send you an email or fill in a contact form.
You should also make sure that your contact details are easily accessible on your website. The easiest way, of course, is to have a dedicated Contact page and have it linked to prominently in your menu – the most common place is to have it last in your menu, so place it there – because that’s where people will look!
It’s also very common to have the key elements of your website’s navigation / menu repeated at the bottom of every page (the “page footer”) or even to have your full contact details in your website footer. This means that having read your page and (hopefully!) scrolled all the way to the bottom, the contact details are right there in front of the visitor’s eyes, subconsciously making them more likely to seize the day and make use of them.
10. You can’t make basic changes yourself
When was the last time you updated your website? Oh, what’s that you say…. you CAN’T?!
C’mon, that’s really not acceptable any more. No-one should be unable to make basic changes to their own website, and no reputable web design company today would allow a situation where customers had to go via them for every, single, little, change.
Content Management Systems like Drupal and WordPress not only make it easier to construct and build great websites but they make it possible for the business owners – not just website designers – to edit them and make basic changes without having to be a techy nerd and understand things like HTML and how to shell into a webserver via the command line.
For all the websites we design, we allow our customers to make basic changes to the websites themselves, and even provide an hour’s free training to show them how it’s done. You might not think an hour sounds like that long to learn how to do something as complicated as update your website, but to be honest that usually includes small-talk, too. It’s very easy, and if you’ve ever written a letter using Microsoft Word then you’ll be able to update any website we build for you. Not only that, but you’ll be able to write new blog posts and share them to social media, too.
For larger changes and continuous/ongoing website development, sure – use us. We offer really competitive retainer contracts meaning you can reserve a set amount of hours per month at discounted rates. But the little stuff you can easily do yourself in less than the time it would take you to call us and ask us to do it for you – everyone’s a winner!
So, do you need a new website?
If you’ve read this far and decided that you want to make the wise investment to have a completely new, fresh website design then congratulations! Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation chat and review of your current website and how it fits in with the wider picture of your business and its needs.
We’re an SEO Company in Liverpool and would love to help you improve you rankings on Google so that your website gets more visitors and your business gets more sales!