They say nothing lasts forever and this is definitely true when it comes to websites! Technology is moving fast and often people ask us how long does a site last. In our experience after two years the “look and feel” can begin to beomce a little dated but if you are keeping the platform up-to-date and the plug-ins updated, e.g. through an Annual Maintenance Contract, from a technical perspective they can hold good for twice that long – though it does depend on what’s going on in the world of technology – you can’t easily retro-fit mobility onto an old site, for example – see more below.
So how do you know if your website is tired and in need of a fresh design? Here’s a checklist of stuff to consider to put your website through its paces.
1. It’s Not Looking Good on Mobile
A big question to ask yourself….’Is my website mobile friendly?’ If your sites a few years old the answer to this is likely no. If that’s the case alarm bells should be going off! Mobile usage continues to grow and depending on your industry, traffic to your site coming from mobile may be up to 50% or even a lot more.
If your site isn’t optimised for mobile and difficult to navigate you will lose visitors quickly and see your bounce rates jump up.
Another issue with having a website that’s not designed for mobile is the search engines themselves. Google will actually penalise a site now and you’ll find it much harder to rank in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Test your site now to see how well its mobile optimized.
2. A High Bounce Rate and Low Conversion Rate
You might be attracting plenty of traffic but when visitors arrive, do they leave the site quickly without looking further into your content or products?
Take a look at you Google Analytics and see if you’ve a high bounce rate. When the time spent on the site is low or has dropped significantly or visitors view a low number of pages on average, it’s an indicator that it’s time for a change.
These kinds of statistics suggest that users aren’t finding the site helpful or that it may be hard to navigate.
The same goes for conversions, if people aren’t doing what you want them to do e.g. send emails, fill in contact forms or make a purchase – the site might need a refresh.
You can learn about your customers experience on your site by analysing data from software such as Hotjar.
This handy piece of kit tracks users on your sites and creates heatmaps showing you how they interact with it. You might spot something fundamental that is causing an issue.
Ask your web developer to add the little bit of code and away you go!
3. Your Search Rankings Are Poor
Over time search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo make changes to their algorithms. This means that they’ll want to see different things when they visit your site in order to index and rank it. If your site isn’t performing as well as it once did chances are it’s time to take stock and redesign.
It could be that you need to do some SEO work, the content on the main pages has too many keywords or is poorly written and the search engines don’t like it.
It’s more than likely that you will want to update your content as part of the new design to help the site perform better.
4. Making Updates is a Pain in the A**
Do you find simple content and image updates are a challenge and you’d need a PHD in Computer Science to add a page? If this is you then it’s more than likely that you need a new website (though don’t discard the fact that it may be a training issue – talk with your developer).
Finding a good CMS (Content Management System) that allows you to easily change your content is a must. The industry standard CMS and the one we are experts in is WordPress. Adding images and updating your content is a breeze if you have a WordPress site, and a quick training session.
5. It’s Ridiculously Slow!
If your site has started to become sluggish and takes a long time to load you’re going to lose visitors. The average person will only wait a couple of seconds for the site to load before moving away.
When Google crawls your site for indexing, it will also only view pages that load quickly so there’s more than one reason to have a fast site.
As part of improving your sites speed you may want to change hosting or upgrade your plan. Again this doesn’t definitively mean you will need a new site but it’s definitely an indication that change is needed! Come talk to us if unsure about your hosting or if speed is an issue.
6. At the End of the Day – it Just Looks Old
You can be honest with us we won’t tell anyone!
If you know deep down inside that the site just looks old, it doesn’t do you any justice and you’re even embarrassed to give out the web address – well then……….Who Ye Gonna Call?