As recently as 10 years ago, simply having a website could identify your brand as a leader in your industry. Your competition may have been late to the game in creating an online presence, or your brand simply may be the best or only local organization of its kind, making it significantly easier for people to find you through a quick Google search - or Duck Duck Go if that’s your jam.
Website Design in the 1990s
The old standard of designing a website looked a little something like this:
Step 1: Buy a domain.
Step 2: Design a website.
Step 3: Never touch it again.
Website Design in 2021
That’s no longer ideal for brands encountering more competition in the digital realm and more competition for their bottom line. Today’s website design process looks more like this:
Step 1: Buy a domain.
Step 2: Complete comprehensive research on user personas, target audiences, and the user journey.
Step 3: Design a website which attracts your ideal audience and allows them to find what they need.
Step 4: Continually create content that encourages your target audience to buy your product or service.
Step 5: Align digital marketing efforts with website functionality to drive traffic AND conversions.
- Ensure social and PPC ads are directed to an optimal landing page.
- Ensure email signup forms are available and in the most ideal locations.
- Use drip campaigns and segmented audiences to continually drive your ideal audience back to your website
Step 6: Continue to evaluate the performance of digital marketing efforts and your website. Make updates as needed.
Step 7: Implement a design overhaul to account for new technology at least once every 2-3 years.
Step 8: Repeat steps 2-7.
Since 2021 is upon us, it’s time to reevaluate whether or not the processes you’ve been relying on are still effective for your businesses. If you’re seeing lower numbers of traffic online, or if you’re relying on traditional marketing and PR to bring in potential customers, a new and improved digital presence can help.
5 Signs Your Website Needs an Update
Does your website need a design update? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your website may be preventing you from reaching the right audience, keeping the right audience engaged, and increasing online revenue the way many organizations have in the age of COVID.
1. Does your website have a visitor count?
Let’s start with the first and most obvious indication your website is in need of an upgrade - design trends of the late 90s and early 2000s. If your website has any of the following, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Visitor Counter
If you have any of these elements in your current site, it’s time for them to go.
These types of elements can make your website slow to load, which impacts both the user experience and how likely Google and other search engines are to give your brand enough authority to rank as high as you’d like.
READ MORE: Playing the SEO Long Game
Generally speaking, if your website is more than 3 years old, it needs an update. As we find new ways to utilize technology, standards are constantly evolving in terms of not only aesthetics, but technical elements like code, meta descriptions and titles, and more.
Outdated code is more susceptible to being hacked, and it doesn’t always display the way the designer intended for it to in mobile devices or in new and updated browsers. It can also affect site speed, which as we mentioned, has an impact on your digital marketing and SEO efforts as well.
READ MORE: Your Digital Marketing Investment Checklist
2. Has your brand, business model, or target audience changed?
If your brand has expanded, if the number of services you offer has significantly increased, or if you’ve redesigned your logo and refined your brand voice, your website should reflect it. Any time your business model changes, so should your website.
If your brand has undergone any changes, are your new brand goals reflected throughout the site? If the goal of your medical practice is to encourage each visitor to make an appointment, does each page feature a Make an Appointment form.
If you recently created or implemented a Patient Portal option into your service options, does your navigation menu and each existing page prompting users to make an appointment now link to the patient portal where appointments can be made? In other words, has all of your content been updated, optimized, and refined to ensure it aligns with your business goals?
3. Is your website’s mobile experience lacking?
Is your website designed for a desktop experience, but not a mobile experience? Can users visiting your website from a mobile device easily find the information they’re looking for?
A mobile-friendly experience is one of the most important factors taken into account by search engines. Simply having an outdated mobile experience can be the difference between seeing your brand at the top of the first page of Google results and the bottom of the fourth page.
4. Is your website designed without conversions in mind?
We speak quite a bit about conversions on both our blog and when working with clients to design websites, and for good reason. As lovely as a new website can be, if it’s not driving conversions, it’s not living up to its investment.
LEARN MORE: Conversion Driven Design
Your website is more than a digital business card. It’s a way for individuals to learn more about your products and services and to find out whether or not you’re the right choice. Each element of your website - from design to content to button color - should reflect an intention to connect with your target audience and to convert them to a loyal customer.
LEARN MORE: A Guide to Building Your Website’s Architecture
If you do this well, you’ll see a return on investment in the form of new and returning loyal customers finding the products and services they want with a digital resource that is easy to navigate.
5. Are users having trouble navigating your website?
If you find your team is spending quite a bit of time answering questions over the phone that can be found online but are not easy to do so as a result of your website’s design or structure, it’s time for an update.
If you ask individuals to make appointments online but find they frequently have trouble doing so, your website may be to blame, and it may be time for an update.
If users are indicating your website is difficult to navigate, it’s time to take a redesign seriously.
From a user perspective, navigating an outdated website can be the difference between a new loyal customer and a new loyal customer for your competition.
The user experience should be flawless.
If it’s not, the consumers or clients you hope to attract will look elsewhere for what they need, and chances are they’ll find it elsewhere.
Are you on the fence about whether to invest in a website redesign or design updates? If you’re unsure whether or not an update is worth the investment, reach out to us. We’re happy to take some time to review your current site for things like:
- Site speed
- Navigation structure
- Mobile friendliness
- 404s and broken links
- Other technical improvements
Ready to get started? Let’s build cool things together.
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