Editor’s note: This post was written by Adam Kruger, who works at Resurgent Technology LLC, a growing yet small startup company in Chicago, IL. He enjoys sharing his insights and experiences through blogging.
It is not normally one single factor that flags up your website as needing a facelift, but a combination of issues that combine to spell out to you that a remodel would be a good idea.
There are plenty of tools available to help your website get a new lease of life and makeover, such as Adobe CS5 Design Premium Mac, but before you get started you need to take a baseline and see how your current site compares to the competition.
Setting the benchmark
There are some metrics that you can analyse so that you can measure and quantify future gains and see just how successful your design facelift has been.
Take a note of what your website is currently achieving for things like the number of visitors per month, how long they stay on your site and what the bounce rate is. You also need to check out the current SEO rankings of important keywords and identify how many leads are generated each month and total sales generated too.
Once you have these benchmark figures, you can set out some goals and targets for what you want to accomplish with your website once it has be redesigned.
There are numerous contributory factors that will combine to make your website perform below expectations and cause you to lose potential customers as a result of these issues.
Website design in the past was primarily based around the need for your website to look and perform to its best capabilities when someone was viewing the site from their PC. Viewing habits have changed greatly in recent years and more people than ever before now view content online using their mobile device or tablet.
A responsive design is a style that allows your website to automatically resize to any screen, making the viewing experience and navigation around your website far more pleasurable for your customers, regardless of which device they are using to access your site.
Too much clutter
There are many websites that start out with good intentions and well organised content, but if you don’t clear the clutter, your site can soon resemble an attic, with loads of items that you don’t really need or use.
Take a look at your site and make a note of all the buttons, badges and other paraphernalia that are hampering your site’s conversion rate and probably distracting or even annoying your customers.
Need for speed
A slow website is a big turn-off for many visitors and if your pages take too long to load, many will simply click away and go somewhere else.
A slow site is one of the fundamental reasons why you need a redesign and it is bad news all round, as you are driving some customers away because they are waiting too long for a page to load and in addition to this problem, you are probably not ranking as well with Google as you could do with a faster site.
Get the traffic flowing again
A great indicator that you have a high-performing website is when you see a healthy and steady increase in traffic each month.
If you are seeing the opposite trend and traffic is eroding, that is a sure sign that you need to give your website a facelift and reverse the trend from negative to positive as quickly as possible.
Even if your website is performing ok, if you haven’t changed it for a few years, you might get visitors that think it looks distinctly outdated and they might even think you have given up on the site if nothing has changed for a long time.
A redesign will do the equivalent of a fresh coat of paint and get everything looking shiny and new again. Website navigation is more intuitive these days and peoples navigation trends have changed in the last few years, so you don’t want to test your visitors tolerance levels with outdated design elements.
If your site is not working correctly, you can’t really blame online visitors if they vote with their finger and click away to another website.
If you have any features on your site that simply don’t work anymore, a website makeover can help to fix these issues.
It could also be that you get a string of error messages when you log into your Google Webmaster Tools account.
This is another message that you can ignore, which is telling you that you need to give your website a new lease of life and fix all the things that are broken as well as making it look shiny and new to all your visitors.