Fall Overhaul: 4 Reasons Your Website Needs an Update

Could your website use a facelift? Use these 6 easy tricks to update your site's design and functionality and keep visitors on your site longer.
October 02, 2014

As your company’s virtual headquarters or storefront, your website should be immaculate, effective and easy to use. If it fails to provide visitors with reasons to stick around, you’re shortchanging your company, missing out on potential sales and possibly even setting your business up for failure.

Could it be time to overhaul your company website?

4 Signs Your Site Needs Revamping

Some signs are more obvious than others. But whatever the underlying issues may be, it’s likely time to to revamp your company website if any of the following sounds familiar:

1. Your site isn't responsive. Over the past few years, mobile devices—including smartphones and tablets—have exploded across the technology scene. Though they were once intriguing gadgets used only by tech-savvy individuals, they've moved into the mainstream and are now quite common. A major percentage of Web traffic originates from mobile devices these days. The problem for webmasters and business owners is that managing websites so they appear properly on both mobile and regular sites is difficult, frustrating and time-consuming—but it's critical if you want to stay in the tech loop with your customers. Non-responsive sites are being phased out, and your site should be right on top of that trend.

2. Your site contains unused features. When you launch a website, it can be difficult to tell which features are necessary and which are superfluous. Additionally, features, functions and pages that were useful when you started out may no longer have value now that some years have passed. Are portions of your site little more than wasted space? If so, it may be time to eliminate them and redesign.

3. The purpose of your site has changed. Much the way features might have changed over time, your site’s entire purpose could be different from what it was in the past. For example, you might have originally launched your site to display company and product information; but now it might need to serve as an e-commerce site. If that’s the case, it needs to be completely revamped and rebranded for optimal usability.

4. You're experiencing a high bounce rate. Of all the metrics covered by Google Analytics, your site’s bounce rate may be the most important statistical takeaway. This number measures the percentage of site viewers that leave your website after viewing just one page. Bounce rates above 75 percent are generally considered high and likely indicate larger, underlying issues.

Making Changes

Successful companies consistently maintain aesthetically pleasing websites that have low bounce rates. Do you have difficulty doing both of these simultaneously?

If so, you aren’t alone. Far too many sites neglect to maintain an attractive layout and design while also reducing their bounce rates. But it's not impossible. Here are six essential tips to get you started:

1. Pay attention to aesthetics. Are your site visitors looking for functionality? Surely they are, but they’re also looking for a landing page that’s attractive and aesthetically pleasing. A major part of ending high bounce rates is learning how to use the available web design tools and features selectively. For instance, try using fresh, vibrant design elements and icons to draw visitors in visually. According to Paul Bukhovko of FatCow, “We wanted to do something for the Web design community." So the company made free icons available to the public, and, according to Bukhovko, "We’ve seen a demand among our customers for cool, clean icons.”

2. Improve site speed. Few things are more frustrating for site visitors than slow processing speeds and pages that take forever to download. It’s well worth whatever time and money you need to spend to enhance your site's speed. Do whatever is necessary to make the end user’s experience fast and efficient—your ROI will be high.

3. Provide easy navigation. Speed is of no value if visitors can't freely and easily navigate through your site pages. Make sure your site has a concise navigation menu on every page. For best results, it should go either at the top or on the left side. It’s also helpful to have a search feature built into your site. This is especially true if you have many pages with unique and specific information.

4. Update it frequently. The Web design industry is constantly working to improve itself. To take advantage of new technologies, features and platforms—and to appeal to customers’ pain points—you must take the trouble to update your site frequently. This includes keeping layout designs fresh, updating blogs, refreshing imagery and pushing out timely promotions and advertisements.

5. Authenticate landing pages. When directing a visitor to a landing page, you must follow up on any promises or suggestions you made in the advertisement or inbound link. Nothing is worse for your site’s image than failing to follow through with a promise you made elsewhere.

6. Connect the dots. Lowering your bounce rate requires you to invest in connectivity. While each individual site page should be distinct and focused, they should all interact with each other. Create calls to action that encourage visitors to move freely from one internal site page to another. Otherwise, visitors are left wondering where they should go next.

Above all else, be sure to design for functionality. A site that’s highly intuitive and functional is pretty much guaranteed to enjoy a lower bounce rate than messy ones. To manage your bounce rate and investigate specific statistics related to individual pages and links, use an analytics tool or software.

Your site deserves a facelift for fall, so don’t ignore it.

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