Every year in Q1 our agency gets a small flurry of requests to "update" or "refresh" clients' websites. They're often not sure why, or have metrics to support the request. How often should this be done? How many years is too old? Just because you're tired of looking at the same home page, doesn't mean your customers are....right?
Below is a checklist, where if you answer yes to any of these items, it might be time for that refresh.
No one is sadder than we are about the death of Flash but its complete inability to render on mobile devices and lack of support in the major browsers make this technology an absolute no no. So, if you have a 2 minute movie about your winery on your home page - redesign your site. We'll go one step further - if you have a "cover" home page that is a large image without any discernible clickable links or images - redesign your site. Your website is not a digital brochure and you don’t need an introduction. Get to the point on the home page with some buttons and links or lose more than half your audience immediately (our experience shows sometimes 60-80% will "bounce" off a home page if it doesn’t offer calls to action).
If you don't know what this is, open your website in a browser on your computer...now drag the corner of the browser window until it becomes a cell-phone sized rectangle. If your site isn't re-organizing images, copy and navigation and is just becoming smaller, it is not built with responsive design.
A well-designed site will feel natural on a mobile device like a phone or tablet, with easy to use navigation for a finger, a shopping cart with number wheels and big buttons, and text and photos that are easy to see. Visitors tend to have less patience and short attention spans on mobile devices so expect quicker bounce rates and less time spent on any given site. Still not convinced this is important? Consider these stats:
Having a mobile website is no longer a suggestion, it's mandatory. If your site delivers different content altogether for mobile, requires users to pinch and zoom, or in any way isn’t an intuitive and smooth experience on your phone, you should update your site design for mobile use immediately.
Websites are not brochures and no company has ever been successful because a lot of visitors went to the "about us" page. A website should have surgical, transactional goals to drive sales, traffic, or club or mailing list sign ups. Take a critical look at your pages and ask "is it clear what I want visitors to do on this page?" And when you offer your call-to-action, do you give the visitor multiple choices and locations to get there? The jury is still out on what elicits the best response, a link or a button; most tests say over time it's about 50/50, so if you don't want to lose half your audience, it's best to supply both.
How much is enough? Well there are two metrics - visitors and sales - and the magic between the two is the conversion rate to a sale. According to Smart Insights, the average conversion rate on ecommerce sites in 2017 was 2.48%. If you’re seeing weak sales from your website, it could be your site design that’s confusing your visitors or slowing them down. Or, maybe they’re just unsure. A well-designed, professional-looking site engenders trust and enthusiasm. If your site is stale or clunky or too “crafty” with poorly lit wine bottles from an iPhone, you’re turning customers off. A redesign can help you refocus your customers and boost your brand image.
The world moves fast, and three years can fly by. Consumer expectations shift over time, and are influenced by trends in design and structure. Some examples of new trends are:
But fear not, along with the change in technology comes easier editors and website templates. Where websites once commanded $20,000+ you can now get a relatively clean and modern template for around $5,000. And in half the time, too.
So, if you answered yes to any of our items above, it might be time to refresh that site and show the world how user and mobile friendly you can be!