Do you think your website needs a refresh? Most of the time when the answer to this question is yes, it’s because of obvious reasons.
It looks old. It has a vibe from the 2000’s or even 2010’s. It makes your brand look uninspiring. You don’t like to send the link to prospective clients anymore. It’s difficult to update. The list could go on…
Technology and especially web design is moving so fast that the longevity of a website rarely reaches 10 years. That is probably the easiest question to ask: when was the website made? If it’s more than 10 years ago, then go ahead and give it a fresh coat of paint. (We mean a pixelated/web coat of paint, of course.)
A website refresh done well requires a certain amount of investment: time, resources, people, finances. You need to have a series of good, solid reasons, to embark on a project of this importance.
So how do you make an informed decision?
We can help you make that decision with a few key questions that you need to ask yourself and your team.
You will notice that our questions go beyond the mere looks of a website.
Why? Because research keeps showing that, while the visual, aesthetic side of the website is important, there are other major areas that you need to consider, like loading speed and responsiveness among others.
With websites – much like a car – the looks matter but it’s what’s under the hood that matters even more.
The best way we can help is by having our designers and developers take a look at your website and assess whether or not it needs a refresh. The second best way is by pointing out 5 key questions that you need to answer when considering a website refresh:
1. Is your website mobile-friendly?
Is your website responsive? Did you get that question before? Didn’t quite know how to answer? What it means is: does your website look good on a desktop as well as on a mobile phone or a tablet? Does the text and especially the images fit the screen well, in any screen size? Is the menu easy to use and are things easy enough to find without too much scrolling?
The trends keep showing that more and more users will access your website from their phone or tablet. Given the variety of screen sizes in both of these types of devices, making a mobile version of your current website is simply not practical. You have to be prepared.
A new, responsive version of your entire website is the solution that will bring more value for the investment, both in time and finances.
Don’t know if your website is or isn’t mobile friendly? Google will tell you in big bold letters if your website is not mobile-friendly, and will point you to a few issues to fix. Use their simple tool: Mobile-friendly Test.
At Enspire, we not only do this simple test before we start on a new website refresh project, but we also keep mobile-friendly-ness in mind from the beginning. We keep responsiveness top of mind the whole project to provide a great experience for users, both on desktop and mobile devices.
2. How many seconds does it take your website to load?
According to the latest research, users are 3x more concerned with the loading speed of a mobile website than how it looks. You’ll read further down just how important looks are, so the fact that users care even more about loading time is a big deal.
Patience is rare, and patience online – even more so.
If your text and photos are not up as soon as the user has clicked on your link, you stand to lose a potential customer.
What is the recommended loading time? At Enspire we always make sure that the websites we make take less than 3 seconds to load, and our goal is to have the websites load in less than 1 second.
A useful tool we use for our clients when it comes to measuring page load speed is Pingdom and GT Metrix.
They will give you a pretty thorough assessment, including a grade. For a more refined analysis, you can register as a user or try their PRO packages. You might need some help to understand parts of their assessments, and if that’s the case, drop us a message and we’ll be glad to help.
3. Is your website up-to-date with the latest SEO practices?
If you’re not entirely sure how to answer this question, we recommend reading one of our previous articles: 5 Key Things to Know About Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
We explain what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about and how it helps your website and your business.
When you answer this question – after reading the article – you will look mostly at on-site SEO. Is the content of your website clear and focused? Are your keywords part of your content, and are they still relevant for your business?
SEO questions all boil down to this: is it easy for users to find your website by searching for it on Google, Bing or any other search engine they use that are relevant to your demographics.
There are multiple tools that help you analyze your website’s SEO. Here’s one of them, from Neil Patel: SEO Analyzer.
Based on how you fare, you will need to decide whether the changes you need to make can be applied to your current website for a quick fix, or if a major refresh would make more sense and bring more value.
At Enspire, we can help with both. We always build websites with SEO in mind, and we do that with refreshes too. But we also offer SEO services, giving your website and your business the boost it needs.
4. Does your website have too many sections, pages, subpages?
There are websites that are knowledge-based and they require a complex database.
Most websites, however, do not need more than 5-7 pages and 10-15 subpages. From our experience, even having this many pages is a bit of a stretch.
In web design, this is what we call Site Architecture. What it means is the way that your menu is built, how many pages you have, how many subpages each page has and how easy it is to find your way around the site. This also might mean that all roads will lead to a contact form, or a sale, or a subscription.
All the roads of your website need to lead to the paramount Call to Action.
More than that, ask yourself this: is it easy to find information on your website? How easy is it to read the information? Is the font legible? Is there enough white space so that the information does not feel too crowded and does not tire the eyes? Do the users need to keep scrolling to get to where they need or to have to enlarge the picture/font size to see something (a big no-no!) Are there subpages that take several clicks to get to, only to display only a couple of paragraphs of text/information?
5. Does your website look polished and relevant?
While this is not the most important part, it does matter. Research shows that users form design opinions about a website in less than 50ms. This makes the job of web designers a tough one. They have less than 1 second to make a good first impression. Less than 1 second!
So ask yourself: is your website a visually appealing one? Ask members of your team, ask family and strangers that can give you an honest assessment. Here is a shortlist of elements to pay extra attention to and ask about:
- Does the look still reflect our identity?
- Does the logo look good?
- Do the fonts used look professional/modern/inviting?
- Do the fonts match? Are there too many?
- Do the colors used look fresh and inspiring?
- Is it easy to read the information on the website?
- How appealing do the header (top part) and the footer (bottom part) of the website look?
- Are the pictures used good quality?
Keep asking questions, beginning with, “How does this look?”, “How does it feel”, “What kind of vibe do you get from it?” And if the word “vibe” is a little too hipster for your liking, simply ask people this: “Do you like this website enough to keep looking at it for more than 1 second?”
If you need a more complex, data-driven assessment, you can check out an article from the guys at Elegant Themes called How to Conduct a Design Audit of Your Website.
Now that you have answered these 5 questions you can make a more informed decision which will most likely point you to the right solution.
In most cases, it will be one of the following two directions:
You may need minor tweaks here and there.
This might be in the design department, optimization or SEO. If you decide to do this yourself or delegate it to a team member, you need to make sure that your branding and message stays consistent and the new elements don’t clash with the old. If you can’t do that, we’d recommend you get a designer or an agency on board to make these changes for you.
You may need a full-blown website refresh.
Get a professional team to help you with this one. This is definitely where we can come in and help. Our team has successfully completed refresh projects and knows exactly the areas to target for optimal results. We’d be happy to take a look at your website, listen to what your needs are and help identify the best solutions for you and your business.
Feel free to ask us any further questions by setting up a call with us to discuss more.
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