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Top Signs Your Website Is Overdue for an Update

Most businesses understand that it's important to redesign their websites every so often. But exactly how often? There's no simple answer to this question, as it depends on many factors. One point to keep in mind is that, as the pace of technology accelerates, it's generally better to redesign more often to keep up. But what really matters is identifying the specific areas where your website needs upgrades.

Top Signs Your Website Is Overdue for an Update - Bad Stock Photography

Does Your Website Have an Outdated Look?

This question is a little subjective as your perception of appearance has to do with personal taste. Two people can look at the same website and come to different conclusions. Nevertheless, there are objective signs that suggest your site looks out of date.

  • If you're using a ton of stock photos or clip art, it's hard for your website to appear modern. Original photography and custom images such as illustrations, icons, and infographics help you differentiate yourself and gives your website a fresh and modern look.
  • Are you guilty of using too many bright, competing colors? In the early days of the internet, many websites were very colorful, often displaying a whole spectrum of reds, greens, blues, and yellows. If you're using more than three primary colors or very bright colors, it gives your site an outdated look. You'll notice that a range of newer websites use a subdued palette with bright colors used more sparingly.
  • Does your website have a cluttered look? If you have too many ads, sidebars, or widgets on your site, it's hard for visitors to focus on what's important, such as your actual content and calls-to-action. Too much text without paragraph breaks, bulleted lists, or white space also creates a cluttered and outdated feeling.
  • One of the most obvious signs of an outdated website is that its content hasn't been updated in a while. If you don't have new content, you need to get busy uploading fresher items and re-working your written content. If there's copyright at the bottom of your website, is it more than a year old? If so, take the time to update it. Dated blog posts from long ago are another hint you've left things alone for too long. The best solution is to actually add new content. Here are some ideas about content creation.
Top Signs Your Website Is Overdue for an Update - Missing Important Trends like Chatbots

Are You Overlooking Important New Trends?

Here are a few examples of website trends that are likely to remain strong for the next few years:

  • Social media integration. Social media marketing and website development should complement one another. You want to make it easy for your visitors to find your social media sites. Your site needs highly visible social media buttons to help you gain more followers.
  • Chatbots. A chatbot is a good way to engage with visitors and guide them to the information they're looking for. It's important, however, to find the right type of chatbot for your business.
  • Social proof. Customers increasingly consider reviews and testimonials before trying new products and services. Placing social proof on your website helps to build your credibility.
  • Interactive features. Aside from chatbots, there are many other ways to make your website interactive such as polls, live customer support, and user-generated content.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

One of the most urgent signs that your website needs updating is that it's not responsive or mobile-friendly. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access the internet. If your website is difficult to navigate on mobile devices, you are excluding many potential customers. If your site is lacking in this area, check out our article about the two approaches to creating a mobile-ready website to get a handle on your options.

A major sign that your website is not mobile-friendly is if you still use Flash, which is not accessible to most mobile devices. Most themes and designs today use responsive design, which automatically adjusts the design shown to fit any device. So if your site isn't responsive or mobile-friendly, this is definitely a clue that you're overdue for a redesign. It's always a good idea to test your website on various devices and operating systems, to see what your visitors are experiencing.

Top Signs Your Website Is Overdue for an Update - Visitors Leaving Quickly

Are Your Visitors Leaving Too Soon?

Your visitors and customers are really the best and most important judges of how your website is performing. Certain analytics are useful for clues that a redesign is in order. Traffic by itself isn't a useful metric in this regard, as a new visitor doesn't know what to expect when he or she lands on your site. You can have a beautiful and modern website and no traffic. Conversely, an outdated website can get lots of traffic if you're doing paid advertising and SEO. However, it will also tend to have a high bounce rate, meaning visitors don't spend much time on your pages. Other crucial metrics include return visits and, of course, conversions.

One way to understand how your visitors feel about your website is to request feedback. You could ask questions, or create polls and surveys for some of your best customers to give feedback about what they'd like. Even a simple poll such as "Do you prefer image A or B?" can help you learn about your audience's preferences. People will seldom tell you that your website is outdated or hard to navigate but if you ask them they'll often be glad to give you their opinions.

If you want to go covert on your information-gathering mission you can also create an A/B test to see which version of your website page gets more clicks. You'll need to be able to be patient and take some time to look at the data that emerges before making a slew of changes.

So, What Does it Come Down to?

While there's no exact formula for determining how often a website needs a redesign, it's still helpful to note the timeline. If you built your site more than three years ago and it's never been redesigned, there's a good chance that you could benefit with some upgrades and changes.

New isn't always better, of course. However, it's undeniable that our whole society and the tech sector, in particular, tends to favor the new and improved. Just as clothing fashions change annually, new design trends, fonts, features, and themes are always changing the world of web design. So if you've had the same look for a while it might be time to at least consider some upgrades.

If you lag too far behind contemporary website design practices, your visitors will notice, even if they aren't conscious of it. People form quick, often unconscious impressions of a website that help to determine how much time they spend there, what actions they'll take, and whether or not they'll return. Having an attractive, user-friendly, and modern-looking website helps to stack the odds in your favor.

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