When Is It Time to Get a New Website for My Business?
The good news is you may not have to.
Below are three easy ways to tell if keeping the old or building a new is the right direction for your business.
But first, this.
The things you’ll want to consider are the overall goals for your website in general. Perhaps it’s better ranking in Google or more leads in general. Maybe it’s the ability to make it easier to update or faster to edit content. Has your business changed significantly since the website was built and you need to reorganize content and navigation to accommodate who you now are as a business?
When you realize what your goal or goals are for your website, you’ll be better able to measure your current website against the features, benefits, and cost of developing a new one.
We talk with small businesses every week who are looking to improve their website and from a wide range of conversations, there seem to be three major reasons businesses explore designing a new website for their business.
Three of the most common frustrations are:
- The website is not mobile friendly
- The website is not generating enough traffic or sales leads
- The website is hard to update without special programming skills
Let’s quickly explore the options for each of these three reasons.
The Business Website Is Not Mobile-Friendly
There’s no two ways around this one, Google prefers mobile-friendly websites when it comes to ranking and displaying search results. What does that mean for your business? It means if your website is not mobile friendly, you’re losing eyeballs, ranking opportunities, and overall visibility inside the world’s largest and most popular search engine.
With over 65% of the world’s total online search activity, what Google prefers matters to small businesses. (See what Google has to say about your own website’s mobile-friendliness).
It used to be that having a mobile version of your website separate from your regular desktop website was enough to get the job done for Google but not anymore. While there are ways to make your website more usable for viewers on a smartphone, being truly mobile friendly will be the key determining factor in the coming year as to whether your site will improve inside Google’s ranking system.
Bottom line–check with your web developer and see if the software your website is currently built on will allow for mobile-responsive design updating (the ability for the website to automatically scale with the size of the screen it’s viewed on). If so, you may be best served to explore that option rather than paying for a new site. If not, this in and of itself may be enough to have you looking for a new platform to put your website onto.
The Website Is Not Generating Enough Traffic Or Sales Leads
If you are a business owner that relates traffic to leads, you’re not alone. But they are mutually exclusive. While more traffic most assuredly could lead to more sales leads, the truth is bringing more people to a website that doesn’t connect, answer questions, or inspire action doesn’t further the goals of sales leads at all.
However, a website that does think about the customer first, provides value to the decision making process, and has clear and obvious contact information and call to action components would benefit greatly from increased eyeballs more traffic would bring.
So, do you need a new website in order to get more traffic and more leads? Not necessarily so. Many sites, regardless of age, could benefit from an objective content review. To do a quick content review, ask yourself the following questions:
What questions do my customers ask the most? Does my website clearly and easily answer them?
What problems are my customers looking to solve? Does my website speak to the ways in which you help them solve those problems?
Does the majority of my business come from a definable geographic area? If so, does that geographic area stand out on my website?
How long is the average sales decision by my customer? If it’s instant gratification, is my website designed to inspire action now? If it’s a fairly drawn out process, does my website have a way of providing value to the decision making process?
Now the kicker–have someone that is not an employee log onto your website and have them shop as if they were a prospective customer.
Evaluating the answers to these basic questions will start you in the right direction regardless of how old your website is or on what platform it was built. Improvements to the content and overall value to a website are things that should be able to provide value to your business whether or not you decide to keep your site or invest in a new one.
The Website Is Hard To Update
Of the three most popular reasons we’ve discussed, this one is the most obvious sign that a new website may be most beneficial to your business.
If the website is hard to update it usually means one of three things:
- It uses a programming language that one or few people in your business know. These days, websites are built on content management systems (CMS) that allow fast and easy access to editing pages and content with word processor like tools rather than programming knowledge. A CMS that allows for fast and easy updating means you can be more responsive to the changing trends in your industry, common questions from your customers, and new revenue opportunities for your business. And best of all, a CMS provides access to website editing through any computer connected to the internet so no special software is needed.
- The person who built or usually updated the website is no longer with the company. This is pretty common as companies grow in both size and age. What was once an electronic brochure designed by an employee who knew something about computers is now far more important to your business than you’d thought it would be. But the person who knew how to manage the site is no longer with the company or no longer has time to keep the website updated.
- The vendor that built the website is no longer accessible or slow to respond to needs. As companies grow, their needs grow and with it comes the time and attention needed to keep the website updated and valuable. But the person you paid to develop the website is no longer in business or has become too busy to be as responsive as you need.
Regardless of the reason, if the website is hard to update or having to update the website is taking more time and energy than you see benefit in, then it’s time to explore an updated, more efficient model for your business.
New won’t always mean better when it comes to website designs. While there is definitely value in updating the tools, features, and functions of your small business website, sometimes reviewing the content, purpose and value of what’s in the website can help even more.
If you have any questions about your own website or are looking for an answer as to whether you should keep your site and refresh the content or build new, we’d be happy to give you honest, objective advice.