'Don’t judge a book by its cover' is a well-known cliché. And, while I agree completely with the principle, I’m the first to admit I’m guilty of it just the same. Today, more than ever, users are inclined to purchase based on packaging or advertising where contents may be identical or similar.
But when you’re dealing with the web, your design straddles both the look and the feel of the website – how the user interacts with the site. How easy it is to find what you’re looking for. How products are displayed or services are explained.
With the ever-increasing prevalence of the web in today’s business, and the inexorable march of new technologies, it’s important to stay on top and to keep your business relevant.
How do you know if your website layout and design is outdated? Perhaps your web or mobile application has functionality that has become obsolete? Or your site may not be appealing to a modern-day consumer. By neglecting to redesign and update your website or app, you may be losing customers to your competitors.
Website design has changed a lot over the past few years. Even comparing websites from just two years ago, today's websites look markedly different. The types of images used, social media buttons, the way text is written and many other features appear and function differently today.
Logically, visitors do not return to a site if they have a bad user experience. They prefer sites with a simple aesthetic that provides easy access to the information or product they are looking for.
If your site is performing poorly, is difficult to use, or has poor design qualities, you may be losing potential customers. Here are seven vital elements and reasons why you should give your website attention.
When should you redesign your website?
Here are some important points to consider when contemplating a website redesign:
1. Ensure an excellent User-Experience
A good website designer always begins with user experience (UX) when approaching a new website or app. User experience is about making a visitor comfortable and behaving intuitively when navigating around your website.
A visitor will have a better experience with your website if it has an easy to use navigation - clicking from one section to another must be a seamless process. The images and words need to be instructional and relevant to clearly inform the user what to do next.
2. Your Website or App doesn't work well on mobile
Responsive web design is simply web design and websites that re-size to render correctly and aesthetically on all devices: mobile, tablet and desktop computers. Considering Mobile internet traffic was responsible for 52.64% of global online traffic in 2017, responsive functionality is a must for any website today.
Most people start their online shopping journey on a mobile device, some move to a laptop or desktop to make the final purchase, booking or request, but increasing numbers remain on the mobile device for the entire transaction.
If your website is not responsive, you should redesign it immediately.
3. New marketing goals
When a business creates new goals, expands to new markets or acquires new territory a new marketing plan is required, and this obviously includes a website redesign.
Your branding needs may also change and must be reflected in the new design. Don't just pay attention to the new colours, logo and images, also take care with the text content and language that your website uses.
4. Lead, Leads, Leads!
Even when your website looks good, the statistics behind the site must be monitored. What may be considered a ‘good design may not convert visitors into leads or sales enquiries.
If you receive less than expected leads and clicks to your website, you may need to revisit your website UX and design.
Pay attention to your landing pages. Ensure the page has a call-to-action (CTA) and conversion path. You may need to rewrite the language of your CTA to make it more compelling.
5. Keep visitors coming back
If your website design sells a product or service, it’s more than likely you want to attract repeat customers. Even for an informative website like a blog or wiki, you want people sharing your pages across social media and the web. If your website generates revenue from advertising, repeat visitors are critical.
In the case of an e-commerce site, you want people purchasing and coming back for more purchases. Make sure the checkout process is quick and easy and ask them to refer your site to their friends!
A deep dive into your site analytics can give a good idea of what pages users visit, what devices they use when visiting your site, and their journey through your site.
Redesigning the pages most visited can help you direct your customer attention and help them find what they need from your company.
6. Your competitors redesigned their websites
Inevitably, one of your competitors are going to build a site you wish you had. This, in turn, makes your site look less attractive to the market you share.
Check your competitor’s site and make sure that yours is not lagging behind in user friendliness, graphics and overall experience.
Giving a cosmetic overhaul to your site will signal that your business keeps up with the times and it is growing.
7. Updating the website is becoming more difficult
Updating and adding fresh content to the site is not always easy, especially when you're using an old website that has slowed down or has functionality errors.
Make sure that you can quickly and easily update your content on your site and make sure the site is search engine optimised so that people can find you when they search on Google.
A website is not a static thing - it’s the face of your company that needs to constantly evolve to avoid being left behind and maintain functionality. A well-designed, fast, clean and well-performing website or app is must for companies - your users will remember the experience.