It is hard to admit that your website is ugly or isn't performing. But chances are if you're reading this article it's probably the truth.
Your digital baby, if you will, took hours of thought and development, you labored over color choices and photos, either paid exorbitant amounts of money to a designer or slogged your way through books and webpages to do it yourself and all of it was fairly exhaustive. The thought of starting this process over again can be daunting to anyone. However, having a website that misses the mark with visitors is not only a poor decision in regards to the aesthetic quality of your site, but also is a poor decision in terms of conversion rate opportunities and overall ROI.
Pulling the trigger on a redesign is no easy process. However, if your site is not showing year-over-year growth then chances are that you are long overdue for an overhaul. The goal of any ecommerce website is to convert visitors into customers and if your site design and/or structure is a barrier in that, it needs fixed. Identifying the problems that hinder your site from being conducive to conversion and visitor engagement is an important step in the right direction. Much of this can be done be just deciding what isn't working with your site and finding strategies for making it work and work well with your audience. Below are a few reasons why a redesign should become a priority for your company's web presence and some negative effects you could face by not taking action now. If any of these statements are true about your site, consider a redesign to recapture your audience and remain relevant in today's vast world of the internet.
1) It Has a High Bounce Rate
If your website has a high bounce rate, it's probably time to update it. Available to view in Google Analytics, bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that only visit a single page on your website during their session. While bounce rates vary, the average is about 40 to 55 percent, meaning that 40 to 55 out of every 100 website visitors only visit a single page during their session.
A high bounce rate usually indicates a poor user experience. If a visitor doesn't have a positive experience when navigating and using your website, he or she may leave without visiting another page, causing your site's bounce rate to increase.
2) It Takes Longer Than 3 Seconds to Load
Run your website through a speed tester like tools.pingdom.com or gtmetrix.com to see how quickly it loads. If it's longer than three seconds, you should update your site to speed it up. One study found that nearly half of visitors abandon websites that don't load in three seconds or less, while a separate study found that every additional second to a website's load time resulted in 7 percent fewer conversions.
3) It Lacks Basic On-Page SEO
To rank your website on Google, Bing and other search engines for relevant queries, including your business's brand name, you must perform on-page search engine optimization (SEO). Each page, for example, should have a unique title tag describing the page's main focus. The title tag is an HTML element that's displayed in browser tabs when the page is opened, but they are also used by search engines to create listings. You can customize the way your website is displayed on Google and Bing by creating unique title tags.
Other basic on-page SEO signals to look for when assessing your business's website include:
- Unique meta descriptions
- A single H1 tag on each page consisting of the page's title tag
- Page URLs formatted with relevant keywords
- Internal links to other pages
- Images optimized with a relevant file name and alt text attribute
4) It Doesn't Have Fresh Content
Without fresh content, your website will struggle to attract and retain visitors. A study conducted by HubSpot found that businesses that created 16 new pages of content per month attracted more than three times the amount of traffic as businesses that created zero to four new pages of content per month.
Fresh content increases your site's exposure in the search results, improves the overall quality of your site, and it compels visitors to return. To take advantage of these benefits, update your site by publishing three to four new pages of high-quality content per week.
5) It's Not Secured With HTTPS
The rise of online privacy breaches has led internet users to choose and use websites more cautiously than in the past. If a visitor doesn't believe your website is secure, he or she may leave to ensure that their private information isn't stolen or leaked.
To make visitors feel safe, your website should use the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). A type of encrypted network communication protocol, HTTPS scrambles data transmitted to and from your website to prevent unauthorized users from reading it. Using HTTPS will also give your site a secure padlock icon when viewed in the Chrome browser, whereas using HTTP will result in a "Not Secure" label.
6) It's Doesn't Function Properly on Mobile Devices
Statistics show that three in five of all internet users who visit a website do so from a mobile device. If your website doesn't function properly on mobile devices, however, these users may abandon it.
You can update your website with a responsive design to make it compatible on mobile devices. Responsive design uses proportional units of measurement, rather than fixed, to achieve a dynamic layout that automatically adapts to the device on which it's viewed.
7) It's Difficult to Navigate
From search rankings and bounce rate to conversions and user satisfaction, navigation can affect nearly every aspect of your website's performance. When visiting your website for the first time, users should be able to easily find specific content. If it's difficult or confusing to navigate, visitors won't stay long, nor will they engage with your business.
Place yourself in the shoes of a typical visitor to your website and try to find a specific type of content by clicking navigation links. If you're unable to easily find the content within just a few clicks of your mouse, or taps on your mobile device, update your site by improving its navigation.
8) It Contains Dead Links
Also known as broken links, dead links are detrimental to a website's user experience. They look like ordinary links, but as both their names suggest, they don't send visitors to the intended page when clicked. Rather, dead links send visitors to a 404 error page, which often results in them leaving the site.
The good news is that you don't have to manually click every link on your website to see if they work. Just enter your website's URL at brokenlinkcheck.com, and it will reveal whether it contains dead links. If you discover dead links, either remove them or modify them with correct target URL.
9) It Doesn't Match Your Brand
If your website doesn't match your brand, you need to update it. From the logo and header to the font and formatting, every element on your website must reflect your business's brand. Otherwise, visitors won't remember your business and what it offers.
Giving your website a complete makeover with a new brand-focused design is time-consuming, but it's essential to creating a unique identity for your business. As visitors encounter your website, they'll see brand elements, which they'll subconsciously associate with your business.
10) It's Uses an Ineffective CTA
Your website should have a call to action (CTA) that tells visitors the next step they should take to engage with your business, and you should monitor the performance of this CTA to determine whether it needs adjusting.
Pay attention to the percentage of users who click your website's CTA. Known as click-through rate (CTR), it reflects how well your CTA can grab visitors' attention and compel them to click the linked text or image. If your CTA has a low CTR, 3 percent or less for most types of websites, update your website by experimenting with a different CTA. Changing the shape, color, text or placement of a CTA can all affect its performance.
A website is a powerful marketing tool that can help you connect with your business's audience and nurture them into customers, but you need to update it regularly. If you notice any of the signs listed here, log in to your website and make the necessary changes. It will allow you to build a stronger and more effective online presence for your business.
11) Too Much Technical Troubleshooting
There is a major problem when instead of providing better customer support you spend time troubleshooting and serving as technical support. If you spend more time fixing technical aspects your site than you do optimizing it then it's time to start looking into new hosting options, content management systems, shopping cart programs, or even the entire framework and navigation of your site. It can be exhaustive to continually have to look into error messages and field emails asking why a certain feature of your site doesn't work as intuitively as it should. Also, if scalability was not a priority the first time you designed your site, then you might be having problems in the future with finding ways and places to put important product and company information. If your site does not have the ability to grow with content and pages then chances are that your profits and sales don't have a favorable chance to grow either.
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