Freshly painted rooms. Clean sheets. A newly designed website.
What do these all have in common? THEY FEEL SO DAMN GOOD.
Honestly, if I had the time I'd redesign our N8 website once a quarter. As a web designer, there's almost nothing as satisfying as a freshly updated website. It's a sick obsession but they don't make support groups for this.
But my ideal world and the world I live in are quite different, as I suspect they are for you - so while we don't have time to redesign for funsies, there are times and situations in which a redesign of a website is all but necessary.
I've compiled my five biggest red flags when it comes to websites needing an overhaul. Read on for existential dread upon the slow realization that you may be one of the afflicted.
1. Your website isn't mobile-first.
This is a biggy - and comes in at the top of the list. A mobile-first website is designed for the mobile user. It not only functions on a smaller screen, but it THRIVES there.
In the past, sites were built for desktop users, and adapted for smaller screens. This is not the we are doing things anymore. That's the global "we" - there's not a big convention of web designers and if there are I've never been invited (cue high school anxiety).
How do you know if your website is mobile-first? Open it up in your iPhone, silly.
But don't just look at it. Click around, make sure all the buttons and links work as expected. Seriously - go to every page and toodle around in there. You're bound to find something small (which you should fix), but you'll absolutely know if your mobile site is going to cause your visitors to throw their phone across the room in a fit of rage.
2. Your website has a side part.
You know how Gen Z is making fun of millennial women for having side parts? It's a thing. Middle parts are in now. All the rage.
Anywho, if your website has been rocking that side part since 2009, it may be time to give it a sweet, luxurious, symmetrical middle part to show the world that you are hip with the times.
I realize if you're not all over social media you may have no idea what I'm talking about, and if that's the case I'm so envious of you.
Basically, if your site has an outdated look and feel, you're closing yourself off from an entire generation of potential customers. An outdated website sends a few messages to your audience:
- You don't invest in your business' online presence
- You are old/antiquated
- You just don't "get it"
All real things that can negatively affect your reputation in the marketplace.
So if you were really excited about your website in 2012, you shouldn't be so excited about that same design in 2021.
3. Your site loads slowly.
Humans are the worst. We lack any patience at all, and it's the biggest problem when it comes to both restaurants and websites.
Don't get between a human and its food, or a human and its website content.
Lord Google recommends a page load time of less than 2 seconds (meanwhile Google itself shoots for less than 1/2 a second). Any slower and they'll ping you, sliding your webpage down in their search engine rankings.
A slow website not only upsets search engines, it also upsets your customers. I know if I'm looking for a menu or something on a restaurant's website, and it takes more than a few seconds to load, I'm backing out and going to the next restaurant's website. Just like that, someone is losing out on my $15 in cheese curds all because of a slow website.
Some tools to help you determine your page load speed:
4. Your website ranks poorly in local search results.
Local search results are a huge indicator of whether or not the content and structure of your website is doing its job.
Say you're a lumber yard; if your potential customer searches "Lumber Yard Near Me" and you don't show up, you've lost a hot lead. HOT LEAD.
We offer a free local SEO tool on our website, but so do a bunch of other folks. So just search up a LOCAL SEO AUDIT on the Google machine and an option will pop up for you (just be prepared for follow up emails, these are lead gen tools for agencies like ours).
Even if your business model doesn't keep you tethered to your local area, these results can help you determine if your site content is giving search engines enough information to grab onto. They'll also let you know structurally what may be missing - like too many H1 tags, or not enough body copy, or photos that need to be edited to include better titles and alt tags. Jargony crud for sure, but it's important nonetheless.
5. Your website isn't designed for the user.
So often we design websites to our own tastes, based on how we like the information laid out.
If I'm being 100 percent honest, as a freelancer I often considered the happiness of the client over the experience of their customer - often a detriment for my client in the long run.
Agency life has cleared this up for me. Instead of an executer, we're a expert partner to our clients and can help guide website design decision that will best serve the end user (ultimately providing the most value to our clients as well).
User Experience design - or UX design - is an approach to digital design and communication that focuses on making the customer experience as seamless and simple as possible.
You may need a redesign if your current site does any of the following:
- Takes more than one click to find the most popular content
- Uses too much industry jargon
- Has confusing navigation
- Contains too much (or too little) information.
- Does any of the other things listed above. It's all user experience, baby!
So does your current site sound like one or two of these things? All five of these things?
It may be time to bite the bullet and take on a new site design...and guess who can help ;).
Founder & Partner
Emily is N8's Chief Operating Officer. She's a data nerd and loves talking shop with other marketers.