You may think that your products and services are what keeps customers engaged, but the truth is that converting visitors into paid customers has a lot to do with the design of your brand and website. In fact, research from Adobe claims that two-thirds of site visitors would rather spend time reading copy that’s well designed versus something plain within a 15 minute window. Plus, 38% of users log off a website if the layout is unappealing.
In order for businesses to thrive, staying relevant in the online space is a necessity. Boring sites with straightforward features aren’t cutting it anymore, so if you’re noticing a downward trend in analytics across the board, here are 10 indicators that a redesign could mean a boon in your business:
1. The Proof is In the Data
It’s easy to get swept up in the hopes of success, but one indicator that never lies about your progress is the data behind it. Your user data and analytics show you precisely where your business stands in the eyes of customers, and quite often, it lends insight into where improvements can be made.
For example, researching your site metrics may reveal that sales have reduced, conversions are stagnant, bounce rates are too quick, and overall site views are diminishing regularly. Of course, there’s always the possibility that your products and services aren’t performing well to a targeted audience, but in most cases, consumers are turned off by some flaw in your site’s experience. Keep in mind, recognizing a drop-off doesn’t necessarily mean rearranging your entire look, but it sets a priority of finding design flaws and reshaping the way you interact with visitors.
2. Your Site Rankings are Low
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just a tool for promoting blog posts or articles. Your website copy, landing pages, pillar pages, and overall design play a pivotal role in determining your site’s search rankings, so if you’re not appearing on the first or second page of a Google search, something’s wrong.
Even if it’s not the overall look of your website, aspects of it must be tailored to provide a fluid layout with optimized SEO descriptions that boost search results. Not to mention, websites that perform the best have a combination of qualities that search engines recognize, such as speedy loading times, high quality content, optimized images, blogs, external links, and infographics. It’s a combination of design strategies that contribute to a positive ranking, and since 93% of online user activities begin with a search engine, developing a high ranking is a direct lead to greater conversions.
3. It’s Unfriendly to Mobile Devices
Research shows that consumers spend 60% of their time on mobile devices compared to 40% on desktops, which means that if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re instantly cutting off 20% of a potential customer base. Additional stats from CIODive in 2018 claim that nearly 70% of all web traffic happens on mobile devices, and since smartphones have become the new connectivity norm to a wide range of demographics, your business can’t afford to miss out on traffic because of a clunky design.
Creating a mobile friendly version of your site is quite simple in comparison to developing the main platform. Depending on what host service you use, default and custom templates automatically allow for easy customization for mobile devices, like optimization for different screen sizes, accessibility of photos and videos, dropdown menus for quick links, and buttons to prompt the user to navigate to the full website. Hiring an outside developer to do this for you may be a bit trickier and costly, but someone experienced should have no problem designing an interface that’s both desktop and mobile ready.
4. You’re Past the 3-Year Mark
Consumer habits and trends change at the drop of a hat, and what’s popular or standard one day is sure to become a legacy strategy the next. With that mind, the design of your website is just as susceptible to change at a blazing speed.
Industry norms call for a website redesign every three years. Doing this ensures a competitive edge with fresh startups and major companies that have dedicated teams to consistently update content and features on a regular basis. In most cases, sites that are low-performing do so because their experience is out of touch with mainstream directions. E-commerce abilities are always being updated, SEO keywords are being developed and put to use, and technology itself is dictated by a cyclical time frame that you have no choice but to keep pace with. Altogether, the three year mark is a good place to assess the relevancy of your site and make any necessary changes.
5. The Site is Debt-ridden
Much like how an old appliance needs constant repair to stay in operation, at some point your website becomes too much of a liability with outstanding debts and too many band-aids to replace. At the end of the day, performing minor repairs on a daily or weekly basis comes with exorbitant costs, and rather than keeping a developer on retainer, it’s more practical to scrap the original and start fresh with a new design.
In many ways, performing a complete relaunch of your website is liberating and makes the most financial sense. Sure, you could tackle small problems and chip away at debt-ridden fixes and patches to your tech and UX features, but starting over from scratch allows you to take all the mistakes from your first pass and develop them into long-term strategies that drive profits. In addition, a redesign allows for the implementation of new SEO practices, seamless navigation, minimalism for landing pages and a refocusing of primary drivers, as opposed to pages that are only adding to bounce rates.
6. Downtime and Glitches are Rampant
Have you ever visited a webpage only to see the dreaded “404” error page pop up? Well, when customers see this on your site, it’s a major disservice to your brand. In your defense, it’s not something you plan to happen, but when it does, it represents a critical design flaw or issue in your site that needs to be addressed.
Your site’s credibility is at stake when downtime and glitches run rampant in your UX. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as unscheduled server maintenance, issues with coding, corrupted packets and files, DDOS attacks, or bandwidth limitations that cause slower load times. No matter what the interruption may be, customers are quick to deem your site as unreliable, which means less traffic and less conversions. To make matters worse, studies show that even 5 extra seconds of load time (let alone broken page links) increase bounce rates by 20%, so a redesign could be just the thing you need to straighten out the misconnections.
7. Your Current Design is Out of Touch
Customers have an expectation in mind when they visit a company’s site. An experience that’s modern, fluid, and captivating is what reels them in, so you can imagine how off-putting a site can be with a design that’s out of touch with current trends. Website design trends for 2019 call for minimal interfaces, homepage background videos, black and white color palettes, and glitch art.
A great way to assess your site’s relevancy is to compare it with popular brands who produce tons of regular traffic. For instance, check out Apple’s layout and take note of how well it engages users with quality images and simple navigation bars. Products are displayed in crisp images and bold price points. The rule-of-thirds concept is put to use with wide graphics clean copy. Even Amazon conveys a strategic layout despite selling thousands of products and services. Their homepage displays a limited amount of items in large, clickable photos and copy is restricted to one or two-word labels. Bombarding the homescreen with too many pages and clutter is a byproduct of outdated design strategies, so investigate how you can clean up your UX and get consumers to the heart of your brand.
8. Social Media isn’t Incorporated
Your website serves as a foundation for users to take advantage of direct resources, but relying on it as a primary driver means that your cutting out an enormous pool of potential customers who spend their time surfing various social platforms.
Reports from Brandwatch show that over 3 billion people are active on social media, averaging over 5 accounts for each person. Each day, users spend roughly 116 minutes checking Facebook, posting on Instagram, researching Pinterest recipes, or tweeting about the latest current event. Needless to say, businesses need to market other platforms from their site and encourage visitors to follow them in order to generate growth. Diversifying content creates opportunities for interactive campaigns and building brand culture and awareness. However, some sites don’t carry the latest functionality to promote social channels to a wider audience, which is a mistake. A redesign that incorporates social icons to other platforms and allows visitors to share content to their platform of choice is a necessity that’s well worth the investment.
9. You Don’t Have Access to Your Site’s Design
Although you may not have the wherewithal to relaunch a site from head to toe, having the ability to make quick changes or updates is essential to knowing your brand and maintaining consistent viewership. With that in mind, if you’re kept in the dark about your site’s progress by the hands of a developer, it may be time to rethink your overall design.
Every business, to some degree, should have access to their site’s backend functionality. Whether it’s yourself or a dedicated team member who monitors site activity, having the ability to log in and know the basic inner workings of your design elements reinforces your efficiency to communicate with consumers in a timely manner. It gives you better access to track what changes should be made, offers insights into valuable user metrics compiled by the service provider, and helps you create ideas for what can be developed in the future. A quality developer includes you in the design process and gives you the tools to be in the driver’s seat, rather than you sitting in the back, unable to choose the destination.
10. Your Brand Identity has Changed
Nothing affects a company more than time itself, and after years of trial and error, your brand may take on a new identity that’s not represented by your current web design. Anytime a shift happens in your overall business model, it’s important to share that transformation with users. Whether it’s new packaging or a new feature, get the message out there as soon as possible.
You don’t want your website to cause confusion about what your primary goals are, especially if you’re adapting to new models and new demands. By aligning the ways your brand identity has evolved, you can express those changes with a brand designer and launch a fresh web design that showcases your main drivers. In the end, you’ll maintain existing clientele with engaging innovations and convert new visitors to dedicated customers.
Change is a Good Thing
Although it may seem a bit overwhelming, adopting a new design is a way for your business to stay competitive in a shifting market.
As consumers gain more information and generate expectations for certain products and services, providing them with a UX that piques their interest and promotes their lifestyle is what leads to higher conversions. Maintaining outdated designs do the opposite.