Websites are a lot like mobile phones. The latest and greatest mobile phone of three years ago will soon be replaced by something faster, more technologically advanced, and more in tune with the consumers of today. Remember the old days when the old Nokia brick phones (the ones with that awesome snake game) were king and satisfied the needs of the market?
Mobile phones, or more appropriately smartphones, have a lot to do with the need to rebuild websites but that is something we will address a bit later in this post. Let’s get back to the subject at hand which is how often your business should be rebuilding its website and why the three years number we threw out there earlier likely applies to you.
The Needs or Interests of Your Clients Have Changed
Today’s consumers are very demanding about the way they go about seeking information and expect to be able to find it quickly on the websites of their favorite brands. This has led to a revolution in inbound marketing where brands try to pull consumers in with content rather than the old way of pushing out advertising through TV, radio or billboard ads.
While the products you provide may remain the same the method in which you market them has changed. As the internet is the primary source of information gathering for billions of people, it makes sense that the modern website would be updated to reflect these demands.
Website Trends Have Changed
Website, browser and other graphical technologies are getting dated every year. How often do you hear about the latest Apple operating system or the newest version of Windows? In terms of browsers (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, etc) and browser compatibility, developers often have to go out of their way to design code that works with older versions (read: dated) of browsers.
If developers are having to retrofit their code for dated browsers think of how much effort goes into designing websites with current (read: modern) coding characteristics that are designed to make our websites quicker, better optimized for search engines, or with up-to-date functionality. Fact of the matter is that modern websites may take additional work to reach users who only have access to dated browser technology. So while we still rebuild websites to adhere to modern browser technology, we must not do so without forgetting about the users whose browsers can’t support our new standards.
Your Website Still Uses Flash
The other problem that many dated websites have is their use of Flash technology. Flash websites are those sites that give you that annoying “loading…” screen before taking 30 or more seconds of your time before the cheesy, almost creepy animation tries to paint some picture of how great the company is all while set to some terrible techno music.
Admittedly, some sites that use Flash have managed to provide some pretty cool animation but that doesn’t negate the fact that most Flash sites cannot be indexed by search engines. On top of that, Apple products tend not to support Flash technology, meaning all of those visitors who navigate to your website from their iPhones will be turned away.
Your Website Provides a Terrible Mobile Experience
According to recent numbers by Pew Research 58% of Americans have a smartphone and 34% of these cell phone internet users only use their phones to go online. The numbers are similar for mobile phone owners in the UK; 60% of mobile phone users in the UK own a smartphone and the UK leads online shopping consumption with an average spending of 1083 pounds per year.
[blockquote] 60% of mobile phone users in the UK own a smartphone [/blockquote]
Bottom line here is that your website should be providing a good user experience to the mobile user. A really good solution to this is a responsive website such as one that is found on many modern Content Management Websites. A responsive design means that your website will adapt to all of the various screen sizes that it can potentially be displayed on – desktop, tablet, smartphone, mini laptop, etc – and will give all of the visitors a good user experience.
Your Website Isn’t Optimised for SEO and Inbound Marketing
We mentioned above the fact that brands are shifting the way they market themselves and are turning to inbound marketing to generate leads. Inbound marketing techniques such as blogging, email campaigns, social media, and effective lead capture pages go hand-in-hand with search engine optimization. If the only way you are doing SEO is by implementing your keyword research into your content you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.
Consider developing a content management strategy as well as learning more about how to build effective backlinks, create robust lead capture pages, and learning how to harness the power of your social media accounts.
When Do I Need to Consider a Website Rebuild?
If you haven’t redesigned your website in three or more years or if any of the above reasons particularly identify with you it could mean you are leaving money on the table. Please know that updating your website is not the same as rebuilding it. The modest investment you make in rebuilding your website will pay for itself in terms of the trust you build with visitors and it will help you to solidify your brand as modern, tech-savvy, and industry aware.
One more thing that might be worth looking into, should you decide to rebuild your website is to evaluate your hosting provider. Make sure you are getting a quality service as speed and downtime are very important. If you are using WordPress (like we are on this website) you can check out this article about WordPress hosting options.