Any good contractor knows the value of a good remodel. Taking something old or outdated and turning it into something new and inviting can spell wonders for end results and goals. Websites have evolved a lot since their inception, offering unique features and interactive places to click, and now are generally a lot more interesting to look at and explore. There's no set timetable for when it's best to upgrade your website, but it's important not to let it go on too long without maintenance. Here are 10 signs that your website might be looking for an upgrade and why.
Though old houses have their charm and hold a soft spot in our heartsâ€¦it's hard to say the same for websites. When they have confusing menus, unappealing colors, or an annoying chatbot that never leaves you alone, it's easy to click the X and never return. Design can make or break your website, and making sure that it's both inviting, accessible, and appealing to navigate will drastically change its performance and ranking on searches. These days you don't need a team of website designers and coders to build it for you, either. Unless you envision a precise and potentially complicated build, tons of templates and custom website builders can help you get started with little to no effort.
Make it Mobile
In addition to its design on a desktop, making sure it can run on any device with a smaller or potentially larger screen is essential. Close to 60% of all online traffic is done on mobile devices, so make sure that your website is not only operable but also navigable on your phone. You generally have less than 1 minute to keep your client or customer on your website before they click away. Ensuring your website can be accessed easily from anywhere will dramatically affect your ranking.
Over the years, any good company reevaluates its branding, and sometimes aspects of your business may change or evolve, and it's crucial for your website to reflect that. Sometimes it's as simple as removing or adding a service or something as complicated as a logo and appearance overhaul. When your website changes along with your business, it makes it much more recognizable to your clients and customers making it easier for them to find your business online.Â
Check Your Speedometer
One of Google's most impactful ranking factors is page speed and how long everything on your website takes to load. The BBC found that sites lost 10% of their users for every 1 second of loading delay that occurred. Many tools, such as Google's page speed tester, will analyze your website health and point out specific issues that may need attention. Sometimes rebuilding your website can be easier than having to comb through your entire website patching holes. If you're unsure, hiring a website agency to analyze your website for you and develop a plan of action can be easier (and possibly more financially efficient).Â
Poor User Experience
In 2021, Google released a large update that added page experience trackers affecting your website rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Based on several factors, Google analyzes your entire website, and based on specific metrics, it determines where your website should rank compared to others. Google's "Core Web Vitals" are defined as follows:Â
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures the time it takes to load the largest element on a particular page. An ideal LCP time is 2.5 seconds or faster.Â
- First Input Delay: The time between a user's click and when the browser responds to that action (i.e., buttons, links, etc.). An ideal time for this is less than 100ms.
- Interaction to Next Paint (INP): This measures a page's overall responsiveness to clicks and the time it takes to respond to all clicks, taps, and keyboard interactions during their full visit. The final INP value is the longest interaction observedâ€”a measurement below or as 200ms is considered good.Â
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures the sum total of "layout shifts" that happens during a user's visit. A high CLS total means that elements often shift on the page, which makes for a worse user experience, making it difficult to interact. An ideal measurement is at or less than 0.1.
Out With The Old
Websites and the tools we use to build them have evolved over time and can significantly affect user experience, ranking, and overall performance. If your website has these older features, it may be a good sign for an upgrade:
- Your website isn't HTTPS enabled
- Using Flash Animations
- It doesn't work or display correctly on mobile devices
- You haven't or can't install Google AnalyticsÂ
- Your content management software (CMS) isn't supported anymore (examples: Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe Dreamweaver)
- Most of your links end in .php or .htmlÂ
- If it doesn't support your browser
- You can't adapt to newer technologies
Is It Helping Or Hurting?
When you don't feel that your website is best suited for your company and business objectives, it's a definite sign of change. Your website is meant to assist you and make garnering new customers and clients easier while also possibly making you some revenue in the process. However, it is important to recognize when your website is hurting more than helping.
Here are some examples of what could signal a need for change:
- Are Users Converting? Whether you're trying to get more contacts, sign-ups, or even purchases, low conversion rates can hurt any business. Getting code audited, UX analyzed, and making sure your DEIA initiatives are good steps to consider taking.
- Is It Useful Internally? Customers and clients are always at the top of mind, but ensuring your website has the necessary resources and tools for your team is also important. Resource caches, FAQs, and sometimes internal portals can help your team stay unified and organized.
- Can it Keep Up? As your business grows and you get more customers and transactions, its vital that your website grows and continues to support a larger client base.
Updating your website can seem daunting, but the end result is worth the potential strife. Everything in the world is moving digitally, and keeping up, if not getting ahead of that curve, will set you and your company apart from the competition. With all the resources and tools available today, there is little excuse to explore at least the possibilities of what updated websites or features can offer. Using the services of a professional developer or website agency helps you skip the stress of figuring out everything on your own.The faster your website starts working for you, the easier it will be for you to start work for your clients.