Entrepreneurs start businesses with big plans and dreams, but it doesn’t take long for your small business to run into obstacles that can derail your success. Some of the most common are around money and customers. Not enough of either, and it’s tough to generate more or hang on to what you have.
What can help drive revenue? Your website.
Get it right and it becomes an attention-grabbing money-generating machine. Fail to keep it updated and it’s no better than an online brochure. A slow, outdated, boring website can hurt your brand and cause visitors to click away in favor of a business whose site indicates they’ve got their act together.
How Long Does an Average Website Design Last?
The lifespan is much shorter than you might expect. Technology is advancing at an exponential rate. Websites are no different. According to research by Orbit Media, average website lifespan is 2 years 7 months.
Why such a short lifespan? Many reasons.
The simplest reason a website becomes outdated is that the imagery and content become outdated. If your website is built on an easy-to-edit platform such as WordPress, you or an employee who is reasonably comfortable with technology can change your site as needed. It’s not difficult to add or delete a service or location, for example, or swap out an image for one that reflects your evolving company. Be mindful, however, that your site doesn’t lose its cohesiveness.
When you had your site built, the designer chose the images to work with the main colors on your site, which they probably based on your logo. The content was written with a particular voice or tone and, in all likelihood, incorporated SEO copy. Anyone who changes or adds to the copy should attempt to capture that same tone. If the additional copy is more formal or casual than the original, it will lose its flow. You can also lose the hard-won SEO traffic you’ve gained if you mistakenly delete SEO copy.
Keeping your site up-to-date is essential. If conversion rates drop or visitors notice your site seems dated, you’re well past the time you should have a new site created.
How to Decide if It’s Time for a New Website
So, if you’re wondering if your site can use a refresh or a full ground-up new build, consider these essential factors.
Are sales leads generated by your site down?
This can be a serious concern. Generating sales leads is probably the number one purpose of your website. Your site is supposed to drive people to action. Whether that means purchasing or inquiring about a product or service, signing up for your email newsletter, or contacting you through email, by phone, or an onsite form, your site has got to convert.
Are visitors leaving fast?
A high bounce rate can mean you didn’t capture their interest, or it was unclear what they should do next. Some bounce is acceptable. According to SEMrush, the optimal bounce rate falls between the 26% to 40% range. In some industries, a bounce rate as high as 50% is no cause for alarm. After all, search imperfect. Googling “Doctors who…” can land you on a medical specialist or British science fiction. Anyone landing on the wrong one will…well… bounce. The problem is when they leave because they are frustrated or confused by the content.
Is your design mobile-friendly?
Mobile was once an afterthought. Now it must be a priority. According to most data, more than half of online traffic comes from a mobile device. According to Pew Research, 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users. If your mobile interface isn’t fast, simple to navigate and easy to use, you’ll lose a lot of valuable traffic.
Is your website slow?
User experience (UX) is everything if your page load time is more than a couple of seconds, you could lose half your audience or more. Expectations are high, and patience is low when it comes to sites that don’t perform as expected.
Has your site become glitchy?
It’s entirely possible that a site can look great and seem to be up to date and still be under-performing. There are a number of issues that can arise if your website isn’t carefully monitored. Pages can fail to load or go nowhere. Forms can be going to the wrong emails. Third-party plugins may need updates.
If your website isn’t performing as well as it could, has become outdated for any number of reasons or you just don’t like it anymore, why not at least investigate what a new website could do for you?
Benefits of Investing in a New Website
The internet, and technology in general, is changing rapidly. Your website – your online brand identity – must keep up to complete. An updated site can ensure visitors to your site enjoy a seamless experience. A new website – if it’s well-done – will feature faster load times, user-friendly navigation, and keep data secure. If It’s built on WordPress or a platform with similar flexibility, your site can grow and change with your business.
Top Design Trends for 2022
Web design is ever-changing, which is what makes it so important to keep up with trends and updates to ensure your site is highly functional, eye-catching, and drives visitors to action. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss in 2022.
Web Design trend-watchers predict that 2022 is the year for bright, fully saturated color and clutter-free design to make your brand stand out and grab attention. If your site palette is muted in tone, it may stand out among the new bold designs – and not in a good way.
Most are well aware that internet behavior is tracked through cookies, browsing history, and geolocation. It can make people uncomfortable – until you think about the fact that this information-gathering makes marketing and content more relevant to you. If you’re in the market for a new suitcase, for example, doesn’t it make more sense to be are served ads about suitcases than, say, protein powder? (Unless you’re in the habit of packing heavy.)
Personalized content is similar to targeted marketing. For example, if you visit a pharmaceutical site for the first time, the content may be generic. During that visit, it will become evident whether you are a doctor or a patient. If you are a doctor and the website is employing this technology, when you return, your experience will be relevant to the concerns and needs of a physician. Eventually, this level of personalization will be expected.
People with disabilities need to use websites too. Inclusive design can attract a greater number of individuals, keep them engaged and make your site more usable. It’s increasingly becoming a factor in SEO and boosting conversion.
How can you make your site more accessible?
A fully inclusive and accessible website should include:
- Sharp contrast between text and background colors
- Alt tags that accurately describe the image
- Clear headline hierarchy to optimize page-reader performance
- Include transcripts for podcasts on your site
- Add captions to any videos
If you’d like to learn more about website visibility, check out the usability.gov website.
This is a big term for a simple concept. Chances are you have gathered data over the years that you would love to share with potential customers that detail the performance and quality of your product or services. The average site visitor isn’t going to read a white paper on the topic – at least not until you’ve piqued their interest.
However, if you choose your most relevant and impressive stats and present them visually, site visitors will get your message. Consider graphs, infographics, or even animation to draw attention to your data.
There are a number of strategies and tactics a designer can employ to optimize conversion. It begins with clear copy, relevant imagery and simple-to-follow navigation. But the most important thing to remember is you must show website visitors what to do. Most people come to a site to do some form of gathering information and taking action. Show them clearly how to do that.
Try one or more of these conversion drivers:
- Clear calls-to-action
- Downloadable eBooks
- Newsletter signups
- Fly-ins or pop-ups
Faster Load Time
Not exactly a trend, but an important priority for a new website. Pages that load quickly improve UX and SEO which can help your site rank higher on Google and convert more site visitors. If someone has to wait for your pages to load, they are more likely to back out and visit a competitive site than they are to sit patiently waiting for the information they came for. Many features and factors impact page speed including how many images, videos, and other media files are contained on the page, what themes and plugins are installed on your site, and other coding-specific issues.
How can you improve load time/page speed?
- Select your web-hosting service carefully. This is no place for bargain-hunting.
- Optimize and compress images. Smaller files load faster.
- Minimize redirects. Some are unavoidable but eliminate as many as you can
Update Your Website Today
Want a website that generates trust, credibility, and sales leads? The BARQAR team can create a website that works for you 24/7. We’ve built more than 1,000 websites featuring eye-catching design, engaging content, and simple to use navigation, we’d be happy to do the same for you! Contact us today!