How to know when to update your website design

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Written By Jono Cowdery

You’re an online-aware business – that’s why you’re reading this blog. So you know it’s important to have a website that does the job.

But here’s a question: Have you thought about your website design lately?

Your website’s design involves the colours, layout, features and overall vibe. Sometimes we think of websites as being set and forget. It’s done now, I don’t need to think about it again!

But there are good reasons for you to consider updating your website design from time to time. Here’s why, and how it can help turn more leads into customers.

Update your website design if it’s looking old

What’s the lifespan of your website’s design? If you’re in a competitive industry, your website design may only last three years.

How can this be? You spent thousands on it five years ago. It still works. What’s so bad about it?

Just this: Your competitors are always moving forwards. And if you’re not keeping your website looking fresh, chances are you’ll be slipping behind.

Web design conventions change. Your website should provide a fantastic experience for your visitors so they’ll want to become customers. If it looks recent, rather than 5 years old, it really helps with those initial impressions. After all, your customers want to talk with a business that looks modern and has digital engagement as a priority.

This isn’t to say that you should update your website design without a reason. Just that a genuine reason is the need to look modern and engaged – rather than dated.

Revisit your website to make sure it doesn’t break

A more pragmatic reason for updating your website is that, unfortunately, they can break.

Standards and technology change. Software is updated, and it isn’t always backwards compatible. Corrupted data is a real risk. And even if you haven’t touched your website for a while, your hosting provider may be pushing forward with new technology.

A website built with a content management system like WordPress or Joomla has many parts that have to work together. Old websites can get to the point where it’s simply not worth patching up the problems anymore. It’s times like that when a full website rebuild is in order.

It’s just a bonus that you’ll get a more modern design out of it too!

Update your website design if your customers aren’t happy

Your website needs to make your visitors happy. If your website is good to look at, useful and easy to use, your visitors are more likely to turn into customers.

So how do you find out if people are digging your web design?

One simple way is to listen to customer feedback. Have you had comments saying that something on your website was unhelpful or broken? Pay close attention. If you’ve heard that from a couple of customers, think about how many potential leads were affected by it too – and then left you to browse your competition instead.

A quick peek at your website statistics can be informative too. If a particular page has a lot of visitors clicking the Back button to get away, you’ve got a high bounce rate.

Dig deeper. Are people leaving that page because they found what they wanted? Or did they hit a brick wall in the form of unclear navigation?

It’s worth understanding the root cause. Even a modest improvement in conversion rate on that page can reap thousands of dollars in lifetime value.

 Please, please update your website design if it’s not mobile friendly

We all know it’s the mobile age. About 45% of website visits in Australia are conducted on a phone. If your website doesn’t give a great experience for mobile users, you might be alienating half of your user base.

What’s more, mobile friendliness is now a factor in Google search rankings. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly are less likely to appear high up in search results. This can prevent visitors from finding you in the first place, meaning you don’t even get a chance to impress them!

Your first step should be to run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You’ll get a score that tells you if your website is responsive, or mobile friendly. It will also let you know what problems were found, so you know exactly how to update your website design.

A visual check is also a good idea. Plug your website address into the Responsive Design Checker. Play around with the settings to see what your website looks like on desktop, tablet and mobile. This is a great way to find design problems that the official Google test doesn’t pick up on.

When you’re thinking about the next step for your online presence, don’t neglect your website design. A well-chosen web design is a strategic choice that can yield concrete results for your business or organisation.