"Your website is lousy." Now replace the word "lousy" with a wide array of disparaging slams posted by anonymous visitors. Those aren’t the kind of reviews you want to get about your web portal.
On the other hand, since you put up a comment section, you're opening yourself up to all kinds of criticism. It's part of your business now. Although hard to take in, those attacks could contain a grain of truth if several posters are commenting on your website's inefficiencies.
Okay, maybe your website is just plain lousy. How can you tell it's time for a redesign? Consider the following red flags.
Mobile Views Are Clunky
It’s a fact of modern business life that you not only need a strong web presence, but a site that is viewable across a wide platform of devices, too. According to KPCB, time spent on mobile devices is higher than on desktop, at 51% to 42%. That means your customer base is doing Google searches and shopping on-the-go. Or they could just be surfing on the sofa.
Either way, if your site doesn't work for mobile users, you're cutting off a huge profit potential. When was the last time you checked your site on your smartphone?
You're Using Flash
Are you using Flash to power your website? Congratulations! It's useless. In fact, Flash hasn't been relevant since 2011.
Apple products don't support it, and the big three search engines — Google, Bing, and Yahoo — can't even read it. If a user stumbles onto a Flash-driven site, they probably have to install a plugin. That might also require rebooting. Can you say "moving on?"
What’s the alternative? Without getting too far in the wonky weeds of web programming, HTML5 can do all the things Flash used to do, only better. Just tell your new programmer to get rid of the Flash.
Your Search Engine Rankings Have Gone South
Back when you started your web business, you probably followed the SEO recommendations of the day and crammed your landing page with as many keywords as you could possibly fit on the screen.
Since then, things have changed.
Google and the other search engines want to give their users the best information. To keep users happy, keyword cramming isn’t going to cut it. Today, the sites with high rankings have quality content that’s refreshed on a daily basis. Think blogs, for example.
If your site doesn't have a blog, then you really need an upgrade.
You've been reading your web analytics on a regular basis, right? You should, because this is where you'll get the truth about your web business. Those numbers will reveal if a visitor is actually sticking around and buying something.
If you're getting a lot of fleeting visitors who drop in and just as quickly drop off, then something isn't working. How clear is your call-to-action? How easy is your shopping cart setup? How vibrant are your product photos? What’s your bounce rate? All important questions to ask.
A Brady Bunch Design
Have you ever walked into a home and thought, "Brady Bunch?" It's that quintessential ‘70s decor of wood panels, shag carpet, and what was once considered ultra-modern furnishings.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Your website could be having its own Brady Bunch issues.
This doesn't mean you have to change your design every year. However, if it’s been longer than five years since your last redesign, your site could be screaming "vintage."
Customers appreciate a good design. If they think something looks slapped together, then they might not trust what you're selling. After all, if you couldn't dedicate the resources to making a nice website, then how can you possibly handle customer service?
You Fail the Three-Second Rule
Have you got three seconds to spare? That's how much time the average visitor will give your site to load. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of those potential customers will bail if the site takes longer than that to power up.
Do seconds really matter? Apparently. Instead of fighting the situation with logic and patience, it might be time to speed things up.
You Need More Room
Has your business expanded over the past few years? Great! That growth can only be a sign of more good things to come. However, you've got to allow your website to expand as well.
Maybe that means creating content that’s more relevant. What you were selling five years ago might not be your top seller now. You could have a funny demonstration video that is all the rage on YouTube, but if it’s buried on your site, then it's working against your business.
Perhaps that first website was your "garage." Now it's time to move up into sleek office space and a modern warehouse, drones not included!
Remember, it's all about that customer's user experience. You might only get one chance to impress them. Make it a great impression.