In May 2016, HubSpot published "17 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Website." Owners of businesses large and small approached that piece with no small degree of trepidation—was HubSpot talking about their website? Was it possible that, far from engaging their customers with smart navigation, mobile-friendliness, useful content and fast load times, they were actually turning them off with websites that, simply stated, didn't work? Is it time for a new website?
As a business owner, you know when it's time to change your product line because some of your products just aren't selling. You know when it's time to replace one of your sales reps because he's consistently missing his quotas. In other words, in almost every aspect of your business, you make changes because something demonstrably isn't working—but how do you know that your website isn't working?
Well, you won't know for sure unless your website is linked to clear, measurable marketing goals—like the number of new leads generated, or content downloads, or conversions—and isn't achieving those goals. In the absence of that kind of empirical evidence, you need to assess the extent to which your site is delivering the kind of experience your customers and prospective customers expect.
Said differently, there are minimal capabilities every business website you should have—if your site is missing 1 or more of those basic requirements, it's probably time to consider a new website or a redesign of your current one. Here are 5 of the most important:
According to InVision, almost 90% of visitors to your site won't come back to it if they have a "bad experience." So, what does "bad experience" mean for users? It means that web pages take too long to load, or that your site's navigation is confusing, or that links don't work.
Internet users are notoriously impatient. They don't want to wait for something on your site to do what it's supposed to do. To find out if user experience on your site is doing what it's supposed to do, test it out yourself. Better yet, ask your customers, either informally or with a customer satisfaction survey.
More than half of all internet searches now take place using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. If your site isn't optimized for these devices, you're turning off a lot of prospective customers, and arguably losing a lot of business. This one is basically a no-brainer: if your site isn't mobile-friendly, it's time for a new site.
No business is static. Yours has probably changed substantially over the past few years. Perhaps your customer base has grown, or your marketing goals have shifted, or you've added new products and eliminated some of the old ones. Your website needs to accurately reflect what your business is now, not what it was 5 years ago.
Your website should be more than a digital picture book—it needs to be one of the principal means of achieving key marketing goals. If, for example, you have a goal of generating, say, 1,000 new leads every month, but you're only generating half that amount, your website could be the culprit. In that case, you need a site that makes relevant content offers and sends prospects to landing pages where they can get that content in exchange for their contact information.
List your key marketing goals, and for each point your site should be helping you meet those goals. If your site isn't helping you achieve your objectives, make the changes necessary to ensure it does.
If your website uses third-party tools to achieve key functionalities, those tools need to be updated from time to time. For example, you might use tools for e-commerce, or for social media feeds. If there are newer, better versions of those scripts and plugins, there's a good chance one or more of your competitors is using them, which means your site will look weak by comparison. Make sure all the tools on your site are working, that they're not slowing down site speed, and that you have the latest version of each.
Having a website that works, doing the things you want and expect it to do, is one component of a comprehensive digital strategy, but it's not the only one. To learn more about the ways our photography, brand strategy, visual content creation and website design services can help you drive sales and grow your business, contact us today.