Web design is constantly evolving, and it's important that companies keep up with the ever-changing state of the web in order to stay competitive and maintain high levels of customer service. Sometimes it can be difficult for companies to know whether or not their website is in need of a redesign, so we've compiled a list of important indicators to help you determine whether or not your site is working for you.
Your website is not mobile responsive
In less than a decade, the smartphone has gone from a niche product reserved for corporate executives and politicians to one of the most ubiquitous devices in human history. For many users, particularly users in the developing world (such as China and India), the smartphone is often their only computing device. Smartphone adoption has grown at an incredible pace, surpassing 1 billion users in 2012 and more than 1.75 users in 2014.
With so many users on mobile devices, many of whom only have a mobile device for browsing the Internet, it is imperative that your website look as good on their 3 to 5 inch screen as it does on a desktop monitor. Since this is such an important aspect of website design, the term “mobile responsive” has become incredibly popular and important over the past few years. Mobile responsive websites are able to automatically detect the screen size they are being displayed on and adjust accordingly. The best websites have mobile responsiveness built directly in so that little to no maintenance is needed once the mobile responsiveness itself is set up.
Traffic is stagnant or declining
There is no question that the Internet is the fastest growing market and largest user base, in world history. Consider the fact that in the year 2000, there were only about 394 million users worldwide while only one decade later that number had increased to an astounding 2.03 billion users. Today, less than 5 years later, there are close to 3 billion worldwide users, and the number is growing every single day.
With numbers like these, and in conjunction with the fact that smartphone penetration is growing at almost as rapid of a pace, any company whose website traffic is stagnant or declining is simply not keeping up with the rest of the global industry. If you aren’t able to increase your website’s traffic every quarter, something is probably very wrong with the way your website is designed and running.
Users are complaining (directly or indirectly) about your website
One of the great things about Internet users is that they, by and large, are very vocal about their opinions, particularly when those opinions are negative. This is as true on Amazon or Yelp as it is for many other companies as well. If your users are unhappy with the way your website functions, chances are they are already sending you emails or other correspondence about the problem. It is important to listen closely to those users, as they can often provide insight that you might otherwise have missed.
Another way to find user complaints – particularly if the complaints you’ve received directly via email or social media are somewhat lacking – is to conduct Google searches and social media searches to see what users are saying about your company, even if those messages are not specifically directed to your company.
Your website runs or loads slowly
In 2015, a website that runs or loads slowly is one that will quickly lose huge segments of its user base. Internet speeds, both wired and mobile, have increased quite rapidly, and even most inexpensive smartphones have processors more than powerful enough to run and load web browsers and websites. If your website is running slowly, chances are there is either a problem with your web host or, as is often the case, the programming language and plugins your website uses are significantly out of date.
Your website doesn’t look as good as your competitor’s website
The Internet has increased competition significantly for a number of reasons. One reason, in particular, is the fact that customers now have the ability to compare two or more companies with just a few clicks. This means that your website will be directly competing against your competitors, and a website that doesn’t give as good of a first impression as its competitors is at a significant disadvantage. It is important that you regularly keep an eye on your competitor’s digital assets and make sure you are, at the very least, keeping up with the GUI of your competitors. Ideally, you wil,l of course, be exceeding competitors in this regard.
Your website is difficult to navigate
Graphical user interfaces, or GUIs, have advanced significantly over the past few years. Websites are now expected to be clean and easy to navigate while also offering a substantial amount of information and functionality. If your website design hasn’t been updated for more than a few years, chances are you need to make navigational changes at the very least. For inspiration, take a look at Amazon.com, which offers literally millions of products and categories while still being easy to navigate.
You don’t have a coherent content marketing strategy
Content marketing is no longer a niche category, with more than a third of businesses having a documented content marketing strategy. Not only that, but at least 42% of businesses publish new content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and around 55% of businesses are budgeting a larger amount of money for content marketing in 2015 than they did in 2014. Content marketing is the future, and it is imperative that your website has a robust strategy for pushing out high-quality content in a well-organized way on your website.
Your bounce rate is high
Having a high bounce rate is one of the worst things that can happen to your website. For those who are not exactly sure what a bounce rate, don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple to understand.
A bounce rate is simply the percentage of users who leave your website after a specific condition. For example, the percentage of people that leave your website after just visiting the home page is a significant indicator of how many users feel like your website is engaging and user-friendly. If this number is large (or growing) that is a huge red flag that something is very wrong with your website design. By the same token, it is worthwhile to look into which specific pages on your website have the highest bounce rate, and see if there is some specific reason why users would feel compelled to leave after visiting that page.
At the end of the day, if you aren’t sure whether your company website needs to be redesigned, the answer is probably yes. The cost associated with redesigning a website, particularly when compared to the benefit for doing so, makes the decision to redesign almost a no-brainer. Think about it this way: almost all of the most successful companies in the world – particularly the most successful consumer-facing companies – tend to have websites that look great, are highly functional, and are easy to navigate. If these successful companies think it is worthwhile, you probably should too.