You might have arrived at this post because you want to be told exactly when you should upgrade your website. And while some of you may believe that you should upgrade your site every year, or every 3 years, I’m going to disappoint you. The answer isn’t as black and white as you think because it really depends on your business.
Your website is a huge asset for your business and as your business changes, your website needs to keep up and support it. So the time period between when are looking to recreate your website can be very short or it can be much longer. Really, as a business, you need to learn to recognise what the signs are for needing a website upgrade so that your business can continue to adapt and grow through the process.
Signs you need to upgrade your business website
These are some common scenarios I’ve encountered that signal your website is ready for an upgrade:
Growing or changing your business
You might have recently changed the type of work you do, or the customers that you’re targeting, and your website doesn’t confidently speak to your new direction. This is a no brainer. If your website doesn’t reflect your business accurately, then it’s going to attract the wrong audience and cause confusion. Confusion has no place on your website and will undermine your trust and credibility.
The visual impact of your website is potentially one of the first impressions a new customer will have of your business. And with trends in webdesign changing quickly in short periods of time, it’s relatively easy to identify a website’s age. If your website feels like it’s a few years old, then your visitors will be questioning how relevant the information is.
Spinning your wheels
If you’re not seeing the traffic or conversion coming through your website that you expect, it’s time to take a look at how your website is letting you down. Then you can come up with a plan to make sure you’re not missing sales and/or losing leads. Just having a website doesn’t mean that people are going to start knocking on your door. Make sure you are tracking traffic to your website and the key conversions or actions you want people to make on your website. This way you can see exactly what is actually happening.
Technology drives efficiency in your business and you might have just purchased a new cloud system. Setting up integrations between your website and key business software is a way to save time and money; making your business run more effectively. Review the different processes you run in your business, look at offerings that could help you run your business better and work out if there are any efficiencies available through integrations.
Common integrations are; capturing new leads from your website in Client Relations Management systems (CRMs), or sending invoices between your eCommerce store and your accounting system. If you’re spending a lot of time entering data and copying pasting, there’s likely a better way.
The internet is a noisy place and there are a lot of others competing for the attention of your customers. Change occurs everyday to give your customers a better experience - ignore these changes at your own peril.
Recently, Google changed the way it ranked websites based on if the website was mobile friendly. If you’re not on top of these changes, you’re going to find yourself out in the cold and losing customers quickly.
Lack of flexibility
A good website isn’t a brochure. It’s a constantly evolving platform that expands with content and pushes campaigns to attract more leads and opportunities. If your website isn’t setup in a way that you can edit content, publish content, create landing pages and run specific campaigns, then it’s worth looking at upgrading your website to a platform that will give you the flexibility to give you the control you need.
Don’t miss opportunities because you don’t have the ability to respond quickly and talk to a specific market.
Over the years, most websites have small changes made here and there. Content is added and functionality changes. After a few years of changes, websites can become a frankenstein of information. On a content heavy site, visitors struggle to find the content that’s most valuable to them and the user experience on your site can become awkward. On the management side, development changes become tricky, flexibility is limited and costs increase. This is not an ideal situation to be in as your customer can easily go to another website that offers its information in a much accessible format.
How to approach your website upgrade
If you find yourself in one of these situations, it’s time to upgrade. But here are a few warnings:
Not checking what's going well:
A big mistake people make with upgrading websites is that they throw the baby out with the bathwater. They throw out all the stuff that’s working well, with all of the problems. To get the best result, you should be measuring and tracking what works on your website at all times. So when the time comes to upgrade your website, you know what to keep and what to rework.
Setting Clear Goals:
The other mistake people make with website upgrades is not setting clear goals. If you are making any changes to your website, you should have a clear goal of what effect the change will have. Then you’ll need to make sure you have tracking in place to see if the changes provide the result you expect.
The ideal situation for upgrading your website is being able to change quickly, having tracking in place and be able to review and change if required. If your website is on a flexible platform, you can decrease the time between upgrades and start responding directly to the changes in your business; amplifying the power of your website to contribute to your business goals.