by Justin Difazzio
You loved the shiny look of your website when it first launched. You thought the borders were neat and the parallaxing images really wowed. Of course, that was ten years ago, and whether it was designed for you or it was the result of your own hard work, we understand that it’s hard to let go. But have you taken an honest inventory of that site that was once shiny and new? Does it still fit the bill? It might still work for you, but is it working for your customers? Come with us as we walk you through an assessment of your site, giving you things to consider and ways you might be able to update it to better serve both you and your clients for years to come.
Is Your Website Weird on Mobile?
This is one of the bigger issues you might run into. If people can’t usefully view your website on their smart devices, that’s at least half your audience who won’t even bother to look at it. Websites built for viewing on a computer don’t really jive well with device screen sizes, so you need to make sure your website was designed with both in mind. If you decide to refresh your site and the design doesn’t come with a mobile-friendly build, you’re asking the wrong people to build your website. This one is a surefire indication that you need a new website as soon as possible.
Is Anyone Excluded From Accessing Your Content?
As a companion point to our last, making your website accessible to as many people as possible is just as important. If you don’t provide alternative text for photos, if you don’t make all graphically represented information available in plain text also, and if you don’t provide tools to help everyone be able to get your website’s content in a way that works for them, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice. Screen readers for the visually impaired need to be able to find all the information on a page to relay it to visitors. Videos need captions for those who cannot hear or aren’t in a place to listen. Sometimes even being able to upsize text for those who may want an easier read can make people feel valued. Just be sure you’re meeting people where they are with your website so you can make sure everyone has equal access. Not only will your website be more modern, but you’ll be making a statement about the value of all humans.
Is Your Website Loading at Tortoise Speed?
We hesitate to call it “tortoise speed,” since really, that’s not speed at all. And while the fable has the slow and steady tortoise winning the race, that won’t be the case if it’s your website loping along. To put it plainly, people won’t stick around to wait for your site to load. It could be the best thing ever designed, but if it takes forever to load, they’re not going to see it at all. There are lots of things to be done about a slow site. Resizing photos, optimizing things that slow your performance, and simplifying overcrowded and dated designs could help bring you from shelled slowpoke to rapid rabbit. If your website takes even five seconds to load, you’re missing out on making a good first impression.
Are Search Engines Missing You?
What’s the point of even having a website if no one knows you’re out there. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. It’s way more complex than we could explain right here, but we’ll put it this way: there are things that make you less visible to search engines, and thus less visible to people trying to find you on the web. No one’s going to see you four pages into a Google search. They’ll have found someone else before they even get to you. But modernizing your site, following the rules for what Google likes and doesn’t like, and making sure you have focused keywords and searchables will help. If you don’t know SEO from KFC, it’s maybe time to enlist some help to bring your web presence into the modern age.
Is Your Content Outdated?
This seems like a no-brainer, right? But we see websites every day that don’t have content that is current, updated, and correct. Is your events page still listing things from 2017? Are your listed board members and employees people not even you’ve heard of? That probably means more areas of your website are out of date. While this might not mean you need a whole new website, it could contribute to the decision to update. It’s good to refresh your web content every few years. You’d be surprised what has changed since your last assessment.
Are You Making People Cringe?
Is your website walking around in acid washed jeans wearing two polo shirts with popped collars? Excuse us for a minute while we digest that image. Yikes. Please don’t be that site. It gives people secondhand embarrassment to see it. And it doesn’t make you look good anymore. Are you leaning on trends that are long over? Are the people in the photos on your site looking like fashion models from the 80s? Maybe it’s time to consult your web style professionals. (Pssst…that’s us.) And again, while a style upgrade and modernized language may not make your site unusable, it can contribute to a need for a new digital home.
How Did You Do?
Did you answer yes to any of the bigger questions? Several of them? All of them? We hope it’s not all of them, but even if it is, we’re ready to help. And if you feel like you’re too close to your website to evaluate it yourself, we’re here for that as well. Even a few minutes on a site can tell us if you’re in need or not. Maybe all you need is some new photos, a video, or some refreshed and updated copy. That’s fine too! But consider a change for the more accessible, the faster, the more searchable. Consider a change for the better.
Did we nail you in the heartstrings, or did we layer on the cheese? Either way, we’d be happy to remodel your online home whenever you’re ready.