14 Aug 7 Signs You May Have Outgrown Your Website
Is a website redesign a “would be nice” or “must-have” for your business? We make it easy by defining the seven signs that it’s time.
These days with mobile responsiveness and countless other technology advances, it can feel like you get through one website redesign only to start another the next day. And yes, we expect there are things you’d like to do to your current site – for wedding venues, perhaps it’s a more dynamic photo gallery; for hotel websites, it might be integrating content marketing and lifestyle photos into your site more fully.
But everyone has a wish list. How do you really know when it’s time to bite off a new website design project? Here, we’ve tapped our collective expertise from producing websites across the hospitality industry – from hotels and destinations to restaurants and wedding venues – to outline not only some of the common issues on older websites, but the fixes, too.
The Most-Visited Pages Are Buried
Take a peek inside Google Analytics (if you don’t have it set up, you should – it gives you critical insight into how your website is working as a marketing tool). Are your most-visited pages easy to get to? If visitors have to go through menus, click links, search, and stumble their way to the one place that they want to get, that’s a sign that you need to re-think your site navigation. Look at the real estate of your home page: are those precious pixels economically used? That space should be assigned proportionately according to importance. Don’t waste it. (And white space, tastefully used, isn’t wasting it!)
The Message Isn’t Clear
This one may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many websites fail this simple test: have a friend, family member – or preferably, stranger – go to your website, spend 60 seconds there, and then try to articulate to you what it is that your company does and who your customer is. If they can’t nail it, you’ve got a problem. If you’ve been around a while, your message may have started out clear, but as your offerings have changed and your business has evolved, it may have become muddled in the process. Avoid buzzwords and hyperbolic language, and dial in on exactly what you do best.
There’s No Goal
What do you want visitors to do when they come to your site? Whether that’s to book a stay, read an article, or fill out a form, there should be something you want visitors to accomplish. Of course, you don’t have just one answer – for example, hotels want leisure guests to book, corporate planners to submit an RFP, and brides to contact event planners. If you can’t answer this fundamental question, though, and point to the ways your site delivers an answer to the user quickly and clearly, then your website isn’t going to be a very good marketing tool, no matter how slick your design is.
It Feels Slower
If your site feels like it’s gotten slower, it probably has. It could be a myriad of things – an old server, overloaded, outdated WordPress plugins, or it could’ve been hacked. One thing we learned from experience is that high-resolution photos bloat load times, and it’s possible to scale down the quality just enough to barely make a difference to the human eye but dramatically reduce the load on your website’s host. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is a great, free service to check every now and then, that will give you customized suggestions to improve load times like optimizing images, minifying CSS, and enabling compression – and then tell you how to implement those things.
It’s Not Mobile Friendly
Is your site responsive, or at least mobile friendly? (Here’s a quick article on the difference, because yes, there is a difference.) If you’re not sure, navigate to it on a mobile web browser. Does it look tiny or distorted? If so, you have an issue. Mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in 2016, and is especially true with a market like weddings, where most of today’s brides use their phones considerably more than computers. Regardless of your business, if you’re not optimizing your website for mobile devices, you’re losing many potential customers who are navigating there on their phone or tablet. So, while this is far from a license to disregard desktop traffic, it’d be wise to toss desktop-centric technologies like Flash to the side. (Flash doesn’t work on iPhones.)
Your Typography Looks Boring/Dated
Don’t underestimate typography’s role in communicating your hotel, destination, or venue’s message. If your default font is Arial or Times New Roman, it’s high time for you to pick an alternative that better fits your brand. There are a slew of options that’ll immediately make your website fresher and more appealing, and yes, you now have many more web-friendly options than you did just a few years ago.
It’s Hard to Quickly Update Your Site
If you have to call your website guy or gal (or web design agency) to make small updates to your website, you either don’t have a CMS (content management system) in place, you have a poor one, or you don’t know how to use it. Regardless, there’s an issue. In 2017, there’s no excuse to not use one of the many great options out there to make managing your content simple. In fact, having a solid CMS in place allows you to get more life out of your website and tweak things here and there rather than investing in an entirely new site every two years.