It’s hard to know exactly how often you need to re-design your website. I mean, you just gave it a face-lift a few years ago, didn’t you? It couldn’t possibly need to be changed again. But the fact is, it just may.
Technology is changing and changing FAST. Just look at social media. Remember MySpace? Yeah, me neither. These days Facebook is the king with more than 819 million mobile users. People are constantly on their smartphones and tablets, updating their profiles and playing a quick game of Candy Crush Saga. Here are a few indicators that it's time to launch a redesign.
Your Site Looks the Same on Mobile as It Does on Desktop
These days just about everybody browses the web on their mobile device. In fact, a recent study shows that mobile will completely dominate web use by 2015. Simple fact is, your website needs to work well on mobile devices. If it doesn’t, you’re already behind the curve. Making your site responsive will ensure that your site reaches your entire audience, providing easily-accessible content across all devices.
It Still Uses Flash
Flash on the web is done. Let’s just be clear about this. Without support on Apple devices, the technology took a serious hit. While it was a cool, visually attractive solution for a little while, there are much better alternatives for your site’s interactive features that will ensure your content is accessible to the 41% of mobile users that you’re currently not reaching because they don't have a Flash-supported device.
It's Not Using Web Fonts
When it comes to typography on the web, I’m all about web fonts. Google provides a great assortment of free fonts that you can utilize on your website, and many others offer paid subscriptions. Readability is key with typography. What’s the point of having valuable content, if it’s not easy to read? All that effort put into writing compelling content is lost, along with your visitor. Typography also adds an element of design and is crucial to the final layout. While @font-face is a nice alternative, I prefer to avoid storing fonts on the server at all. But let’s just be clear about something – if you’re using some inferior method such as Flash replacement or worse, images, contact your web designer immediately.
It Takes Forever to Load
There are a variety of reasons for slow page loads, including non-optimized images, Flash usage, and non-minified code. Did I mention that most people use mobile devices to browse the web? If your site isn’t loading quickly on their phones, chances are they’re not coming back.
Load times vary by industry and content, but ideally for a retail-focused site, a page should load in three seconds or less.
If your site is suffering from poor load times, look for ways to optimize. Are your images way too big? How many interactive features are you loading on one page? The more you’ve got going on, the longer it’s going to take to load all that awesomeness. Consider a more ‘minimal’ approach. Ask yourself, “Do I really need ambient music playing on this page?”
Your Web Traffic is in Decline
While there are a multitude of reasons a site’s traffic is in decline, an outdated design is surely one of them. Users want an engaging experience, and if your site is not providing one, your chances of a re-visit are low. Give people a reason to come back, and watch those numbers increase.
No matter how dated your website may look, the most important thing is that it works for your audience. It must answer the questions your audience is asking while satisfying your business goals – all while looking great.