When Should You Refresh Your Website?

When was the last time you’ve updated your website? It’s a thought that has crossed your mind these days as you might’ve seen signs of your website not performing as well.

Maybe the conversions of your site are low. Or perhaps it has been years since you looked at the plug-ins, code, and software you’ve got for the site.

All of these things spring to mind and these are all common woes for people. At the time of your sites creation, you and your team might’ve opted for quick business decisions to creating a new website and that’s alright.

But it’s often those quick decisions back then that lead to elements where the UX isn’t as attractive or something else. Nevertheless it leads to that pivotal question:

Should you refresh your website?

To Renovate Or Rebuild? That Is The Question.

When it comes to refreshing your website, there are two distinct answers:

  • Either renovate your existing site. Change up the code, the design, but keep the general concept intact; Or,
  • Tear it down and rebuild everything from the ground up.

Determine what’s the best answer comes down to a number of things.

First, Analyze The Data

The first is to analyze the traffic and adjust the things that aren’t helping in conversion. At first glance, this seems really easy to do. But how do you determine a feature isn’t effective? What if the feature is something you or a team member worked hard on and is invested in its survival?

By analyzing traffic, you can get a better idea of what’s actually converting and what’s perform less. You’ll also get an idea of customer demographics which helps you to better visualize your customer base. This is key because even a small business can lose track of their customer following in pursuit of potential customers they want to attract over who they’ve actually attracted.

Beyond that, demographics can also give you an idea of what people’s language preference is, what colours they like and more.

Second, Look At The Site’s Loading Time

A good general rule to follow in loading times for sites is the “seven-second rule”. With our short attention spans, it should take seven seconds of our time for the page to load and for someone to know a lot about the page they landed on.

The home page alone should tell a customer what the company is, what they do, how they’re different, and have a call to action.

All of this is backed up by years of data. If your site lacks these components then refreshing your site to have that is a good step.

Third, Ensure You’re Addressing For Searches

Many businesses today are still focused on customer referral. They perceive that as the driving factor in most online sales. This is false as most people’s purchasing habits come down to searches these days.

When you begin to think of most of your traffic – and sales – come from searches and not someone referring to the site, you’ll pay attention to the things that matter more. Things like the website as a whole and the content in it.

If those things aren’t competitive enough, customers won’t see your opportunity even if they visited your website.

Fourth, Check For Automated Systems

Maybe you’ve heard already that Google is penalizing websites lower if they take too long to load and it got you thinking about website speed. Maybe you took the suggestion above and noticed your site takes a long time to load.

While speed is definitely important, it shouldn’t be the major design decision director. After all, one way to make a site faster is removing features or even making the design of the page minimalistic.

It’s possible but these pages don’t always deliver and they’re not the greatest when trying to convert customers.

You’ll also have to factor in other aspects to determine what your site needs. One thing is automated systems.

These systems should be in place to help track visitors, score leads, and capture users to prompt them to fill out forms or respond to a call to action. Having these in place will help with interacting with customers and providing a better experience.

Finally, Do Some User Testing

The last thing to factor your decision making is user testing. This process is data intensive but data often tells you what happened. Never why it’s happening. Data can tell you that your site is performing poorly but why its performing poorly is up in the air.

Maybe it’s these factors mentioned above or maybe their not.

You’ll get a better understanding of what is happening when you do user testing. It’s the act of getting a small group – three to five people – and asking them to navigate the site and address any issues or concerns for anything.

For small businesses, this is enough to capture a large portion of issues. Once they’re brought up, fix them, and test again.

Final Verdict

When should your website need to be refreshed? When it’s no longer benefiting you.

Companies should be changing over time as the world around them evolves. With this in mind, expert opinions have offered mixed answers to when a website should be changed. I agree with these thoughts.

So long as a website is serving their end users well and providing adequate functionality to meet customer demands, then changes aren’t that necessary.

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