How to Decide if You Need a Website Rebuild
We know it’s hard to admit, but if you’re reading this blog post then you probably don’t love your current website and aren’t sure what to do with it.
If that’s the case, a website rebuild has most likely been on your mind for awhile now. But, you may also be wondering if you can get away with a simple renovation instead — fixing a few things here and there rather than completely starting over.
While we can’t answer this for you, at least in this blog post, we can give you guidance on how to determine if your website needs to be fully rebuilt or just renovated.
Signs You Need To Rethink Your Website
First things first, does your website even need anything done? Here’s how you can know for sure.
1. You Have a High Bounce Rate
Take a look at your analytics and see what the bounce rate is. Your bounce rate is the number of people who look at one page on your site and don’t move on to any other pages. As you can imagine, a high bounce rate is not what you want. On the contrary, a low bounce rate — typically between 25 to 40 percent — indicates that users are spending time on your site and moving through its pages.
Having a low bounce rate is a strong indicator that your website is doing what it’s supposed to and guiding users towards a conversion. However, a high bounce rate is a telltale sign that your website needs some optimizations.
2. Pages Are Taking Too Long to Load
If your pages take too long to load, you’re almost guaranteed to have a higher bounce rate. Nowadays, no one likes to wait more than three seconds for a page to fully load — and that’s pushing it. Cleaning up your site or completely redoing it will help improve long loading times. For example, optimizing images, fixing coding errors, changing broken urls, and reducing redirects will allow pages to load much quicker.
3. Your Website is Outdated
If your website was built more than five or so years ago, it’s most likely outdated. A website should be updated every two to three years to ensure aesthetic looks up to date and the features on the backend are current.
4. It’s Not Mobile-Friendly
Additionally, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly — that’s a clear sign your site is in need of updating, whether it be a full website rebuild or a renovation. Mobile traffic has gone up by 222% in the last 7 years, so don’t miss out on possible leads because someone couldn’t browse your site on their phone.
5. Your Website Doesn’t Reflect Your Goals
The most important question of all, does your current website reflect your goals? Your website should have a purpose in order for you to know what needs to be done with it. Identify what current needs your website isn’t meeting for your business and change accordingly. You might only need a simple add-on in order to get the styling or elements you want your site to have, but a full rebuild may be what’s best.
The Difference Between a Website Rebuild and a Renovation
Now that you’re aware your site is in need of some help, let’s work to determine if a website rebuild or refresh is what you need.
A positive aspect of refreshing your current website is that you won’t lose information or previous content if transferred properly. Overall, a website refresh is much less work and a good option for those needing an updated website sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, there are some obvious downsides to a refresh. If your website is in need of a lot of work, a simple refresh is like putting lipstick on a pig. Sometimes, a website can be past the point of no return and must be completely overhauled.
One benefit to a website rebuild is you can use this time to implement a new content management system. if you’ve had issues with your current CMS now is the time to try another. A web design specialist can help you seamlessly make the switch and transfer your current content to the new platform.
Keep in mind, a new website will be costly and generally takes several months from start to finish. Because it’s such a big project, it can hinder your business if you solely depend on your site for sales.
To determine which of these options is best for your website, take the time to do a full site audit and take note of any issues you would like fixed.
How to Audit Your Website
Go through each of these categories below and determine what is and isn’t working. Get input from employees across all departments to see what they need in order to do their job better. While analyzing your current site, consider not only your goals but the needs of your target audience.
Building something that will last requires a good foundation, which is why finding the right content management system for your website is key.
Making sure the CMS you use has all of the design and integration features you require for your business to be successful should be the top priority. Not all systems offer the same features, so if you’re thinking of switching, do your due diligence to make sure it’s the right decision.
Almost like a blueprint for a home, the purpose of a wireframe is to arrange the elements of the site to best accomplish your goals.
Start by identifying the primary purpose of the site and building around that to create your wireframe. Every function, design element, and piece of content needs to support the primary purpose. Through identifying your layout goals you will have a clearer idea of how to update your website.
Design and UX
User Experience (UX) is the emotional response or reaction an individual has while visiting your website. This includes the overall perception of your site, including elements like performance, efficiency, and ease of use.
A secondary goal for your site is to create an experience that’s pleasing, inviting, and easy to navigate. Ultimately, these components come together to move buyers through your sales funnel and generate leads.
Content and SEO
When building a home, you measure the space, do your research to find the right items and you carefully place them, with purpose. Creating content for your website is the same — research the keywords that you want to rank for and have a clear SEO strategy.
Have you ever been to a website that is bursting at the seams with information? Overwhelming, isn’t it? When creating content during your website rebuild, you will want to keep things short and engaging, while calling attention to the key terms and phrases that brought the visitors there in the first place. This will make the website easier for the users to navigate and convey your message in a clear way.
Most importantly — know your audience. Identify your buyer personas and cater to their needs. Provide solutions to their problems and position yourself as a thought leader in the industry. You want them to come to your website and find everything that they need right on your site.
Testing and Maintenance
A website rebuild process takes time, effort and money, so you will want to make sure it continues to operate and function the same as it did on day one. Staying on top of the maintenance will save you a ton of headaches down the road. Do the necessary updates, and make sure your content stays up to date.
Pro Tip: Always perform necessary backups of your website to make sure that if something goes wrong while performing updates or changes, you can fix it!
Consider Website Design Services
Don’t let small issues grow into larger ones! Chances are, the lack of regular maintenance is what made you say: “It’s time to rebuild my website” in the first place.
The good news is, we can help you transform your website. Whether it’s a renovation or a complete overhaul, our web design specialists have the expertise to tackle your website project. With every website, we focus on user experience, responsive design, personalized content, and creating memorable first impressions. But above all, we will focus on your goals and what your target audience needs in order to move through your sales funnel.
To take your site to the next level, check out our Website Design Services.
This post was originally written on December 29th, 2017 and rewritten on April 17th, 2020.