Investing in a new website is always a good decision, if you’ve got the right web developer.
Investing in a new website is a big decision, but can yield even bigger improvements for you and your customers.
If your website is more than a few years old, then it could probably use some improvements. It’s pretty common practice, in my experience, for business owners to leave their website for 5+ years without maintenance or improvements. This is definitely not recommended, though. Consensus in the marketing industry is that a website should be redesigned every 2-3 years. Some would even recommend that you redesign every year, but to be honest, this feels like a racket to me. I mean, who has $5-$10k every year to overhaul their site? Not this guy!
As if a simply ugly website wasn’t enough of a reason, here are five great reasons to invest in a new website this year.
Front end usability and accessibility
This is from the user’s perspective. When you visit a website, you want it to be simple and intuitive. You don’t want to have to click around to find what you want.
This also means mobile ready, or responsive design. Make sure your text is readable on a desktop and mobile devices. Clickable areas, like buttons are usable on both platforms. Your mobile version should be simplified to focus on information and calls to action.
If you have a smaller site then this is pretty easy to achieve. Larger sites should utilize a search function somewhere obviously visible, like the header or sidebar. It should never take your readers more than three clicks to find what they want.
A great designer will be able to audit and evaluate your existing and future content to get you all the functionality you need without making your readers angry when they use your site.
Updated messaging and fresh content
A company’s offerings, goals and messaging should change and grow as the company does. If you’re still only offering the same couple products and haven’t reevaluated your goals or messaging, then you really do need to think about where you’re going and how you’re getting there
Part of delivering your products / services and communicating your values and messaging is having an effective web platform. Make your imagery and written content speak directly to your goals, mission and values. Really dig in and think about how this has evolved over the years
Redesigning a website is an opportunity to improve your company overall, not just make the website prettier. You have a chance to improve your offerings, brand messaging and placement in the market. Don’t overlook the importance of freshening up your brand.
As a website gets updated and new content gets added, things may not flow the way they did before. I see this more in company’s and organizations who have more than one person contributing to their website content. I’ve seen websites with 50+ pages when all they really needed were 15 – 20. Or even less.
I have worked with clients who just put every single page in their main navigation or over use drop downs. I also see sites where you can’t find anything because they haven’t added sufficient navigation or links to secondary and tertiary pages. In short, I’ve organized some really big messes.
A great website developer will help you audit your existing content to decide what can stay, what can go, what can be consolidated and what can be recycled. Chances are, your site structure can be improved and this will lead to improved usability on the front end and more effective delivery of your brand message.
Improved back end usability
If you have to call your web developer to update or make changes to your website because it’s too hard for you to use, then you need a new website. I love WordPress because all of my clients can update and maintain their websites on their own. There are other CMS platforms with user friendly back ends. You can read about why I use WordPress here.
Searchability is important in web development. As someone who is not an SEO expert, I know how big this challenge is. I also know that two of the keys to good SEO is simplicity and consistency. Even if you pay someone to get your website to page one on Google, eventually you will have to build up organic SEO to supplement your paid efforts.
A fresh website will give you the opportunity to refresh old content and add great, new stuff. Search engines love this. It also gives you the chance to rethink your SEO strategies and dig into researching the search terms that your audience is using to find other businesses like yours. If you use Google Ads then they have a Keyword Planner to help with this. If you’re like me and don’t have a budget for paid online marketing then you’re going to want to do a little bit of work, with your web developer of course.
Yoast SEO (a plugin I use on all of my WordPress websites) also has great resources on researching keywords here. The basic version of their on-page SEO tool is free. They also have several paid versions to get you exactly what you want. They have an email list to get SEO tools in your inbox and great resources all over their website.
Investing in a new website is not a small decision, but it can yield huge results.
Professional website development for a small business can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. Or even more. Seriously, it’s no easy decision. Be prepared to make a big commitment to maintaining a new website. No one wants to invest $10,000 and then not understand how to use it to actually get new business.
The right web developer will understand that compromises between budget and results is important. They should be willing to take installment payments as well as teach you how to maintain your new website. Your web developer should also be able to offer maintenance plans in case you are unable or unwilling to maintain your own website.
How do I know if I can benefit from investing in a new website?
Ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes to any of them, investing in a new website should definitely be a priority.
- Is you website more than two years old?
- Has your business grown or changed at all since you published your website?
- Did you build it yourself with one of those “simple” website builders?
- Do you have great ideas about how you could use your website to engage your audience or offer new services?
I offer a one hour WordPress consult, maintenance manual, limited support, one year of web hosting and maintenance plans for all of my web development clients.