Think about the state of your website. Does it fill you with pride? Does it regularly deliver you valuable leads and conversions? Does it appear near the top of search engine rankings? Or have screenshots of it featured prominently in scathing BuzzFeed listicles?
Sometimes, it can be extremely difficult to know precisely when a website needs a complete overhaul. Here are a few signs even the most computer illiterate among us couldn’t possibly miss:
1. It’s slower than slow.
Glaciers routinely mock your website for failing to keep up with their progress.
The dial-up era—when cruising along the information superhighway was done at speeds of 2 mph—ended about 20 years ago. Now, when people click your link or manually enter your web address, they expect to be looking at your fully loaded page in two seconds or less.
Seriously: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, and done.
When your site takes longer than two seconds to load—say, five seconds—customers grow frustrated, annoyed, and resentful of your brand. Let’s face it: No matter how great your products and services might be, they can never supernaturally give your customers back those precious three seconds they wasted while waiting for your website to load. That’s valuable selfie-taking time, gone forever.
If your website has been in its current iteration for the better part of a decade, it probably isn’t properly optimized for today’s browsers. All of the content, images, and videos embedded in your ancient site have made it sluggish and feeble. If you want your potential customers to actually visit your website, it has to load in less time than it takes to blink.
2. Even you can’t look at it.
You know it’s bad when you respond to all questions with an automatic apology about the quality of your website—even, “What time is it?”—or you feel you have to preemptively excuse the seizure-inducing flash intro page.
Even though the abundance of social media resources might have fooled you into thinking that your website doesn’t necessarily need immediate attention, it is still a reflection of your brand and the quality of your services. As long as it is possible to access your horrible website at all, the sincerest apology in the world won’t hide the fact that you still have a hit counter from 1997. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the look.
3. Mobile use is nil.
On mobile devices, your web page looks as well composed as a photograph taken by a macaque while riding The Riddler’s Revenge at Six Flags.
Not only does responsive design make your website far easier to navigate on a wide variety of screen sizes, it indirectly affects your search engine prominence. Although no one at Google has explicitly said that responsive design will improve Google rankings, here are two facts:
- Responsive design makes websites easy for Google crawlers to access.
- Mobile users won’t immediately exit your site from the sheer annoyance of dealing with your difficult-to-navigate pages, thereby reducing your bounce rate.
Your website has to be mobile friendly if it is going to have even a scrap of relevance. And from a purely practical perspective, no one wants to attempt to read your sprawling web page on their small smartphone screen (even though smartphones are now roughly the same size as legal pads).
4. Search engines don’t care.
When you enter your business’s name into Google, you can actually hear the search engine shrug.
A website that is visited by no one, hasn’t been optimized, doesn’t have engaging content, and hasn’t been responsively designed is going to be pretty much invisible to all of the major search engines.
Remember, search engines anticipate what users want largely based on the volume of visits the relevant websites get. If you don’t believe us, just type “Amazon” into Google; you won’t even see anything relating to the rainforest until page 3, below the fold. Type in “the Amazon,” and the first result is still Amazon.com, even though the rainforest has been around approximately 50 million years longer. If your website doesn’t appeal to the masses and is therefore relatively unused, it (and your brand name) will slip further and further down the search engine rankings until it is securely nestled on page 6, alongside uses for leftover noodle kugel and Hootie & the Blowfish fan sites.
It isn’t necessarily difficult to recognize the various signs your website could use a little attention; you just have to open your awareness to its deficiencies. So stop making excuses to avoid the total re-haul your website clearly deserves, and take action!