Web design trends are changing constantly. It’s hard to tell what’s a temporary fad, what’s here to stay, and what’s an important new feature you need to have on your site. Sometimes, a redesign can upgrade your website enough to be up to current standards. But in some cases, it’s best to completely rebuild your site from scratch to accommodate all the changes you need to make.
We know, rebuild is an intimidating word. Start over completely? Sounds like a lot of work…
If you need some convincing, we think an example of a site we recently rebuilt can show you it’s worth the time and effort.
We recently launched the redesigned website for one of our clients, Woobie Beans. We built the original website for Kelly, owner and maker of the beautiful handstamped jewelry, about 2 ½ years ago.
Check out the lovely transformation…
Looks amazing, right?
We’re glad Kelly decided to rebuild. We think her new site will make her and her customers very happy!
If you’ve been doing business on the web for awhile now, you may be asking the same question Kelly asked herself before she came to Nu expression for her rebuild: does my website still work for my customers?
A website that looked fresh and modern a few years ago can quickly become outdated because of the changing standards of browsers, search engines, and web hosts. If there are features of your site that are no longer functional, or your site needs a massive design overhaul, you may want to consider rebuilding it.
So how do you know if your site needs a rebuild?
Our general recommendation is:
If it’s been more than 3 years since you built your site, it’s probably time to rebuild.
Or, as one of our web design specialists put it,
“You should rebuild your website as often as you upgrade your phone.”
Now, don’t freak out. This isn’t a hard deadline. If you’ve maintained your site with regular redesigns and tweaks over the years, you may not need to rebuild as often.
That being said, there are 4 major warning signs that you’re due for a website rebuild:
Your website isn't mobile compatible
Within the last 5 years or so, mobile compatibility has become a crucial part of web design. The new standard for websites is responsive design. That’s a fancy way of saying your website should work on any screen size, device, or browser.
Did you know more than half of all internet traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices today?
That’s right, more people are visiting your site from smartphones than computers! What does that mean for you?
Simply, if you don’t have a mobile compatible website, you’re going to have a tough time making a good impression.
Search engines consider mobile compatibility in their rankings. So if you don’t have a mobile version of your site, you won’t rank in the top spots on search engines like Google.
Lower rank = less exposure to new customers.
Not to mention, you’re definitely frustrating the visitors who do make it to your website. Your customers will be disappointed in your site if it doesn’t function correctly when they go to make a purchase from their phone. Talk about an easy way to drive customers away!
Your site is outdated
When it comes to your website, appearance matters. If your site doesn’t look professional, visitors will assume your service is unprofessional too. Let’s say your competitors have stylish, up-to-date sites, while yours looks like an ancient relic from the dark ages of the internet. You’re unfortunately going to lose some credibility among your customers.
Ok, your site probably isn’t that bad. But the constant evolution of the internet means it’s pretty easy to fall behind on the latest web design trends. If you love the look and feel of your previous site, but feel it’s fallen behind the times, don’t worry. It’s still possible to rebuild your site and capture the same essence of your old website.
For example: For Woobie Beans we kept a lot of the same light colors and featured her products in a similar way as her original site. However, we displayed the information in a clean, more modern way to make it look more professional and up-to-date.
Three years can make a pretty significant difference, not just to the look of your website but also to the functionality. It’s possible that new features would be beneficial to your website or older ones you’re relying on are outdated and obsolete.
A major feature of your site doesn't work
If your site has a broken feature, or a new, beneficial feature has recently come out, it’s time to consider a rebuild. New technologies are coming out all the time, which means there are great additions you can make to your site to make your job and the customer experience easier.
One of the main reasons Kelly agreed to rebuild her site was because website visitors didn’t have a way to search her products.
A big problem like this is well worth rebuilding your website. If it’s an easy cosmetic fix, a redesign may be all you need. Either way, you shouldn’t settle for a broken website. Talk to your web designer and make sure you and your customers are getting the most out of your site.
Your content needs to be rewritten
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has changed significantly in recent years. You won’t get away with stuffing the same keyword into your content over and over again, spamming your readers, to rank higher with Google anymore.
Search engine algorithms have become much more sophisticated. Now, they prioritize well-written, unique content over “keyword stuffing.” So if your site’s content is full of unnatural keywords, or you don’t have any written content at all, your ranking is going to suffer.
A rebuild is a great opportunity to rewrite your content. Your site will look a lot better if your designer builds the site around your content, rather than copy-pasting blocks of text into a site that just wasn’t designed to have 500 (or more) words per page!
Those are our four major criteria for a site that’s due for a total rebuild. But in the end, it’s up to you as a business owner whether or not to start over. Just be sure you’re not sacrificing customer service by keeping your old website up and running.
Figure out what’s working, and what’s not, from the viewpoint of a first time visitor. Ask yourself, and answer honestly, “Does this website make me want to use these services?” If the answer is no… it’s time to redesign or rebuild!