It may seem like the biggest hurdle when it comes to a good website is figuring out how to get one in the first place, but that’s not it. In all actuality, a website that’s been built and all but forgotten about is the hugest hurdle.
It’s easy for an existing website to become “out of sight, out of mind.” And, that’s never quite as obvious as when it’s time to send a potential client there and you momentarily panic because, when did you look at it last and what is even on there anyway?
The most dubious website hurdle is knowing when it’s time to redo your website.
A website overhaul sometimes means starting from scratch — a complete do-over. Sometimes it’s updating page layouts and giving a design refresh. Either way, it’s annoying. Unless you have some guidelines.
Where To Start
What’s the number one thing you need in order to stay in business? If you answered “leads,” you’re correct.
One sure fire way to know if your website needs work, is to figure out if your website is getting enough traffic and that traffic is converting into leads. The exact metrics to track evolve over time, but you’ll generally be looking at user behavior. The best way to do this is by adding a tracking code to your website.
Bounce rate used to be one of the most popular ways to track how well a website was performing, but the ideal range for that metric was different depending on the type of website and specific page on the website. So bounce rate has evolved into overall user behavior in the new Google Analytics 4 system.
If you haven’t created a new Google Analytics code since October 2020, definitely login to your analytics account and add a GA4 code to your website.
They’ve made it easier to analyze user behavior and figure out what types of changes might need to be made. Your first big step after adding your tracking code is deciding what goals you have for your website, and then looking into the insights Google Analytics gives you based on what questions you might have about your website’s performance.
Since we’re trying to figure out if we need to redo your website, we’ll want to look at the website as a whole and make sure the pages increase engagement, keep people on the website, and lead to conversions.
Most Common Signs of Needing Improvement
What’s that mean in layman’s terms? Your website may be hard to navigate.
Depending on your analytics, issues could be on desktop, mobile, or both. A site that’s hard to use on mobile could be a major issue needing to be fixed.
Your homepage might have way too much going on. Having a busy or confusing home page is a common problem. People get overwhelmed quickly and their attention spans are shorter than ever. They need to know who you are and what problem you’re going to solve for them within seconds of arriving on your website.
Drill down your “calls to action” to one major thing someone should do when they get to your website, and keep the rest simple. Decide what action you want people to take when they get to your website and make sure it’s clear and concise. Asking people to do too many things at once is a great way to lose them.
Out of Date Content or Broken Links
Out of date content can be anything from old outdated posts, to an old phone number that doesn’t work. Review your content to make sure you’re giving people the information they’re actually looking for. If, while you’re reviewing your content, you notice a bunch of your branding is out of date, it’s a good opportunity to review and update that as well.
Sometimes high bounce rates are a result of pages no longer existing. If you’ve got missing pages, dead links, and 404 errors, you’re going to need to at least review those missing links and replace those pages or set up some redirects. Then you’ll resubmit your sitemap to the search engines.
Come up with a thorough content strategy, and use this to see how much of your website needs to change. Depending on how different your content and branding are from your existing website structure and design will determine the size of the website redo.
Sometimes technical issues are quick fixes, and sometimes they’re a sign of a bigger problem. Your website should be evaluated on a regular basis to make sure it’s performing and serving website visitors. If it hasn’t, that’s one of the first indicators that it might be time to redo your website.
An insecure website — one that doesn’t use HTTPS — can also be a huge issue. Browsers will often flag websites as not safe and a user has to explicitly enter.
If your site has old plugins that won’t update, are showing errors, or are no longer actively maintained, you’re going to need to ask yourself the big questions about a full website rebuild.
To Redo or Not To Redo
How much did the site cost to begin with? How long has it been unattended? How much needs to be done to it? How much time and headache is it causing you every day it’s not done?
Many website issues can be addressed without having to start over. Other times, it’s a sign to leave the headaches behind and start fresh. Almost any website can be brought back from the edge with a good developer, but you have to decide if it’s worth it.
If you’re hesitant to give out your web address because your site embarrasses you (or you’re never sure if it’s going to be down or not) — if little things seem to be piling up, and your website avoidance is officially giving you anxiety — it’s probably a sign to consider starting from scratch.
If you’re ready to commit to paying attention to your business and your website, it might be best to start fresh with a website that is exactly what you need now.