When is it Time for a New Website?

Close up of a rooster

Online Content Marketing

Your website is your 24/7 communications hub. What happens when your communications hub is not functioning the way you would like? It can result in higher bounce rates, that is, people coming to your site and leaving again. It can also affect your brand positioning when visitors have a frustrating experience. Most importantly, an older website has a greater chance of security breaches because it has a higher degree of security flaws.

Chart indicating top reasons to leave a website

The average website today lasts about three to five years as security enhancements come along to improve the security of websites, but also as website designs change. After that amount of time, you should start planning for a new website, but most companies wait far longer until there is a problem. Assuming that you have kept your website theme and plug-ins up to date, here are three hints that it’s time for a new website.

1. Your design looks outdated compared to other sites.

When you look at your website on your desktop or mobile device, does it function well? Does it look modern and inviting? If not, it’s an easy sign that you need a refresh or a whole new website theme or customization to stay current with your website users.

People are looking for bite-sized pieces of content to engage with, which means less copy and more visual cues. Grid or gallery design, “card” layouts and introductory videos will improve your visitors’ experience and keep their attention.

Example of card style web design layout.
Card-style web design, similar to Pinterest or Instagram

2. Your site has poor navigation.

If you were to use a heat map tool on your website to identify how people navigate through it, you will probably be surprised at what you see. You may notice that visitors don’t scroll down far enough on a page to find your call to action. You might notice that they pay attention to numbered subheads and pretty pictures more than on your messages in the body copy.

Example of Hotjar heat map on a website.
Source: Hotjar heat map example

3. You can’t easily update the site yourself.

Today’s new website design should make it easy for someone within your company or organization to add copy or videos, to change headlines, to add new pages and anything else that helps you share new information.

You should not have to request changes from a web programmer.

 Investment in a new website will be well worth the daily efficiency for your marketing strategy and communications in the long run.

Plus, you will be able to increase visitors to your site and attract new business and recruits. That’s the whole point, right?

If you are wondering if you need a website design refresh or a whole new website, ask yourself the following questions:

When was our site launched?

If it was a couple years ago, you could do a refresh. If it was three to five years ago, start planning and budgeting to launch a new site.

How easy it is now to update information on the site?

If you go to an outside source to update your site, is it because you have outsourced marketing? That’s great. If it’s because your current platform requires a degree in coding, then you should consider a new site.

Is the site design still modern looking or is the structure feeling outdated?

Sometimes you can refresh your home page to improve the visitor experience. If your site is copy-heavy, contains old stock images or lacks options for video or podcasts, you probably need a new site.

How long are visitors engaging with our site overall?

If your bounce rates are high on just a few pages, redesign those pages and monitor them. If bounce rates are creeping up to 70% on most pages, you probably need a new site.

Are we getting requests for information or leads through our site?

Sometimes you need to improve your content marketing calls to action by moving that information to a higher or more visual part of the page (e.g. subscribe buttons, demos, applications, etc.). However, if your website isn’t a lead generation funnel, then you are working too hard and you need a new website.

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