Does your current website actually work for your soap business? If not, is it time to scrap it and start over with a new website? Or, can you save time and money by doing some updating on your current site?
We are here to help you make your website work for you and your customers. (Don’t have a current website? Don’t bounce on us. Coming up, we will be offering up tips so you can avoid making the worst website design mistakes in the future!)
Let's start with the facts and statistics to see where you might be going a little off road with your website.
Did you know most small business owners have not updated their website in 30 days according to a study done in 2013?! Imagine being a customer landing on a website that hasn't been updated - listing out of stock product, expired promotions, or outdated events. Wouldn't that make you wonder if the business could be trusted? Or worse yet, if the business was still... well, in business?
If you are cringing because you fit right in with that majority, well, at least you know you are not alone. That said, if you make the switch to the other side, you get a huge boost. By updating your content regularly, you let potential customers know you are an active business that is ready to serve them.
Plus, search engines are going to give you a high five for regularly serving up fresh updated content. So, you climb the rankings ladder above all of those small businesses that haven’t caught on. Feed the Google monster!
According to another study done in the same year, more than 50% of small businesses do not list their location or contact information.
I'm always blown away by the number of indie bath and body companies who make the same mistake. Your customers want to know who you are and where you are! By simply adding your name, a general location (like your city and state) and a contact method, you remove a huge stumbling block on your website. The result? Visitors feel that they know you! And your business and website instantly become more trustworthy.
Not to mention, visitors to your small business website might have questions that you haven’t covered on your FAQ or in your policies (you have both of those things, right?). For example, a potential customer might need more info about a product. A retailer might want to make a wholesale purchase. Or, a member of the media might want to reach out to you to feature your business in their publication.
If you don’t offer up the basics on you, your location, and your contact info, you’ve slammed the door on all of those opportunities.
Another doozie: retailers lost 50% of online sales because visitors couldn't find relevant content, according to a 2012 research study.
That’s means many small business owners are losing half of their online sales because potential customers can’t find info they want before they check out. For instance, they typically want to know how long it takes a product to ship, how it ships, if they can pay by credit card, or what recourse they have if they don’t like a product they ordered. By simply serving up the info that your customers need, it means that you have a chance to easily double your online sales(!).
It’s pretty clear from these stats that a lot of small business owners are letting their website go to waste. They are not taking the time to get down to the nitty-gritty and make sure that they are serving their customers in the best possible way. We want to make sure that your website isn't falling on the wrong side of these numbers!
I don't think I need a new website, do I?
Being included in all those troublesome statistics can easily be avoided by simply updating your website. However, there are some things you just can't fix with an update!
If you are wondering if you need a new website, let's talk through ten signs you might need to make that big commitment. We know building a new website takes a lot of time and can be a big cash suck, so let's make sure that you need to take that step. Afterall, you might be able to fix the current issues with a heavy update instead!
10 reasons you might need a new website
#1) Your website is not mobile optimized.
Mobile optimization means that your website can be served up to your customers on any number of devices: tablets, smartphones, etc. And it works properly! A huge number of people who access the internet these days do so on a mobile device. For instance, 64% of our traffic comes in on a smartphone or tablet and that's totally normal.
If your website doesn't take advantage of mobile optimization, you are losing out big time. You can either work with a developer to create a mobile optimized version of your current website. Or take a big step and start fresh with a mobile optimized design in the first place.
#2) Search engines can't find your website.
You can absolutely work to boost your search engine ranking without a redesign! If your website can’t be found at all, it might already be blacklisted. Or, Google may have determined that it is not safe or trustworthy enough to include in their search results.
Part of the redesign or setup process of a website should be extensively focused on ensuring the SEO is at least meeting basic requirements like meta titles, meta descriptions, title and alt tags, and the like.
#3) Your website isn’t accessible.
You website needs to be accessible to anyone with internet access, including people who use screen readers or alternative stylesheets. There are standards for accessibility requirements and tests to see if your site meets them. (More on that later.)
If your website isn't accessible, it could be a simple update to the styling or need more extensive overhaul where a new website would be easier.
#4) Your branding isn't on point.
If the aesthetics, presentation, and navigation (or, really, any big ticket item) of your website design are not shouting your brand message, you might need a new website.
If you used a standard template with little or no customization to get your website up fast, this likely applies to you! Your website is your home on the internet, it needs to look and feel that way!
#5) Your website doesn’t reliably work.
If your website has issues loading quickly or routinely crashes, it’s time for a redesign. You might also need a new website if customers have issues navigating it or purchasing your products. Difficult or lengthy check out processes are big culprit here!
If your website doesn't reliably work for its intended purpose, it's time to build a new one (and possibly on a a new platform that works for your goals.)
Want a more extensive website self-check?
We created a giant seventeen page website scorecard to help you move your website in the right direction. You can find it in by joining us in Next Level, what are you waiting for?!
#6) Your website is outdated.
Dated aesthetics can put your website into this category, but so can out-of-date standards and lack of mobile optimization. Plus, a website filled with old content that isn’t relevant any more screams for a refresh.
Try to look at your website like you've never seen it before - does it give the right information, for the right timeframe, with a current look and feel?
#7) Your website still uses Flash. And likes grunge music.
Flash, which was oh-so popular in the 1990’s, is now horribly outdated. If you cling to a design that uses Flash (even if it's to render images or videos!), most people will not be able to access it on current browsers and devices.
That’s a big ol’ red flag for redesign, y’all. (Okay. So, I was kidding about the grunge music.)
#8) Your website loads at a snail’s pace.
For better or worse, we live in a world where people expect instant access. Whether it is because of an old platform or simply too much content that is poorly organized, if your website design makes it slow to load, bite the bullet and do a redesign.
Your tribe isn't going to wait for pages to load; they are going to bounce to a faster browsing experience. Not to mention, you'll get docked when it comes to search engine optimization rankings for slow loading times.
#9) You have changed; your website hasn't.
Your brand and products have probably changed dramatically since your website was designed. Perhaps you DIYed it on a shoestring budget when you started out ten years ago.
If you haven’t done a redesign in a decade, chances are your website needs a face-lift. Your family of four wouldn’t fit into your first apartment out of college. And your cobbled-together website doesn’t fit the mature company you own today. So, stop letting it misrepresent you and the brand you've built!
#10) Your website is more unmanageable than a cranky toddler.
This is a biggie! A lot of people rely on someone else to build and manage their website. But people retire, change careers, disappear...whatever. And sometimes that leaves you stuck with a website design that you don’t know how to fix when it breaks or even update when needed.
These days, there really is no excuse for having a website that you can’t manage. Intense technical knowledge or coding experience is no longer a must! Plenty of platforms (like Shopify!) make it easy and intuitive to manage and update your website.
If you curse at your website when trying to add new products or update your pages, you need a new website, pronto. No one's got time for that!
Were you nodding along as you were reading this list? Keep in mind that some of these issues can be solved with a few updates that realign your website with your current goals and purposes.
Realignment or a New Website?
A realignment, rather than a new website, is always going to be preferable, if it solves your problem spots. It's less work for you, and no one can argue that. If you've been putting off updates, think about how much frustration you could save your customers. (That'll get you moving!)
Folks don’t like change. Even though your website is an old hat to you, your customers see it less often. And they don’t necessarily want to learn their way around a new website.
However, a website that works is always better than one that doesn’t. Yours may be so far from the mark that a new website is a must. If that's the case, stay tuned - we'll be tackling that in future articles!
So, do you update your website regularly? If not, is that going on your to do list? Tell us in the comments!
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