No beating around the bush here – your time is precious. The biggest, number one sign you need a new website is that you’re here, reading this article.
Marketers are an intuitive bunch, so if your gut is telling you that you need one, you probably do. So that kicks off our list –
1: Hello reader!
For the remaining nine points, we’re going to list some of the common red flags which, if you spot them, should give you an inkling that it’s time to bite the bullet and get a new site for your business.
2: Your website is not responsive
Though this list isn't in any particular order, this one is pretty important. If your website isn't responsive yet then stop what you're doing – and start planning your new site.
A responsive site will change how it displays depending on the size of screen, so mobile or tablet users should get a version of your site that is easier to navigate and use.
If your site isn't responsive you're not only damaging your user's on-site experience if they're visiting on a mobile device, you're, without a doubt, reducing the number of visits to your site.
Google's ranking algorithm takes into account whether your site is responsive. If it isn't, the search engine will score you as a poor content provider and will penalise your site with a reduction in search authority.
If you're unsure if your website is mobile-friendly or not, then you'll be glad to know that Google will also help you out. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool here.
3: High bounce rate
Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room – Google’s official definition of a ‘bounce’ is ‘a single-page session on your site'. Basically, someone has hit your landing page and then left without exploring deeper into your site.
If you've got a high bounce rate, that means that most likely you have confusing design or content, upfront requests for too much personal info or simply ugly pages.
This isn't an exhaustive list of reasons, however, these are some common ones to look out for. New websites can also fall foul of high bounce rate, however it is harder to remedy on an older site with many pages and legacy issues.
To get clean design, good functionality and the ability to post relevant sticky content that interests people in a way that takes into account modern consumer habits and mobile, it’s easier to look at launching a new site.
4: Your website doesn't align with your current branding
Now, more than ever, your website and branding need to align, or you could look at this way – your branding and website need to match.
For most businesses now, your website is your primary marketing tool – your shop window – so it needs to be consistent. You don’t expect to walk past a McDonalds and see posters of burgers named King and Whopper – it’s inconsistent and it would make you suspicious.
It’s the same with your website. If you have brand guidelines for colours, fonts, image use, image style etc. stick to them. If not, write some and stick to them. Brand guidelines can be tricky to implement into an existing environment, but building them alongside a new website means from day one they become the standard.
5: Loading takes forever
This one is similar to the point we made around your website being responsive – and it goes beyond a user's on-site experience. Google will penalise your site if your page speed is low – the lower the page speed, the more severe the penalty.
Again, if this is something you've never thought about before, then you might not even have an indication how fast your site is. Google has another handy tool that you can use: take a look at Google's PageSpeed Tools here.
6: Your site autoplay
Say the words 'auto-playing', and 'audio' to any UX expert and they'll point you towards the exit (and tell you how to get there in the fewest amount of steps).
If you've still got auto-playing audio on your website, the chances are you have a real problem you’re unaware of. Autoplay kills your page load speeds (see previous) and puts users off exploring further. In fact, it doesn’t just drive them away, it drops the barrier and tells them not to come back.
If this is integral to your website, it’s definitely time to look at a refresh.
7: It just looks outdated
There's no getting away from the fact that one of the biggest indicators that you need a new site is that it just looks 'old'.
Are you comfortable with your site? Do you think everyone recognises it? No? Then it’s time to get a new one. Comfort is not the goal. Your authority and trust on the web come not from comfort, but from content. If your site looks like something from the 90s, no-one's going to read your content because they’ll assume it's also from the 90s.
Why would they be interested in the content of a site that predates Facebook, Twitter, broadband, smartphones? If you've become comfortable with your website design, it’s time to change.
8: Your search engine rankings are low
The truth is, some older sites haven't had much work done on their keyword strategy, carry a lot of duplicate pages and content and are riddled with problems that make life difficult for Google and other search engines to index and evaluate them. And when something makes life difficult for a search engine, it simply moves on, penalising you in the process.
By deciding to go for a new website, you have the opportunity to clean up all that SEO muck and start climbing back up the rankings.
9: You’ve got the old Twitter bird
I always like to keep an eye out for this one – you could say I'm a Twitter bird-watcher. If the Twitter icon on your homepage has a little tuft on its head, that means that you’re rocking the pre-2012 Twitter branding.
Having the 'tufty' bird is the cutest way of realising your website is way too old.
Something else to look out for is the old Instagram logo. Though this rebrand was much more recent – 2016 – it highlights the fact that you need to keep on top of things as they update, as visitors notice these things and some even delight in highlighting them to the world via social.
10: You're embarrassed to send people to your website
If you're embarrassed to send people to your website the chances are that this is because you know that the site doesn't reflect your ability as a marketer or the calibre of the brand the site serves. You should be proud to give out your URL to your peers – many people are.
If all of this has got you thinking, why not watch our video Website Trends That You Need to Know About for some more inspiration or find out more about content management systems by reading What is Umbraco?