5 Signs it's Time to Update Your Website
Y Your website is one of the primary ways your customers interact and engage with your organization and it’s critical that your digital footprint accurately communicates your brand. It might be hard to determine when it's time for a major website facelift, so we’ve assembled a list of the five reasons that we typically see for initiating a new website project.
1. Old or outdated user interface
The user interface (or UI) is the visual piece of your website. Design conventions and aesthetics evolve, and after a period of time (whether it be three, five or ten years), it may just be time for a facelift. Look at your competitors' websites or other sites that your audience may typically visit – if it feels like your design is looking aged, then it is certainly time for an update.
The frequency of your visual updates may be connected to your brand. Some organizations will want to be perceived as innovative, modern and advanced in the eyes of their customers, so it would be important to adopt more frequent website updates (every 2- to 3- years for more significant upgrades).
2. Outdated technology
Your content management system (CMS) or server technology is out of date or reaching the end of life. This can result in security risks or compatibility issues. At times a simpler update is possible, but sometimes updates can cause other problems which would result in a larger scale rebuild.
Ask your website administrator to review your versions of your CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.), plugins (WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, Contact Form, etc.) or server technologies (PHP, MySQL, etc.). You can compare what is installed on your website with the most modern version in order to assess the necessity of an upgrade.
Minor technology upgrades are typically more manageable, so it’s worth conducting regular technology or security scans and updates in order to take these small incremental updates. If it’s left too long, then the website technology may require a much more significant upgrade which is going to cause problems. We often recommend quarterly reviews of technology and security in order to assess those regular updates which can avoid significant problems in the future.
3. New brand or new visual identity
That tired logo or visual expression is finally due for a refresh, and of course, that needs to be reflected in your online environment. Your website is the primary digital touchpoint (and likely the primary touchpoint) for your audience and needs to portray who you are.
The website is often the first place you look to have your new visual identity applied. This can have a big impact on your audience and is a fantastic way to launch your new look.
4. Market expansion
Your new strategy may have identified a different audience that you now are focusing on, which will have a significant impact on your website user experience. A good user experience is when your audience’s needs are satisfied when they arrive on your website. This new audience will likely have different needs, and this needs to be carefully considered as you change your organization's focus.
At the very least you’re going to want to review your content and messaging in order to best address this new audience, but a bigger website update may be required. This new audience is going to have unique needs and goals when they arrive on your website. and it would be worthwhile redefining the user experience in order to best accommodate their needs.
5. New marketing strategy
It might finally be time to embrace e-commerce, or market conditions have resulted in a more digital-first approach to engaging with current and prospective customers. We saw big pushes like this during the pandemic, as many organizations rushed to adapt to exclusively digital ways of doing business. Although COVID lockdowns have changed, we still see continued consumer pressure for organizations to embrace modern business strategies.
These changes could result in building or upgrading your e-commerce presence, building out a customer portal to allow for digital self-service options, or even just adjusting the type of content on your website to augment and support your offline sales conversations. Here it’s worthwhile assessing the entirety of your customer experience and determining how you can make it more effective and efficient with digital technologies.
About the Writer
Eric Postma – VP of Digital and Innovation
Eric oversees the digital marketing initiatives for all of Think Shift’s clients. In his spare time, Eric teaches Digital Marketing at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Learn more about Eric here.