No matter how happy we are with our initial website, a few months down the line we always seem to think it could be better or we start to notice those little things that just annoy us. We start to entertain those thoughts; “I need a new website”. In some cases the site we once loved, we even grow to hate. Strong stuff.
So is this really terms for divorce? Is it time to replace the old with a new sparkly young thing?
One thing to remember is that we are regular visitors to our own site so notice the deficiencies whereas most of your visitors are infrequent or new and may get along with it just fine.
Before jumping into bed with a new website, it is good to take stock. Lets check wether the website you have, really does need the elbow.
The Friend Test – What’s the real story
Ask friends, customers and other people what they think of your site, they may not have noticed those things that annoy you. If possible observe how they use your site, how they navigate, what draws their attention and any difficulties they have. This will give you better insight into the real major flaws, if any. Or maybe, in fact, it is serving it’s purpose just fine. If they can get along with it then maybe you can learn to again and you don’t need a completely new website.
Hire A Private Detective – Get the real picture, not what you think
Ideally, get a suitable web savvy person to check your site analytics. It will tell you what your site has really been up to; both in general and the performance of specific pages.
Warning: You may get a bit lost in the techicalties of this section. If so don’t worry, just skip it; suffice to say it is a good idea for someone who understands this stuff to look at your site analytics so that you have some facts and are not just guessing or making assumptions from your own experience.
If you have Google analytics installed then you or your detective should log in to your Google account and look at your stats. Look at the average bounce rate of your site (i.e. visitor viewed one page then bounced back without viewing anything else), average time spent on site and average number of pages viewed. In Google Analytics you can select ‘Content’ and list these metrics for all of your pages. Look particularly at the bounce rate of your home page, but also hilight any that are significantly worse than the site average. Also look to see if you have any good performing pages, these could form the basis of your new site.
Unless your site is a blog only, then a high bounce rate, low time on site & low average pages viewed can be an indicator that visitors to your site are not that keen on it. (Note: it does depend on your industry, some fairly successful sites can still have > 50% bounce rate). In the above example the site bounce rate is quite high at 55%, but one page with a very high 80% inflates this. At first sight it would seem that this page (labled 1) is a problem. However, before jumping to too many conclusions the Average Time on Page suggests that many visitors are in fact engaged spending several minutes (above the site average) on this page so in fact it is not necessarily bad. It is page 2 that has a potential problem with a higher than average bounce rate and lower than average time on page. Page 5 also has a low average time on page but its low bounce rate suggests the page is working to progress the visitor on deeper into the site.
Also look at the overall trend of your your traffic from search engines. If this is low or not increasing? You may need some SEO Design tweaks and targeted content.
With this information you will be better placed to decide what scale of redesign is really required. Detail the improvements that you really need to make to achieve target desired outcomes. It may be that only one or two areas of your site need attention for you to be happily reconciled with your site.
Add Some Spice To Your Website
One of the possible ways of reconciliation is to add good spicy (okay let’s not go too far we’ll call it flavoursome) content to your site. If you have been through the analytics exercise above then you may have a good idea of which type of content is flavoursome that works to engage your visitors and which type is bland and a turn off.
If you are able, try to create more of the working spicy, I mean flavoursome, content. It may be helpful guides or articles or product demo videos etc, whatever it is create more of it so you are building out the quality of your site. Also experiment with other types of content. Add this content on new pages so you can measure and compare its performance.
Is There Somebody Else In The Relationship?
This may be the one and only reason necessary for you to decide to make the break or at least move the content of your site to a new home.
Many businesses find themselves stuck and floundering with a website that they cannot change, or at least costs money every time a change is made. There is that spectre of someone else looming large in the website relationship. That someone else is often the original web designer. These businesses have to re-engage the web designer to make the change for them. They have to explain what they want, agree a fee and/or wait until the change can be accommodated in the schedule. Not exactly agile business.
If everytime you want make a change, whether it be to add that spicy new page or just a special promotion, you have to rely on someone else to make the change, then pretty soon your site will stagnate and fall short of that lead generating sales channel that you thought it would be.
If this is the case then you do need to consider moving your content to a Content Managed Website solution at the very least, if not a substantial redesign that includes a Content Management System. It is this that allows you to make whatever changes you want and publish in your timescale at no 3rd party cost. You don’t need to know code to use a Content Management System, just learn a few buttons to click and write your content.
This will give you and your website a new lease of life and enable you to use it as a productive tool in your marketing armoury.
The Fallout – Important SEO Google Considerations
Some businesses have created swanky new sites then wondered where all their traffic went. “It just disappeared when we got rid of our old site”.
One important point to make sure you absolutely know what you are doing, if you do embark on a redesign, is to know how to retain any existing search and referral traffic that you are getting. Your existing url (web page) addresses are precious you don’t want to lose any traffic that comes on those url links from Google or other sites that link to you. The old url’s need to be redirected to a suitable new url. If you are not sure how, google “301 redirects”, or get an expert to do it, or make sure it is part of your new website agreement.
So is it time to break up or time to make up for you and your website?
Need to hire that ‘private detective’ to help you?… Give me a call. (07906 971762)
I really Do Need A New Website
Break up time? Elbows sharpened? Then lets get on with the website redesign. By example, here is one I redesigned earlier: continue reading>.