As a business owner, you know that your website is a valuable tool for providing information to current clients and customers, attracting potential clients and generally establishing your expertise and online presence.
Many people operate under the myth that once their initial website is up and running, they’re done. As a web designer, an important message that I provide to my clients is that a website is never actually done.
I like to give the metaphor that your website is your online home. You may get your home all set up and beautiful but in order for it do be a home, you have to live in it. That means, you’ll be changing things around for different activities and having to clean up from time to time. Sometimes your tastes will change or you’ll outgrow something.
Same thing with your website.Your website is your online home. You may get your home all set up and beautiful but in order for it to be a home, you have to live in it. That means, you'll be changing things around for different activities and having to clean up… Click To Tweet
That’s why I’ve put together a few ways to know when your website needs a redesign and some easy ways to do a little “spring cleaning” to get your website working optimally for your business.
3 Ways to Know if your Website Needs a Redesign Plus Quick Fixes
1. The information is no longer accurate or you feel a disconnect with your message
The first way to know that your website needs a redesign is if you feel like the content no longer represents who you are or what your business is offering.
Some quick things to look for and update:
- Your name – Are you still doing business under the same name? Sometimes people start out doing business under their given names and then switch to using a separate business name. Make sure this is clear on your website.
- Contact info – Whatever forms of contact information you provide needs to be correct. Check your contact page and the footer of your website. Check that any contact forms you may be using are working properly and that they’re sending to an email address that you still check frequently.
- Your services – If you used to teach group classes at studios and now you’re only accepting private clients, make sure this is clear on your website. You don’t want to be attracting students to classes you don’t teach when you could be bringing in new clients for your private sessions.
- Your Pricing – If you share you share you pricing on your website make sure you keep it updated! It takes courage to raise your prices and the last thing you want to do is tell a potential client a different(higher) price than was advertised on your website. It seems shady and it’s just awkward!
- Your messaging – In general, you’ll want to make sure that the tone of voice and the message you’re using on your website are still in line with the work you are currently doing. Maybe you set up your website when you first graduated started but now you have a ton more experience and knowledge that you want to share. Or maybe you’ve shifted your focus from one niche to another. You’ll want to make sure that the words and messaging on your website are representative of the energy you’re bringing to the table and also the energy you’re wanting to attract with your ideal clients and students.
2. Something is broken or not working properly
One really obvious way to know that your website needs a redesign is if it’s just plain not working properly. When it comes to tech stuff this can be a bit intimidating but there a couple things you can check to try and troubleshoot the issue yourself.
Some quick things to look for and update:
- Visit your site as a user – You should visit your website periodically from the viewpoint of a potential client. Is it a nice experience? Make sure that there are no annoying pop-ups that won’t close. Check that it’s easy to find the information that your ideal client is probably going to be looking for. Make sure newsletter opt-ins and contact forms work properly. Make sure it looks good on mobile devices!
- Install updates – If you’re using WordPress, make sure that your theme and all plugins are updated. Do this by logging into the admin area, hovering over “Dashboard” in the left menu and then clicking on “Updates.” (**ALWAYS make sure you have a backup of your site before doing updates. Ask your hosting company if they can do it for you or use a plugin like this one.)
- Check with support – If you’re having trouble with a theme or a plugin, try contacting whoever made it. In WordPress you can find the developer of the them by going to Appearance > Themes and then hovering over the thumbnail image of the theme you’re using. Click “Theme details.” You’ll see a byline under the name of the theme and if you click that you will be taken to their website. Usually, they will have a place to submit a support ticket. If you purchased your theme from an online marketplace such as ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or CreativeMarket you will be able to submit support tickets directly through that website.
3. You haven’t updated it in more than a year or you don’t even know HOW to update it
In general, if it’s been a year or more since you’ve updated your website it’s safe to say it’s in need of a little love. This may not necessary warrant an entire redesign right away, but definitely take a few minutes to check the suggestions listed above to make sure that your online home is fresh, clean and welcoming for potential visitors.
If you don’t know how to update your own website… than that is a warning sign as well. If you’re serious about your business, then you’ll want to be serious about your website. Make sure that you are the owner of your website hosting and login information. It’s totally fine to have someone else whom you trust to manage things for you but please be sure that you own the domain name and hosting. Always be a part of any decision-making regarding your website and be educated on how to make updates yourself.
If your website is set up where you need to know code in order to update it… and you’re paying someone to update it every single time, you may want to consider switching to a different platform such as WordPress. It is a CMS, or content management system, which basically means it’s a framework that provides an easy-to-use interface for non-techy people and does all of the data crunching behind the scenes. Check out my post about the 7 Things WordPress Does Better Than Any Other Platform for more information.