The most important thing about this question is knowing when to ask it. Most small businesses are masters of their craft, not website experts. That's why 95% of small businesses have outdated websites. That's also a big opportunity for WordPress professionals to help out.
Small businesses either don't think about their website much or don't realize that it's outdated. Whether you're a small business owner or a WordPress expert helping a business owner, here are some questions to ask to know whether it's time for a website redesign.
1. Does it work on mobile devices?
Over 1/3 of website traffic is from mobile devices, so your website should work and be easy to use on mobile devices like smartphones and tables.
If your business website doesn't work on mobile devices your prospective customers will find one that does. Are you sending potential customers away?
If you're still using a dedicated (adaptive) mobile website, you should consider upgrading to responsive design. Not only is a separate dedicated mobile website more expensive to keep up, but it can hurt SEO if it isn't setup right and authority is split between multiple websites. Responsive design is a new technology that makes your website work flawlessly on all devices by automatically adjusting to each device.
2. Is the website secure?
30,000 websites are hacked every day. Is your website secure? If your website software is outdated, you're at risk. In fact, out of date website software is the #1 reason websites get hacked. Your business is your livelihood, so make sure you get a security guarantee of some sort.
Although there's no practical way to make a website hacker proof, a security guarantee will make sure that if your website is ever hacked or infected you're not left with the bill.
Essentially, a security guarantee is an insurance policy that says your website company will have your back if anything happens. Make sure you're protected by one.
What is your website host doing to make sure the security of your website? If you don't know, it might make sense to have a security audit done because your business is worth it. You may want to move your website to a more secure host before revamping it.
3. Does the website look outdated?
This is a subjective question, but most people spend enough time online to know if a website feels outdated or not. This is important because your website is the face of your business online. If it's outdated, it reflects poorly on your business.
Additionally, studies have shown that customers have more trust and are willing to spend more with businesses with better designed websites. This makes sense because visiting a poorly designed website online is like visiting a dirty, rundown store in the real world. Your website represents your business online just like a store or office represents your business in the real world.
If it's been a few years since your website has been updated, it's probably ready for a refresh. Newer technologies like responsive design and HTML5 change the way websites are built.
4. Is the website easy to update yourself?
You should be able to update your website yourself. You should be able to update things like your About and Contact pages, business information, contact and quote request forms, and more. You need to be able to do these things without wasting money hiring somebody to do it for you.
Most modern website builders like WordPress, GoCentral, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. have tools that make updating your website easy. If you choose to build your website a different way, just make sure you have a content management system (CMS) to make it easier to update and maintain yourself on a budget.
5. Does the website let customers communicate with you?
Your website should have a flexible form builder that lets you create anything from simple contact forms to advanced quote request forms and surveys. You should have the power to do these things when your business needs them without paying extra. You should be able to create forms for any purpose, such as:
- Customer service
- Work requests
- Online orders
- Online estimates
- Contact Us page
- Bug reports
- Online payments
6. Is the website fast?
If your website is slow, you'll need to figure out if it's due to slow website hosting or if it's just a poorly coded website (most likely). If build on WordPress, your website should use things like caching, combination and minification of scripts and stylesheets, content delivery networks (CDN), etc.
Most Managed WordPress hosts like GoDaddy or WP Engine automatically make these optimizations. When you're wondering what the difference is between high quality hosting and budget hosting, this is the difference.
Use tools like tools.pingdom.com and webpagetest.org to test your website speed. Run your website through a couple of times to get a solid baseline. Try to get your website load time under 1 second. Every extra second your website takes to load means more lost sales.
7. Is the website doing its job?
What's your website for? Is it to bring in leads, increase sales, provide information, or a combination? How well is it doing those things? Increasing conversions to meet business goals should be a part of your website revamp.
Just remember that a website doesn't just do these things automatically. Even with the best technical SEO on your website, there has to be something to optimize. You have to put in the effort to spread the word, write content to attract search engine traffic, and do things that make your website worth visiting.
Remember, there are around 1 billion websites on the internet, why should customers visit yours?
8. Is the website increasing sales?
How effective is your website's SEO? For example:
- Does it use all the right HTML tags and other markup?
- Does it make sure your new content gets submitted to search engines?
- Does it make it easy for search engines to find and index your content?
- Does it use regular and media sitemaps like video sitemaps?
- Does it automatically add video thumbnails to search results to get you more search engine traffic?
- Does it take advantage of local SEO markup to help local customers find your business?
Not only should your website do these things, but it should do these things automatically so you never have to worry about them and you can focus on your business.
9. Does the website make the business better?
Over the last 5 years software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud applications (apps) have become increasingly popular with small businesses. They do everything from email marketing and invoicing, to CRM and appointment scheduling. These apps bring enterprise power to small businesses at a fraction of the cost.
Your website should allow you to integrate with these applications to automate administrative tasks and streamline your business. For example, form submissions could create new invoices, add contacts to your CRM, create help tickets, make appointments, etc. all automatically. Your website should do more than just look good, it should make your business better. That's the great thing about a powerful, flexible CMS like WordPress: it does all of these things, many of them for free!
Does your website need a revamp? Is your website doing everything it could be to help you build a business as great as your ambitions? If not, you should think about revamping your website and take your business to the next level.