Confession: I am a web designer and I put off redesigning my website.
For three years.
Even though I knew it needed to be done.
Even though it looked unprofessional and I had “website shame” (a marketing phrase I really don’t care for. At all. But there it is).
Yes, there is the old adage, the cobbler’s children have no shoes, and I’ve known a lot of designers who put their own websites on the back burner. Faced with reviewing legacy content, writing new content and creating a new layout, it’s suddenly so much easier to do that client or family… thing.
I understand wanting to put it off or not wanting to deal with it.
But your website is always there, in the back of your mind wondering why you don’t write or send flowers. Sigh.
Websites are an endeavor of time, money and energy. If you’ve had yours for a while, you get it. It’s like a relationship. After you put time and effort into keeping it fresh and exciting, figuring out its quirks and overall maintenance, it’s hard to let go.
Sometimes, though, you need to take a deep breath and own it. It’s time to start over. But how do you know you’re making the right decision?
I Don’t Even Know You Anymore
Take a look at your website. If it were a person, what would you think? Do you feel good about what you see, as in, I can tell what this person is about and what they are offering? Or is it more of an “I don’t recognize this person, the visuals are all wrong – hell, I’m not even sure what this person is selling” feeling?
What about when someone else sees it? Do you feel confident that a new client would “get” you and your business? Or do you get a little feeling down in the pit of your stomach (there’s that ‘website shame’) because you wouldn’t even be SEEN with that “person” in public anymore?
If so, then what you’re saying is your business has come a long way, baby. You need a website that makes you feel alive and fits your current business lifestyle. Another good measure is to check with your “friends”, aka Google analytics. What are the numbers like? If other people don’t stick around and get to know you, your website may not be communicating what you need it to which is definitely a sign that something is wrong.
What Have You Done For Me Lately
Websites are not just a pretty face and their dancing feet should not always be on your couch. No ma’am. A dependable, solid website is built around your business, especially your business goals. It is your 24-7-365 sales tool, able to convey what your business is about and convince customers to take action when you’re not around.
Websites should also, at the very least, be able to pay for themselves (you know, those domain and hosting fees?). If your website is really in the relationship for the long haul, it should work hard for the money and really treat you right. It should generate leads for you to market to, represent your brand and yes, show you the money.
You Don’t Respond the Way You Used To
It’s happened to a lot of websites. Suddenly, this new-fangled hand-held technology showed up and your website clammed up and wouldn’t respond. Not to tablets, not to phones. And this is one area where you do need to listen to your friends. I hate to put on the peer pressure but your friends at Google don’t like unresponsive sites. So much so, if you stick with this old website, you’re not ranking well in mobile searches. This important for all businesses since mobile searches are above the 50% mark. But if you’re running a local business, this is something really important to remedy. I know you want to be findable when your customers are ready to buy and you have what they need.
I’d also like to note that if your website is not easily updatable, this is another good reason to move on. This could either be because of an outdated or clunky content management system that isn’t easy to work with. Or it could be because the person you’re working with to update your website makes the process clunky. They take too long to get back to you or to get to your edits. While this isn’t your website specifically, it is holding your website back from being the best that it could be. Which means it’s holding you back.
I’m not asking you to run out and redesign right now. I realize this is a big decision. Even if you’re pretty sold on a redesign I’d like you to keep the following in mind.
I’d sit down with your website and get reacquainted. Set up a date night for just the two of you (or brunch – whatever works). In the midst of doing the work and working the dream, you probably haven’t had a lot of quality time together so you might not even know where you stand. If you’re not sure where to start, check out my post on a refreshing your website for some guidance and a handy checklist.
looks aren’t everything. You may look at your website and think, ugh, we’ve been together for a while. I think I need a change. Listen, it happens to everyone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of (there’s that word again…) but really do take a closer look. If you would still take your site out in public maybe some tweaks are all you need. It’s normal for the doldrums to set in but it isn’t necessary to scrap it and start over. It could just need a new header image or change up some of the other photography or add some if there isn’t any. Time alone is not the best reason to update. Even a site that is 2-3 years old doesn’t need a complete redesign if it’s performing well and conveying the right message.
it’s natural to look around and check out what everyone else is doing. What their websites look like, what they’re doing. Remember – just because someone else in the industry where you hang out ran out and bought a shiny, new website doesn’t mean you have to. What if they did it for the wrong reasons? You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. It could be they ran out and got a new site because someone else did, too. Remember: you and your website need to be in it together, doing what’s best for your business and your best may be different from that other guy or gal.
If you’ve really checked in with your website and you’ve decided it’s time to move on, that’s great. But what happens now that you’ve decided to redesign? Stay tuned for my next post. I’ll be talking about getting off to a smooth start with getting your new website.
If you’re not sure where to start or want to get started, feel free to get in touch. I’m happy to share a half-hour of my time, get under the hood and see what’s going on.