While there’s no strict rule on how often you should redesign your website, technology and design trends evolve constantly and it’s important to keep up to stay relevant. Most of us spend a great deal of time online these days and so we’ve become quite critical of the websites we visit. If it doesn’t look good, load fast and work well, we generally won’t give a website more than a few seconds of our precious time before giving up on it – and the business it represents.
Considering your business’ website is a core element of your marketing strategy, it pays to keep it fresh. With that in mind, here are six sure signs that your website is due for a redesign…
It Looks Outdated
Outdated websites stand out like a sore thumb – and are just as cringe worthy. If your website looks like a relic from the 90s or early 2000s with garish colours, small images, underlined blue links, Times New Roman font, tiled backgrounds, animated gifs and such, it’s well overdue for a makeover. Take a look at your competitors’ sites for comparison and be honest about your own.
Remember, first impressions matter a lot. While we agree that you can’t always judge a book by its cover, consumers will naturally be drawn to the business that offers them an aesthetically pleasing digital experience. If you need some help getting up to speed with the latest Web design trends, check out our blog post about Tourism and Hospitality Website Design Trends for 2016.
It’s Not User-Friendly
Things can break on any site – old or new – such as links, images and videos, plugins, widgets, and forms, which is why it’s important to monitor your website to catch bugs that need fixing as soon as they occur. However, if such issues are cropping up frequently, it may be a sign that your site’s technology is out of date and it’s time for a redesign. For example, technology like Adobe Flash that was once common on websites is now incompatible with many browsers and media players.
Visit your website from a customer’s perspective (or ask a friend or family member to visit your site) to get an objective view. Are pages loading quickly? Is it easy to find information? Confusing navigation and slow load times can put website visitors off fast.
It’s Not Easy to Update Yourself
If you have to rely on your Web designer to update basic content like blog posts, images, prices and packages, you could actually save money (and definitely plenty of time) by investing in a website that comes with an easy-to- use content management system (CMS). A CMS allows you to log in to the back- end of your website and update content as often as you like. This means you don’t have to pay your designer to update descriptions, images, pricing or your blog, and updates can be timed more effectively.
Sites with regularly updated content are considered by search engines to be current and are often ranked better for it. With a user-friendly CMS, there are no excuses for not keeping your website fresh.
It’s Not Responsive
We’re going to throw some impressive stats in here: 70% of travelers with smartphones use them to research travel on Google, and 31% of leisure travelers (53% of business travelers) have booked travel on a smartphone. The point is: if your website is not responsive – in other words, it does not automatically adapt layout and functionality to the device it is being viewed on for an optimal cross- device user experience – it’s time for one that is.
It’s Not Getting Results
Declining or steadily low website traffic is a strong indicator that major changes are required. If your website is not ranking in search engine results and not expanding your customer base, it’s not fulfilling its purpose. Using a tool like Google Analytics that tracks your website’s statistics helps to determine whether your website is doing its job. In addition to total traffic, other important metrics to assess include traffic sources (organic, referred, direct and social), the bounce rate, exit pages and, of course, the conversion rate. Our recent blog post on the 6 key metrics to track provides a useful guide to measuring the success of your website.
It Doesn’t Reflect Your Business
There might be any number of reasons your website doesn’t reflect your unique business. Perhaps your website was designed by a well-meaning friend with a big heart but little or outdated Web design skills. Maybe the content strategy is off, or your property has been recently renovated. Whatever the reason, it is so important to make sure your website reflects your business’ USPs (unique selling points) and the actual customer experience of your property or activity, because that’s what today’s travelers seek – genuine experiences.
Look at your website through the eyes of a potential customer who has no previous knowledge of your business; is your website an accurate representation of the actual experience?
If even one of the above six signs applies to your lodging or activity website, it’s time for a redesign. While that might not be what you want to hear, a website redesign is not something to dread; it can and should be an exciting process that ends with a beautiful and effective website you can be proud of.
The following posts offer some useful tips to consider when planning a redesign:
- Tourism and Hospitality Website Design Trends for 2016
- What Prospective Guests Want From Your Hotel Website
- 2016 SEO Checklist for Hoteliers and Tour Operators
If you are interested in how we manage design projects here at WWT, take a look at our Design Process page for an outline of the expertly guided yet client-focused steps involved.