“Do I need a new website? Can you check for me?”
I get asked this a lot, and I understand completely.
I mean, why would you get a whole new website if there’s nothing wrong with yours, right?
Read this article for the right questions to ask.
See, when you don’t know a lot about websites, it can be really hard to tell whether you need a new one. So you’ll usually ask someone who knows more, either that nerd friend you have, or someone who builds websites for a living.
There’s two problems here though:
- That nerd friend might know jack shit about websites.
- If someone earns their living building websites… can you really trust their answer? Of course they’ll say yes.
So what I’m going to do is give you a few questions that you can ask yourself to see whether it’s worth even talking to someone about your website. If none of these questions are a problem, a new website isn’t critical (unless it looks ugly). But if you say NO to any of these questions, you should speak to a professional pretty quickly.
So let’s get into it:
Question 1. Does my site load really fast?
A slow website is badddddddddd.
Imagine you come across a website and click the link.
And wait some more.
Aaaand a bit more.
Eventually, you’ll say “screw this” and go back and click one of the thousand other options.
You probably wouldn’t wait around for a slow loading website, so you can’t really expect other people to wait for yours to load either. Google and Facebook have realised this, so now they penalise sites that are too slow by bombing their rankings and visibility.
So double check your site speed. If not for your visitors’ sake, do it for Google and Facebook.
Pro tip: You can’t trust your eyes, so use a third party tool to verify. I personally use both Google’s Page Speed Insights and a tool called GTMetrix.
Question 2. Does my site look good on phones?
You’ll hear a lot of people talking about “mobile responsive” websites.
What that means is that the site moves elements around to fit to your “smaller than a computer” phone screen.
And that’s awesome, but let me tell you, it’s almost impossible to get a website that isn’t mobile responsive these days. Pretty much every framework or theme being used is responsive, so unless someone is designing and coding a site completely from scratch (ouch), being mobile responsive isn’t a big deal.
What is a big deal is when that site with the moved elements actually looks good. More often than not, those automatically shifted elements don’t size themselves properly. Your words end up scrolling over lines, or the screen cuts off before a word does. Or there ends up being some weird interaction with your images and it just looks…. bad?
These days, mobile responsive isn’t enough, what you really want is your website to be mobile friendly.
So the next chance you get, check out your site on your phone. If it doesn’t look perfect, speak to someone immediately.
Pro tip: You can use external tools to see how your website displays on different devices. I personally use XRespond for this exact purpose.
Question 3. Can people tell what I do?
I have seen some amazing websites over the years. I’m talking design masterpieces that could be put into an art gallery and people would line up to take pictures.
But here’s the thing….
They really SUCKED in representing the business.
I mean, think about it. You land on a site for a business you aren’t familiar with. The first thing you’d usually ask yourself is “what do these people do and is it relevant to me?”
Those super creative and arty websites ultimately fail, mostly because when someone lands on the site and can’t figure out what the company does, they head straight back out.
Think about someone who has no idea what you do getting to your site. Without touching their keyboard or mouse, would they be able to tell what you do?
Pro tip: I don’t really have anything pro to give you here, it’s literally down to common sense.
Question 4. Can people tell what I want them to do next?
A few months ago I was looking for a new car.
I walked into a few different car yards, just browsing, until I found one that had a car I liked.
So I stood around this car yard waiting for someone to talk to me and… nothing happened. No one came up to me, no one told me what to do next, so eventually I got annoyed with waiting and left. I had no way of buying the car..
It’s the same with websites.
You have someone reading through your website, super interested, and then…. what happens?
And it comes down to you telling them what to do (we call it a “call to action”).
Whether it’s calling you, requesting a quote, downloading something, or even buying something, that the action you want them to take is clear otherwise it won’t happen.
Pro tip: I use my core call to action at least twice in a website. Once throughout the content, and then again at the end (because if someone gets to the end, there’s a good chance they’re interested).
Question 5: Does this fit my brand?
You might have all these things so far, but it could be completely wrong for your brand.
It’s important to understand your brand archetype, which is ultimately the personality of your company. It’s how you present yourself.
Your site might look fine, but if the brand is intended to match a younger crowd and your design is really old school and boring, then your messaging is going to get lost along the way.
It won’t fit.
They’ll feel a mismatch, and they’ll bail.
Pro tip: Put yourself in your ideal customers shoes. Would THEY like it? Does it appeal to them? You are NOT your own customer. Forget about your own tastes and what you like, focus 100% on the person that’s going to pay you.
I know I’m making the average Internet user seem like they have the attention span of a Goldfish, but guess what…. they do. You just can’t afford to blow your shot by messing things up.
So if you’ve been wondering whether you need a new site, ask yourself those five questions.
If you answer YES to each one, you don’t need to change anything (unless your site looks gross) so don’t feel pressured to speak to someone unless you want to.
If you answered NO to any question though, speak to someone about a new website design soon since each of those points can be a devastator if left unfixed.