Top 7 signs you need a business website makeover

Launching a new business website or undertaking a business website makeover can seem like an intimidating prospect for the technically challenged, especially those who have been holding on to the same web design since the Clinton administration. This is a friendly wake-up call for all the small business owners, entrepreneurs and even nonprofits out there who suspect they might need a new website.

Here are the top 7 signs you need a business website makeover:

1. Outdated design

Does your website looks like an Angelfire- or GeoCities-hosted site from 1998? If so, it might be time to upgrade. How do you know if this applies to you? First hint: your website features flashing neon text or little sparkly hearts that trail the visitor’s mouse. Perhaps you’ve even chosen a Comic Sans font and used public domain Myspace wallpaper for your background. Not okay. Today’s internet user is savvy and accustomed to a certain level of web design quality. If your design is dated, you could be losing potential customers faster than you can say “dial-up modem.”

2. Difficult to navigate

When your website structure is difficult to navigate or just plain messy looking, it can be a real turn-off to visitors. They may discover your business or nonprofit online but can’t find the information they need—or otherwise are turned off by the lack of user-friendly tabs for easily accessible information. Streamlined, modern web design goes a long way toward turning curious website visitors into customers.

3. Unfortunate use of images or graphics

If the words “clip” and “art” can be used to describe the graphics on your website, you should really rethink your life choices. Then, it’s time to either hire a professional to provide original photographs or create quality graphics, or at least to utilize stock photos to bring your web design into the 21st century.

4. Questionable copy

Sure, your fourth grader writes a mean book report, but maybe don’t put him in charge of your company’s website copy. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. Unless you’re in the communications industry yourself, leave the creation of your website content to the professionals. Typos, grammatical errors, poor sentence structure and outdated information on your website will undermine your messaging and the quality of your product or service. Beyond that, if you don’t include the right type of content, your website might as well not exist (more on that later).

5. Missing contact info

It may sound like a no-brainer to include your contact information on your business website, but many companies leave out the most essential aspects: a direct email address and social media networking buttons. The fact of the matter is, potential customers today are more likely to contact you online first rather than pick up the phone. If you don’t provide an email address or online contact form, chances are you’re significantly reducing your successes. Integrating social media on your website by including direct links to your company profiles takes this one step further by encouraging the public to interact with your business directly on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

6. Incompatible with mobile devices

If your business website is not mobile-device friendly, you have a problem. Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are gaining ground on traditional desktops as the primary mode of searching the internet. This Harvard Business Review blog cites a 2012 Pew Internet study that found 55 percent of Americans surveyed had accessed the internet on a mobile device that year, with 31 percent primarily using mobile devices. If almost a third of your business website visitors are using a mobile device, it’s vital to ensure your site is optimized accordingly!

7. Poor search engine optimization

Is it harder to find your website than Jimmy Hoffa? If your business website isn’t showing up in online searches, you have an obvious search engine optimization issue. Check out our previous blog post What is SEO? for simple tips on how to optimize your website for search engines. Essentially, you want original content that’s updated on a regular basis, outside links to your site from other major websites, pages that load quickly, and website structure that’s friendly to search engines, including image sizing, code structure and other solutions.

Do you have any other bad web design pet peeves? Feel free to share yours in the comment section!