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The Top 5 Ways to Know if You Need a New Website

You Might Need a New Website If...

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Here's an interesting blog post I found today:

5 Signs You Need A Website Redesign Now (www.elance.com)

Question 1: In terms of speed, how fast is your website? You’ve worked hard to get your visitors to show up at your website’s door – don’t put them to sleep with long load times. Numerous studies have been conducted and all of them have found the same result: Longer load times = less visitors = less business.

A study conducted by Akamai in 2006 found that if your website takes longer than four seconds to fully load, 33%, or one-third, of all visitors will abandon your site. Additionally, Amazon found that a 100ms increase in site load time would result in a 1% decrease in sales, while Google found that an increase of 500ms on load time would directly result in a drop in traffic and revenue by 20%.

I like that one. Their list of 5 things is good but I thought I'd list an alternative list of the top 5 things:

  1. Does your website take too long to load? Some websites are more for entertainment purposes and can take a little longer to load but the majority of websites do not fall into this category. A tendency people have is to try to put everything on the home page and say too much. This hurts you in a few ways. First, the load time. Second, if you put it all out there on the home page, there's no reason to click into the site. The home page of a website should invite people in. That's its main job.
  2. Does your website look good in all web browsers? This is the #1 issue that web developers have to deal with. We hate how different browsers have their own way of rendering websites (*cough... Internet Explorer*). So every time there's a new browser "update," your website could be broken in a certain web browser. Sometimes fixing it is easy and sometimes it's a lot of work. If a number of these updates have happened since your website launched, then your site may not be working correctly. And it's not just design, it also has to do with things like forms. Stale websites break over time for this reason. It's not "set it and forget it."
  3. Is there a Flash intro? In college, I studied communications. We learned that anything that gets in the way of a message is called "noise." A Flash intro, in a lot of cases, can be considered noise. People are on the web looking for something and they want to find it. They don't want to see you brag about yourself. What they're doing and how they search is about them, not you. Present your website in that manner and you've hit a home run.
  4. The website is not easy to update. Oh, this is a big one. If you cannot login to your website and make changes or easily add pages, you're missing the boat. The Web is relevant and up to date. Just look at sites like Twitter and Facebook. People want the latest information and they want it now. If your website doesn't let you do that, then your business communications are crippled.
  5. You do not have a blog. Along with the last point, you need a way to casually post news, thoughts and information to your website. Google loves blogs. Blogs let you post content easily. The goal of your website is to make you be the authority on what you do or provide. That's done with content. Blogs make it easy to add content.

There you go. I've probably got another 50 reasons I could add, but those came to mind today. The Web is not a fad and everyone knows that - but is everybody doing something about it? Is your competition? Are you missing a big opportunity that won't always be there?

-Tony

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