“Should I get a new website?” “I’m considering having someone redesign my site. What do you think?” Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me this, and each time I had a simple answer: maybe. Was I being non-committal or evasive? Nope. It’s just that there are so many variables that it’s not an easy question to answer.
Your website is a crucial part of your business. It’s the first way many folks find you, and it sets the tone for what may become a long relationship. it’s where they first see your logo, and your location, and whether you can provide them with the type of service they need.
It may also be the way clients contact you: many folks will call or email you from your website, or they may schedule a visit using your button that says “current client login.” And in a pinch, they’ll go to your site when they have an emergency because they know you’re an expert who can provide needed help.
Your website is, in short, the main way your clients interact with you. And a disruption of that may cause you to lose new business or distance your current clients. I therefore suggest you consider the following points when contemplating a website redesign:
Do you have a good amount of traffic now?
Do you have new clients contacting you? What about your current clients? Do they use your site to access your scheduling software? If so, I wouldn’t worry about a new site design. If your site already services your current clients and brings in new ones, it’s fine and you may want to leave it alone (maybe just update it a bit). Think carefully, because this is the most important question you’ll need to consider before moving to a new design. (If you’re not sure about your site’s traffic, use Google Analytics to see what’s going on)
Is your site mobile-friendly?
Can it be easily viewed on mobile phones and tablets? (if you’re not sure, use this tool to find out) Most sites are mobile-friendly these days because more than half of all searches are done on phones and tablets. They also have it because Google loves mobile-ready sites and will raise you in search results if you have one. If your site is mobile-friendly, that’s great. If not, you should either speak to your host / designer about getting it upgraded, or consider a new site design.
Is there anything you can do to your current site, to get better traffic?
Are there aspects of your site design that can be changed or upgraded to attract business? And will that be more cost-effective than getting a new site? If so, then start doing your homework or ask a specialist; if not, then consider getting that new design.
Can you afford a site redesign?
There are two parts of this to think about: 1. can you afford to hire someone to construct the site for you, and 2. do you have the time to do it yourself (or give content to your designer)? Both time and money are things that a small business owner may not have in abundance. I’ve spoken to pet sitters who love to tinker and have created or edited their sites and gotten beautiful results. But I’ve also spoken to pet sitters who just want to get the site done; they don’t have the time to learn about their site and they’re just not interested. They just want a good site that will help them keep their business going. In either case, you’ll need a good outlay of cash to make this project happen. I won’t suggest any costs because they vary so widely, but I will say that having a designer do it for you, while usually resulting in a great site, will be an investment, no matter who you use. If you can’t afford the time or the money, you should stick with your current site and save for a nice new redesign; if you have the money and/or can spare the time, go with the new site now.
Do you like your current site?
Getting a new website design is not only a major business decision, but it’s also a personal one. Quite frankly, you may like your current design, or you may not like it. Did you design your site many years ago and it now appears outdated? Did your old business partner design it? Or did your site come with the business you bought, and while it’s ok, it’s just not you? These intangibles should also figure into your decision.
Business websites are not just flat containers of information; they’re representations of you and your business. They’re very important, and should be changed only after consideration of the above questions. If you do choose to redesign your site, good luck! Have fun, and remember… nothing is permanent. Sites can be changed and updated, so don’t lose sleep over it; sit back, enjoy the process, and hopefully you’ll love the result!