To a certain extent, writing a post like this is like a roofer suggesting it’s time for a new roof. Here at Salted Stone, we make websites — a lot of them — so writing a blog post about how you might want to get a new website is a little bit on the nose.
But just because a roofer makes their living selling roofs doesn’t mean that you don’t need a new one. To that end, this post mostly aims at highlighting a few things worth considering if you’re wondering whether your website has some room for improvement.
Is your website working for your business?
If you’re reading this blog post, your website probably plays some role in your overall marketing strategy, even if it’s just the place where people fill out a form to start a conversation with you. It’s probably worth spending a little bit of time being honest with yourself about whether or not your current website is helping your business do the things it wants to do.
Theoretically, your website should be accelerating your funnel, answering people’s questions, engaging your audience, and helping you grow. If all it’s doing is hosting your forms and showing up when people Google your company name, I can confidently say that it could be doing more.
Another thing worth considering is how much time and effort (and money) it takes you to maintain your current website. This might be both good and bad news to hear, but the tools that businesses use to manage their websites have gotten a lot better in the last few years. The new HubSpot CMS is a great example — it’s helped us create some pretty impressive websites, like the one we built for Rio.
The days of hiring a webmaster make changes are winding down quickly. Websites are increasingly owned by marketers, and modern CMS platforms are built with that in mind. One of the major reasons why we’re able to sell websites without ongoing service contracts at Salted Stone is because when we’re done building a site, the client doesn’t need us to help manage it — the CMS platform gives them the ability to do it themselves.
Is your website technically sound?
Go to web.dev (thanks, Google!) and test your site. How’d you do? Any scores in the red? Believe me when I say that tools like this are not just pet projects of rogue Google engineers — they’re very transparent indicators of what matters to Google when it comes to ranking your website.
Don’t get mad at Google (not about this, at least) — they mean well. When you search for something on your phone and click on the top search result, you don’t want to have to wait several seconds for the page to load, have trouble navigating because the site isn’t mobile-friendly, or accidentally click on an ad because the site loaded unevenly. That’s why Google constantly updates its framework for what makes a website good.
2021 was a big year for changes to the Google algorithm. First, Google began prioritizing mobile-first indexing, which means that websites with poor mobile experiences (i.e. websites that don’t work well on phones) are penalized. Google also increased the importance of their core web vitals — three site performance data points that impact user experience.
On the one hand, it’s a bummer that a lot of businesses have had to make big changes to their websites, often rebuilding them from scratch, to improve their performance in these areas. But on the other hand, following Google’s recommendations will generally result in a website that is more usable for your audience, which is a good thing.
Do you actually like your current website?
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to like your company’s website. This is obviously something that exists on a spectrum — there’s a lot of distance between being madly in love with your website and hating it more than anything. Thinking about where you are on that spectrum (and where you’re heading) is a good exercise.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about whether or not you like your website:
- Are you proud to show the website to prospective and current clients?
- Do you like the way it looks?
- Is it intuitive to navigate and use?
- Is it easy to make periodic updates?
Generally speaking, websites depreciate year over year. Sometimes that’s because of changing context (i.e. trending technologies and user preferences), and sometimes it’s because your business changes and grows in ways you didn’t plan for when you first built the website. Either way, it’s worth considering how you feel about your website now — and how many more years of liking it less and less you have an appetite for.
Is not liking your website reason enough to replace or renovate it? That’s a question we can’t definitively answer, but it is worth thinking about.
Just spend one hour thinking about this
Digging deeper into whether or not it’s time for a new website can take some time, especially if you’re trying to generate quantitative data about things like ROI to support your decision.
Deciding whether you need a new website might be a big ask, but here’s a small one: get your team together, and spend just one hour reflecting on the three questions I’ve asked in this post.
Here’s a quick template you can download and use for this process:
If you know you’re unhappy with your website, but don’t quite know how to fix it, you don’t have to go it alone. There are lots of vendors out there that can audit your site for you and make recommendations — and we’re one of them.
Want to have a conversation about your website? We’re ready to talk it through with you. Get in touch.