A website still remains one of the best marketing tools, seen as a kind of business card for a company. Very often it is the point of first contact between a product and its customer. At the same time, along with the emergence of newer and newer information technologies, the ways of developing software, including website design, are evolving. In addition to all of this, user habits and general visual standards are also changing. Hence, in order for sites to be attractive to audiences and inspire trust, they should undergo regular modernization, that is, adaptation to current trends.
What does website modernization consist of?
Modernization/refreshing of a website is a term used to describe a series of procedures aimed at improving the main aspects of its functioning, both in the frontend layer (all elements visible to visitors) and the backend (technical background, responsible for data processing). They involve a broad series of adjustments under to current standards, so that the site is up-to-date and friendly to Internet users. This usually involves changing the graphics to more attractive ones, reorganizing the navigation as well as content modifications - providing valuable and more useful information.
The modernization process includes, among others: assessing the current state of the site, reviewing user needs, updating selected components, adding new functionality, testing changes and finally implementing the proposed changes. Before embarking on a refresh, it's always a good idea to set a specific goal (preferably measurable), which helps to select the optimal solutions for verifying the initial concept. It is also important to check the site's traffic statistics and track audience behavior, in order to identify areas for possible improvement. This is where the role of the UX Designer, who takes care of the appropriate User Experience, is especially important. Based on the usability analysis, it is possible to determine whether a comprehensive redesign is necessary or perhaps only a basic upgrade will suffice.
When to perform a website refresh?
It is difficult to indicate a specific time frame, as there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. One assumes that a full modernization should take place every 4-5 years, but everything depends on the dynamics of technological change. Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish several specific situations in which it is worth considering at least partial modifications.
Factors determining the need for modernization
- Lack of responsiveness. A common mistake is not taking into account the needs of users using mobile devices. A website should be responsive, meaning that it should adjust to displays of different sizes (e.g. smartphones, tablets). When designing websites, it is worth following the RWD (Responsive Web Design) approach, which allows you to create universal designs that automatically adjust the layout and content to different resolutions. It is worth bearing in mind that the lack of a mobile version also negatively affects organic positioning in search engines.
- Bounce rate. Users should find what they are looking for in the first few movements. If the statistics indicate that visitors stop at a certain stage and leave the site, it may indicate that something is wrong with its content or architecture.
- Lack of conversions. Failure to optimize the layout of site elements for conversions can lead to a user not performing the desired action because they don't know how to do it. This is especially important for online stores, but also for service companies looking to get as many leads as possible.
- Outdated graphic design. A website that visually resembles old versions of operating systems is bound to scare off viewers rather than encourage them to take further interaction. Sites should be modified from time to time according to current visual standards. It's a good idea to keep up to date with what users like, as well as remember to make updates, such as when the company's corporate identity is refreshed.
- Poor visibility in organic search results. A site's visibility in Google is made up of many factors that change frequently. Therefore, it is necessary to periodically optimize the site for the indexing algorithms. The quality of content, regularity of publication, but also alt tags or linking are important.
The essential benefit of regular upgrades is increased traffic, which in turn translates into more effective achievement of goals and thus a better company performance. This is especially important when the website is the primary tool used to communicate with customers. Changes should be a response to users' expectations, so before proceeding, it is wise to use publicly available tools to track traffic.
A refreshed site significantly affects not only the general feeling of the audience, but also their behavior. A customer who easily finds what he or she is looking for will be more likely to make a purchase, get in touch with the company or use its services. Properly tailored architecture makes it possible to subtly direct the steps of web site visitors and lead them exactly where you want them to go. Is it time for a refresh of your site?