Website redesign (and maintenance) can be extremely costly, but in today's digital world, brands large and small can't afford to operate with a dated online presence. But how do you know when it's time for a website refresh or overhaul?

Here are some of the key signs to look out for, so you can make the smartest decision for your brand and your customers.

Does your site align with your brand and your story?

It's not uncommon for organizations to refine their focus, home in on a specific niche, or completely shift gears after years in business. Whether you've refocused on a specific audience or adapted your service or product offerings, your website should reflect these changes and correctly position you within the marketplace.

Even if your products or services and target audience have remained the same, it's important to continually check in on your site to make sure it's accurately depicting your organization's story --the vision, values and deeper purpose you serve. This goes beyond simple copy changes on your "about us" or home page. Micro messages deeply impact how your customers perceive you, so be sure you're looking at the entire site --header, footer, navigation headings, drop down boxes, error pages, and the list goes.

Beyond the messaging, put your site's imagery and overall design under the microscope. Does it still accurately portray what you have to offer and what you stand for? If not, you could be attracting the wrong customers, or worse, turning away the right ones.

Does your site support a frictionless customer experience?

This may not be as apparent to you or your team --you'll have to get in the trenches and actually talk to those using your site. You might talk to existing customers, prospects you're currently in conversations with, or perhaps create a focus group to go through the site and note any sticking points.

An unpleasant user experience is often the "silent killer" of most websites as most organization's don't know it's creating an unpleasant experience unless a customer voices their opinion. This is why you have to talk to those who are actually using it. Questions to ask might include:

  • Were you able to find what you needed on our website?
  • Was it intuitive to navigate?
  • Did you experience any confusion while browsing for more information?
  • How were the page loading times?
  • What was your overall feeling about the aesthetics?
  • Is there anything that was off-putting, or anything you felt was missing?
  • Were you able to complete the action you intended to?

This feedback will help you identify if there are any common sticking points that could use improvement. You might also compare this to your website analytics data to see if there are congruences.

Are actions being completed or do your site visitors bail at a certain point? Are they engaging with certain pages more so than others or taking the desired actions? All of this can give you further details about whether a revamp of your site is needed.

Does your site support your content?

For most organizations today, their website serves as their primary information hub. Thus, it's important it supports not only the volume, but the type of content you may be producing.

You may have great videos or a stellar podcast, but if it bogs down the speed of your site or fails to load, the result is a frustrating user experience. Your content should support your marketing, sales and customer experience efforts, but if the platform in which that content is delivered isn't technologically or functionally sound, it can do more damage than good.

Monitor site load times, bounce rates and of course user feedback. If any of these areas is failing, it might be time to revisit the technology behind your site.

Is your site technologically dated?

Technology is changing at breakneck speed and it has required us to think about the various ways in which our customers and prospective customers want to engage with us and where they want to do it. It's not enough to have a mobile site any longer. Now your site needs to work across various modern-day devices and produce an equally friendly and useful experience as the desktop version.

Additionally, security has become a heightened issue for organizations across nearly every industry. There's nothing that can crush a brand quicker than a data breach.

If your site is operating on a dated platform or technology, it might be time for an overhaul of the underlying technology. Regular audits will help ensure you stay compliant, keep your customer's information safe, and that you're meeting their needs digitally, regardless of their device of choice.

Just like any other arrow in your quiver, your website is a tool. If it's accurately reflecting your brand and up to date in terms of security and technology, that's half the battle. The other half to consider is whether it's fulfilling its job as a resource to customers (and prospects), and supporting your conversion goals.