Do I Need to Remodel My Website to Keep it Looking Trendy?

Do I Need to Remodel My Website to Keep it Looking Trendy?

If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, hobbyist, or non-profit organization, you might be wondering if it’s time to remodel your website. After all, a website’s design can go stale rather quickly and look ‘dated.’ The last thing you want is for prospects to visit your website and decide not to do business with you because your site looks like it’s stuck in the 1990s.

Should you remodel your site using the latest trends in website development? Maybe. Maybe not. Your ultimate goal should be to increase sales and conversions. If remodeling your website to embody the latest website trends will contribute to increased sales and conversions, then of course you should pursue a full trendy remodel. However, don’t just remodel because you want a cool, modern site. If major changes to your website won’t give you an advantage over your competition, they’re not worth making.

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Do trendy websites provide an advantage?

Do trendy websites provide an advantage?
Generally speaking, trendy websites don’t provide an automatic advantage over your competition. A trendy website looks cool, but good looks alone won’t increase your bottom line. Adding trendy elements to your website won’t automatically generate things like traffic, conversions, returning visitors, and revenue. Those things are accomplished by publishing quality content, running a strong PPC advertising campaign, and having a strong SEO strategy to increase your ranking in the search engines.

You could create the trendiest website on the planet with elements like light boxes, AJAX comments, oversized type, plenty of whitespace, and high contrast color schemes and still not get much traffic or sales. However, you can create a trendy website that generates massive sales and conversions.

The main point is that trendy website elements don’t create success, but trendy elements can support a successful website.

What are trendy website elements?

Trendy elements change over time, but if you want to see current website trends just look at all of the current templates and themes available from sites like themeforest. Website template designers tend to incorporate trendy elements into their designs. For example, large type and vast white space are two of the top trends in 2020. Other trends include high contrast color schemes, grid layouts that organize content in rows and columns, and content that slides in from the side of the page as the user scrolls.

Not all website element trends are aesthetic

When you think of trendy website elements, you probably picture a certain modern template structure used by most businesses today. You know the type: big banners, parallax scrolling, hamburger menus, and scrolling down automatically takes you from one page to the next. However, not all website trends are aesthetic. Many trends are technical. In fact, the trends that get the biggest results are technical.

Technical website trends include:

Technical website trends

  • Using SQL databases to power dynamic content. An example of this is WordPress and other similar content management systems.
  • Building a custom content management system in PHP. Some people want their own proprietary CMS and it’s easy to find PHP frameworks.
  • Hiring a development team to create custom WordPress plugins. WordPress is great, but functionality is limited. Developing a custom plugin is the simplest way to add functionality. There are thousands of existing plugins on the market, but they don’t fully meet everyone’s needs.
  • Outsourcing web marketing to onshore agencies. Now that people know the value of outsourcing digital marketing, they’re handing everything over to onshore teams.
  • Content marketing. This is perhaps the trendiest technical trend and for good reason—it works. Content marketing increases a website’s ranking in the search engines, helps to build an audience, and increases brand awareness.

While remodeling your website can greatly increase your overall success, don’t initiate a remodel just to make your site look trendy. If your site looks outdated, by all means, remodel your design without a second thought. However, don’t waste your web budget just on looks. If you’re going to remodel the aesthetics of your website, make sure you include some technical upgrades, too.

If you’re having difficulty determining whether you should remodel or not, here are 15 reasons to go for it.

1. You literally haven’t updated your site’s design since the 1990s

updated your site’s design since the 1990s

If your website looks like a 1990s Geocities archive from the Way Back Machine, it’s time to remodel your website from scratch. If this urgency applies to your site, you need a complete website design overhaul. Even if you’re famous, you can only get away with an outdated design for so long.

Not too long ago, Steve Pavlina’s website was still rocking a 1990s simple design and was thriving. His site is considered one of the most successful personal development websites of all time. However, even Steve knew when it was time to remodel his website’s design. His new theme is simple and clean, but has a touch of modern style.

2. You paid a friend to build your website DIY style

When you’re just launching your business, it makes sense to have a friend build your website if they know more HTML than you, but it’s not the best long-term software strategy. If you had a friend build your website, unless they are a professional developer, remodeling your website should be a serious consideration.

In the beginning, any website is better than nothing. At the very least you need an online calling card for times when you’re networking or when you meet someone and they want to find out more about your business without talking on the phone. However, those websites are never meant to be permanent. At some point, you need a professional design.

Maybe your DIY website isn’t all that bad. Maybe you get traffic and some sales. That’s a plus, but consider how much more effective your website would be if it were designed by professional developers.

3. Your website doesn’t allow you to place necessary elements above the fold

Critical elements like email capture forms, contact information, and videos should be located above the fold. In other words, your website visitors should be able to see these elements without scrolling.

If your current layout doesn’t support putting these important elements above the fold, it’s time to remodel your website. You may not need to create an entirely new site. You might be able to have a developer edit your existing layout to accommodate the elements where you need them.

If you can’t place elements in the header, sidebar, or in the body of your website above the fold, you need a dynamic content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, or Magento. With a CMS, layouts are designed so you can swap out elements in all the prominent positions.

4. Your website isn’t easy to update by yourself

Your website might be perfectly designed and the number one result on Google for all searches everywhere, but if you can’t swap out a photo without calling a developer, it’s time for a remodel.

You need a website that doesn’t require calling a developer to schedule a simple update. It’s not cost-effective and it takes too long.

Most developers charge a 1-hour minimum, which means you could pay anywhere from $75-$300 for a simple picture update. If your developer has a full schedule, you might have to wait a week or a month to get it done.

If you can edit your own website you can swap a photo the moment you become aware of the need. Like when someone emails you an updated photo for their bio or you take new product photos. Those edits should always be within your ability to make quickly.

Editing your website through FTP isn’t enough

Editing your website through FTP

As long as you’re not using a free, hosted website platform, you can edit your website through FTP. FTP allows you to swap out photos and other files without editing your site’s pages directly. However, if you’re not careful you could end up with a stretched image or you might accidentally delete important files.

If you can’t update your website quickly and easily, contact dev.co to find out how we can help. We can build you a custom easy-to-use content management system with a visual editor in the admin panel or we can move your website over to WordPress and create a custom theme. Either way, we’ll make it easy for you to update your site and make sure you know exactly how to make your edits.

5. You can’t update your website without knowing HTML and CSS

Did your website developer train you to update your website by cobbling together a piece of code you have to copy and paste and carefully change? If you know HTML, that’s not a big deal. However, if you’re not familiar with HTML you risk messing up your site each time you make an edit.

You shouldn’t have to know HTML and CSS just to make simple updates to your website. Even professional developers use visual editors these days since they can get the job done faster and more efficiently.

If you have to mess around with any kind of markup language to edit your website, it’s time for a remodel to make the editing process easy. After all, time is money, and if you can make your own edits you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to a developer for five minutes of work.

6. You included elements on your pages to fill space in a template

Professional website developers create a layout to accommodate a client’s content. Elements are positioned strategically to capture and hold attention, and elicit a specific action from the user.

Templates work in the opposite manner. A template is a pre-made layout and you need to fill in the blanks with your own content. Sometimes this works out, but sometimes there are awkwardly positioned elements that you can’t remove. You can’t leave a stock photo in place so you have to put something there even if it looks out of place.

Website templates display stock photos and other elements to show you what’s possible. However, you may not actually need photos in all the designated spots. Likewise, sidebar elements are displayed in templates as an example of what you can do with a theme, but you probably don’t need to use all of the elements in your sidebar.

With a well-designed WordPress theme, it’s easy to hide or disable elements you don’t need and still have your theme look great. However, some developers hard-code elements and you can’t move them around as a widget. It’s impossible to know how a theme is built until you buy the theme and start messing around in the admin panel.

When you’ve invested money in a theme you can’t return, it’s tempting to stick with it and try to force your content to fit the layout of elements you can’t change. However, filling in photos and other page elements just because it’s included in the template can work against you.

There’s nothing wrong with using templates. However, to get the best results from your website you need a custom template that intentionally places elements only where those elements support your particular website’s objectives.

7. You’re getting plenty of traffic, but no sales, email signups, or other conversions

Generating loads of traffic is easy, but if your visitors aren’t buying, clicking, or signing up for your email newsletter, your traffic numbers don’t matter.

Why would a website get traffic, but no sales? Most websites that generate traffic and no sales tend to target the wrong audience in their PPC ad campaigns. Sometimes the target market is correct, but the landing page isn’t designed to convert.

If you’re getting plenty of traffic, but your sales, signups, and conversions are down, your landing pages probably need an overhaul. However, you don’t necessarily have to remodel your entire website.

If you resonate with this dilemma, contact us and we’ll create high converting landing pages for your website so you can turn your traffic into conversions.

8. You don’t have a blog and can’t add one without knowing HTML

If you can’t host a blog that seamlessly integrates with your website, you’ll have to add one by installing separate software. That’s a sign it’s time to remodel your website.

Ideally, your website and blog should be fully integrated so you don’t end up managing your website through one admin interface and your blog through another. WordPress is just one fully-integrated solution that works as a website and a blog at the same time.

If you didn’t start out with a blog and now you need one, contact dev.co—we can set you up with a blog that seamlessly integrates into your website. Or, we can develop a custom theme in WordPress for an all-in-one solution.

9. Your target audience has changed since you launched

Did you build your website to reach a specific audience, but now your market has changed? It could be time to remodel your website. For example, if your original demographic was 40 and under, but you found that your product was preferred by people aged 60+, you’re due for some changes especially if you used nostalgia to reach your audience. The 60+ crowd will have a connection to an entirely different era, and while they might recognize the symbolism, they won’t resonate personally.

There are other reasons a different market warrants a remodel. Through research and testing you may have discovered your market is a completely different group than what you first thought. Maybe you first advertised your products to men, but it’s women who like your product more. Perhaps your product is used by one demographic, but purchased by another. Whatever the case, if your market has changed, a website remodel is in order.

10. You’ve changed your branding

You’ve changed your branding

Most people and businesses change their branding and logo over time as they get feedback from testing out various designs. The sooner you settle on a brand image, the better. People tend to quickly develop visual associations with a brand. If your visuals are outdated, you don’t want people to store the wrong brand associations in their memory.

If you launched your website with a design, layout, or color scheme that is no longer part of your brand, you definitely need to remodel your website using your current brand.

Remodeling your website to match your branding changes will also ensure your brand is consistent. According to branding research, presenting a consistent brand wherever you have an internet presence can increase your revenue by 23%. Not surprisingly, color can improve brand recognition by up to 80% and one-third of the world’s top 100 brands use blue somewhere in their logos.

You’ve probably already changed your branding on your business cards and social media accounts. Don’t leave your website hanging!

11. Your bounce rate is high

A high bounce rate is an indication that something about your website isn’t working as intended. The first thing you need to do is rule out untargeted traffic. Naturally, if your traffic isn’t targeted, people will look at your website, realize they’re in the wrong place, and then bounce. However, if your traffic is targeted and visitors are bouncing, there’s something making them bounce.

Visitors bounce for a variety of reasons:

  • Poor user experience. Frustrated users bounce quickly. A slow site, broken links, 404 errors, and poor navigation all lead to high bounce rates. People just don’t have the patience to wait more than a few seconds for websites to load. Increasing speed is always a good reason to remodel your website.
  • Unmet expectations. If you’re running PPC ads, for example, that promise something your website doesn’t deliver you can expect visitors to bounce. Unmet expectations make visitors upset and the moment they feel like they’ve been duped, they’ll bounce.
  • Your popup is annoying. There’s a right and a wrong way to use popups. Done incorrectly, popups can annoy visitors so much they’ll bounce even before they know where they are.
    If you’re using a popup to collect email addresses or provide a special offer, it might be annoying. Perhaps your popup comes up on every page on every visit, even after a visitor has clicked that “X” in the corner. That’s annoying.
    Or, maybe you’ve got multiple popups including a popup that appears when a visitor arrives, a popup that appears when a visitor moves the mouse off the browser window, and another popup that appears somewhere else on the page. If that’s how your site is set up, your popups are definitely annoying your visitors.
  • Your navigation isn’t intuitive. Visitors should be able to find what they need fast. If your navigation menu isn’t intuitive, and they can’t find what they want within a minute or less, they’ll bounce.
  • Your typography or colors hurt people’s eyes. If your fonts are hard to read, too small, or your line and letter spacing is too cramped, people will bounce. Colors matter, too. If you’re using a color scheme that doesn’t blend well or uses bright, bold colors, it can hurt people’s eyes.

If your visitors are bouncing, connect with a professional developer and ask how you can improve your website to retain your visitors. They might recommend a complete website remodel, or they might be able to help you fix individual elements.

12. Your current website isn’t optimized for mobile devices

This one is a no-brainer. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you definitely need to remodel your website. According to statistics, 70% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices and 79% of mobile users make purchases from a mobile device. This includes smartphones and tablets. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, your visitors will bounce and you’ll lose sales.

Remodeling your website is the best way to make your site mobile-friendly and ensure your mobile users aren’t left out.

13. Your UX/UI isn’t ideal

Having poor UX/UI is the best reason to remodel your website. Your website’s user experience, specifically your navigation, can make or break your entire site. Great navigation gives users a feeling of ease while poor navigation causes frustration.

What makes navigation poor? It’s not always what you think. Put simply, navigation is poor when it’s not intuitive, clear, or programmed to work smoothly.

For example, using clear, concise labels that everyone can understand will make navigating your website a pleasant experience. When labeling your links, avoid using industry jargon, acronyms, or anything your visitors may not understand. Even if your target audience is industry-specific, avoiding jargon makes your site look more professional.

Another aspect of navigation to consider is the actual construction. Does your fly-out menu disappear if the cursor moves over a 2-pixel gap, forcing visitors to re-navigate a multiple-level menu? While fancy, animated drop-down menus are popular, they aren’t always the best solution.

If any part of your navigation menu is difficult, you’ll benefit from remodeling your website.

14. Your site has too many broken links and broken images

If your site has hundreds or thousands of webpages and is littered with broken links and broken images, it’s easier to remodel your website than try to fix each page. While you can get software to replace links across multiple pages in batches, you’ll probably need to change the context of your surrounding copy. That’s not something you can do at once.

When your website is large, remodeling your website to patch up broken links and images is faster than trying to fix each page individually. Remodeling will also ensure your content stays unique as opposed to batch editing all pages to use the same copy.

15. Your website is hosted on a free platform

hosted on a free platform
Hosting your website on a free platform makes sense when you’re just trying to get something published, but you really need a professional website. The difference between using a free hosted platform and using your own domain name is huge.

Free platforms offer a limited selection of templates that look like simple, free templates. By hosting your website on your own domain, you can hire a developer to create a custom design that fits your business and doesn’t resemble a template.

Whether you’re an individual or a business, it’s time to upgrade from that free platform to a professionally designed website.

5 Tips for a smooth remodeling process with your developer

Tips for a smooth remodeling process

When your website is being remodeled, it’s important to help your development team as much as possible. There are plenty of things you’ll leave completely to the experts, but you’ll play a large role in the process. Here are some tips to make the process smooth.

1. Deliver content and information promptly

Developers need your content to fully develop your website remodeling project to your specifications and satisfaction. Some content areas can be left blank until the end, but sometimes certain pieces of content will be required to move to the next phase of development.

For example, in the early stages of development, your team will be creating a layout to accommodate your content. If you’ve got 300 photos you need to place in a gallery, and you want that gallery viewable from your home page, the layout needs to be designed specifically to accommodate the placement of the gallery.

Be thorough with your lists

When your development team asks for a list of elements you want your site to have, make sure you include everything. Don’t just assume that since you’re using WordPress (or any other CMS of choice), you can download an image gallery plugin later. You can do that, but it won’t look professional. When your development team knows you need a gallery, they’ll make sure you get a gallery that seamlessly blends in with your entire layout.

Deliver specific content fast

When your development team asks for specific content, deliver that content as fast as possible. If you don’t have it or need more time, let them know immediately so the whole team has time to reorganize their priorities. If a developer asks for specific content, it means they’re working on that aspect of your site and likely need your content to move forward.

If you can’t meet a deliverable deadline don’t leave your developers hanging until the last minute. Developers have other clients to work with and will appreciate advanced notice if you can’t meet a deliverable deadline.

2. Return calls and emails promptly

Weekends and non-working days aside, try to return emails and calls as quickly as possible within the same day. The sooner your developers get the information they need, the faster they can move ahead with your website remodel.

Check messages when you get them

If you notice you have a missed call from your developer, listen to their voicemail message as soon as possible. If your developer needs critical information like login credentials, they won’t be able to move forward with the project until they receive your response.

Nothing stalls a development project like incorrect login credentials. Developers usually test all login credentials prior to beginning a project, but they might not test the accounts they don’t need to use right away.

For a speedy website remodel, always listen to messages from your developer to make sure you reply to urgent requests.

3. Ask questions to make sure your developers understand your vision

Website developers aren’t mind readers so make sure to ask plenty of questions to make sure your developer is going to move in the right direction with your remodel. For instance, ask your developer how they plan to organize your main navigation menu.

You want as few links in your main menu as possible. Some of your pages won’t need to be listed in the main menu and can be linked in the footer or on your sitemap page. Limiting the number of links in the main menu makes it easier for visitors to make a quick selection, which can increase your conversions.

Don’t presume your developer is a marketing expert in your industry and therefore knows which links are more important to your market. Always ask questions to make sure they’re on par with your vision.

4. Provide more information than you think is necessary

You can’t give your website development team too much information. Often times, web clients don’t give enough information and it slows down the process by creating the need to have more back-and-forth to clarify points.

Overshare your ideas and thoughts with your development team. Tell them everything about your project. Explain why you created the site in the first place, how you got started in your industry, what you think of your competitors, and why you want a remodel.

The more you share about your history, the more your developers will understand aspects of your vision that you forget to explain. For instance, when your developer knows what you don’t like about your competitor’s website, they’ll avoid building something similar. Likewise, if you use the wrong terminology to request an element you saw on your competitor’s website, your developer will know exactly what you really mean.

Developers need to know your goals

Tell your website developers what your goals are as a business so they can incorporate those goals into your website. For instance, aside from getting sales, say you want to grow your subscriber count on YouTube. Your development team will present your YouTube channel in a way that encourages your visitors to subscribe.

5. Give specific feedback and don’t hold back

Whether you’re developing a website from scratch or remodeling an existing layout, it’s going to take multiple rounds of feedback to complete the project. The quality and specificity of your feedback will directly impact what you get from your developers.

Be specific when giving feedback and don’t hold back. If you don’t like something, no matter how small, don’t wait to tell your development team.

Developers might continue to create additional design elements in a style you don’t like, which can be costly to change later. For example, if you don’t like a certain style of graphic, tell your development team immediately in the first round of edits. Otherwise, you could end up with a 20-page website filled with graphics designed in that style. No matter how much you don’t like it, you’ll still have to pay for the developers’ time.

Partner with the dev.co team for a professional website remodel

Are you ready to remodel your website? When you partner with us, you’ll have access to world-class, talented, professional developers and designers who can bring your vision to life. Whether you’re bored with your website’s redesign or you need a technical overhaul, we’ll remodel your website to stand out above your competition.

We build revenue generating assets

Your website isn’t just a calling card, it’s a revenue generating asset. Our developers will build your new site to support generating leads and sales long-term.

Whether you just need a website remodel or you want to start from scratch, contact dev.co to discuss your project. We look forward to working with you.

Ryan Nead