If it’s been a few years since you last remodeled your website, it’s probably time to at least consider it. Just like food, websites have a limited shelf life. Stale sites are risky because they bore and erode the trust of site visitors, are expensive to maintain, and probably haven’t kept up with the growth of your business (so you might be missing out on an opportunity to tell the right story to potential customers).
The average life span of a web site is 2.66 years. Most experts agree that sites need to be replaced every 2-5 years, but you shouldn’t rely just on the date to make your decision. You don’t drink rotten milk just because it hasn’t hit the expiration date. There are a lot of checklists to help you determine if your site is overdue for a redesign. Here are some of the big reasons WE decided it was time for an overhaul.
To Communicate Our Brand and Values Better
We’re in business to Do Great for Each Other, for Our Customers, and for Our Community. We defined our culture more clearly in 2018 and that clarity wasn’t reflected on our website. Too many businesses use the word culture when they’re talking about fun perks but true company culture consists of much more. The overall culture of a company is a sum of its work environment, values, mission, ethics, expectations, and goals.
We wanted to better convey our personality and our core values so that existing customers and prospects would feel comfortable contacting us any time. Look at your website and ask yourself if it conveys the same feeling as customers get when they walk into your office or talk to one of your employees. If the answer isn’t a resounding yes, then it’s probably time to consider some design changes.
Make a Stronger First Impression (aka The Five Second Test)
It is well-documented that people form first impressions about websites quickly. Back in 2011, the widely-respected Nielsen Norman Group documented that users typically spend less than a minute on a web site and that “unless your writing is extraordinarily clear and focused, little of what you say on your website will get through to customers.” One study even found that users can make an initial assessment about a website in less than the blink of an eye… as little as 50 milliseconds (Hopkin, 2006).
With a name like gap intelligence, we have a long way to go to make sure people don’t think we’re somehow related to a giant retailer that sells khaki pants. Thankfully, UsabilityHub.com provides a powerful suite of remote user testing tools including the Five Second Test. We were able to get an unbiased measurement of how well our design communicated its intended message to people who had never seen it before.
The Five Second Test results came through loud and clear: we still had lots of room to improve. Anonymous testers generally considered our brand trustworthy, but they didn’t find our name memorable and many struggled to understand what we do. We liked our design, but seeing the data helped shape our new direction. Testing is inexpensive and easy to setup, so what are you waiting for?
It was time for a Content Management System (CMS)
We had a custom website that required custom code for everything…. even simple content changes and job postings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was an uphill battle. We want our super-talented dev team to spend their time focusing on building out our Products and Services instead of being interrupted by a steady flow of tweaks to our site. We decided WordPress was the best choice for us due to its flexibility, stability, extensible plugin architecture, and open source community. A semi-custom theme gave our designer more than enough creative control. Can you stay fresh by making updates quickly and easily? Regular tweaks help extend your site’s shelf life.
We love our new site and think it does a great job showcasing what sets us apart: the people! If you haven’t yet, we invite you to take a look around and watch all the videos. See if you can spot anyone you recognize. Most importantly, please let us know what you think. After all, we built it for you.