|The Internet circa 2000|
The internet, like everything else, is constantly evolving to accommodate the needs of people and business. Web design is no exception and is perhaps the one aspect of the internet that has changed the most since the turn of the millennium. Whereas in years past website design focused almost solely on the aesthetics of a website it's now all about:
- Calls to action
- Proper programming
- Search engine optimization
- User interfaces
- Unique designs
- Social experiences
So Many Reasons...
|"You need a new website"|
I have been working in the online marketing and web design industry for 18 years as of this writing and can't tell you just how many clients I've worked with that are open to just about anything save for a new website. They remain hesitant or completely closed off to the idea for a number of reasons.
- For some their old/current website is the one that was with them when their business really took off. This specific group of business owners have a sort of sentimental attachment to their websites which, while understandable, is harmful. It can be hard to let the past go but an old website can retard further progress, give the perception that a company is obsolete, and even be penalized by Google which in turn hurts it's rankings and eventually turnover. Old websites are either extremely difficult to market online or downright impossible. As mentioned previously it's no longer just about what a website looks like; the back end of sites require proper programming/coding if business owners want them to be found in search engines and much needs to go into making the site user friendly. Business owners paying for an online marketing campaign while operating with a website that's more than 3-5 years old are wasting their money. Aargumentum ad antiquitatem isn't an argument against a new website, it's an cop out used to cling to the past.
- For some business owners it'a matter of cost. I have had hours long conversations that span multiple phone calls with business owners and managers that obstinately insist that having a new site designed is just too expensive. These people almost universally want new websites but they aren't willing to pay more than $500 for it. They might have been able to get a decent customized site for that price up until roughly 2009 but modern and effective websites start at about $1500 for small businesses. Properly built and marketed, even the most expensive websites begin paying for themselves immediately. New designs attract attention to themselves, improve user experience, excite customers, and the search engines love them. Business owners concerned with cost should ask themselves, "What costs more? A new website or an old one?"
- In addition to the two aforementioned types of business owners there also exists a group of people who are just wholly apathetic towards a new website. These people tend to think about their websites very little despite them being instrumental to their operation and success. "Out of site out of mind" is always the most challenging thing to move past when I talk to business people badly in need of a new site. Convincing someone who doesn't care that they should or need to care can be an exhausting exercise for all involved.
Not So Fast
If a business has a functional website that's still working wonders, a major overhaul may not be necessary. Business owners should try and think of their websites as they do their cars. A little preventative maintenance on websites over the course of their lifetimes can go a long way in preventing them from becoming obsolete before their time. Just as new belts, hoses, and changing the oil can extend the life of a car; new graphics, pages, content, programming, and social media applications, can breathe life into an aging website. Business owners must be mindful of the costs of maintenance however as they don't want them to exceed the cost of a brand new website.
Much like the universe we occupy, business and the internet are expanding and growing at ever increasing speeds. The accelerated rate at which technologies are developed, mature, and employed in business require business owners to stay on their toes. Websites that looked sharp and were functional just 3 years previous may not be up to snuff today. This is especially true of those websites that weren't built to accommodate mobile technologies. Those whom make decisions for businesses should communicate with their web and marketing teams about formulating plans for both maintenance and a completely new website at regular intervals. It's not only important to stay and look fresh online but to be proactive rather than reactive.
~Scott Jarvis (President, Next Evolution Online)