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return to posts September 26th, 2017

5 Signs You Need a New Website

“Should I redo my website?” is a question every business owner has probably asked. Your website is an important part of your business. Being your digital storefront, it’s how your customers come to know you through a bit of online window shopping; as such, it’s critical that your online presence not only be in sync with your brand, but with web standards and social media as well. We’ve put together a short list of considerations to help you answer whether or not it might be time for a new website.

1: Your site looksand isoutdated.

Remember how amazing your new website was back in 2010? Well it’s time to relive the joy of showing off a fresh design to your customers. A lot has changed over the last decade in the world of web design, but does your site reflect it? Consider how your brand may have updated since the launch of your site, which should remain consistent with your brand identity. By implementing a select colour scheme, updated custom imagery (avoid stock if possible), current team photography, and minimal but interesting content, customers will be treated to a pleasant user experience. Keeping frequent, current and concise content will help your brand, promote your Google ranking when customers search for you online, and improve page load times. An important bit to remember is if your site takes longer than five seconds to load, you’ve lost a visitor. People are impatient and won’t wait around for large files and videos to load. Speaking of resource-heavy things…

2: Your site uses Flash

It was BIG. It was BOLD. It’s… did and done. If your site is built with Flash, you need a new website. No longer compatible with the latest web browsers, it’s also incompatible with most mobile devices. Your visitors will be prompted to activate or download or the latest version of Flash—an annoying extra step which will likely turn them away from exploring your page. In addition to hogging resources, Flash makes your site vulnerable to security issues and hacking (which is bad), and not SEO friendly (meaning your site will be harder to find in search engines). With excellent alternatives to Flash now available, like HTML5, having a Flash website is a great excuse to have a web and user friendly site built for you in its place to work on all devices.

3: Your site isn’t responsive.

Have you ever visited a site on your phone to find it won’t automatically zoom in on the page content? It’s a real pain! Having a site that looks great on a computer monitor and automatically adjusts to fit your phone or tablet is called responsive design—the website adjusts to the device it’s being viewed on. When your page doesn’t respond to different devices, it causes the mobile user experience to suffer and endangers your online presence. Considering phones are the top platform for browsing online content, the first time a user visits your site will likely be on a mobile device. If it’s unresponsive, you can expect around three-quarters of web traffic to leave your site immediately.

4: Your site isn’t AA accessible.

Did you know that Ontario law may mandate that your website be Level AA accessible? Basic accessibility starts with Level A, which includes features like alternative text for images. It’s crucial to give an appropriate description of images so that people with vision loss using screen reader technology can experience your site with equity. More extensive accessibility standards fall under Level AA. For example, one AA feature is ensuring headings and labels are properly named, enabling screen reader technology to efficiently scan page information. This helps to quickly and separately identify content on a page, such as news articles or sections of a site. When this is not in place, screen readers will read individual articles as one continuous story, offering no distinction between content. AA accessibility helps users to have a fair experience on your site.

Unsure if your site has to meet this standard? By law, all new content on government and large private sector company websites has been required to be in compliance since 2012, and all existing content since 2016 (all intranet, internet and web content will be required to be AA by 2020). Existing content on all other sites must be Level AA accessible by January 1, 2021 (all new internet and web content has been required to be AA since 2014). Not meeting these requirements can have severe financial repercussions. Here are some helpful links regarding organization-specific accessibility requirements:

businesses or non-profits
public sector organizations
educational institutions (e.g., boards, colleges, universities and schools)
producers of educational material (e.g., textbooks)
library boards

You can find out more about AA accessibility compliance here.

5: Your site doesn’t integrate social media.

It’s time to take full advantage of the power of social media. Where your site is your online storefront, social media is your internet supply chain, bringing in new visitors, analytics, sales, and more from a variety of sources. If you want to promote your brand online and want to grow your business, your website and social media should integrate seamlessly. Start with including social buttons on your site linked to your social media pages. This handy feature will allow visitors a chance to better connect with your business throughout the day. By giving them a means to like, follow and subscribe across platforms, your updates are more likely to reach them throughout the day. Taking things a step further, consider having social feeds on your homepage. Presenting users with your business’ Twitter or Instagram feeds directly on your site gives customers a chance to see the interactive human side of your brand. If you don’t currently use social media for business, keep in mind that you’re missing out on powerful marketing opportunities and public relations tools. Different platforms offer unique ways to allocate your dollars online, from spreading your advertisements to tailored audiences, to growing a following and building your reputation. In fact, it’s common for users to first visit your Facebook page where they can scope out reviews, your timeline, products and more before even visiting your site. Read more about why your business should have an online presence here.

Whether you love the site you had built a couple years ago, or hate the one you just had made, you and your customers deserve an up-to-date user-friendly experience. Ensuring your site offers a connected, accessible, and pleasant visit means you can reach more people than ever before—they’re likely to come back for more! It’s time to treat yourself and feed your business what it needs with a refreshing online presence. Your brand and customers will thank you.

Established in 1996, Generator is a complete graphic design and advertising agency. We specialize in design, print, web, social media and email solutions for businesses of all sizes.