There are several ways to gauge if your eCommerce site needs a complete or partial overhaul. Perhaps metrics have been slipping recently, and these trends cannot be traced to search engine algorithm tweaks. The nature of the site is also a factor. What products are sold? Are these seasonal? Are they updated frequently such as retail? If so, remember that in business, consumers are attracted to what’s new. That means a site that is exciting to visit, and makes their shopping experience as trouble-free and enjoyable as possible. Make it easy for visitors to achieve their objective or lose them, most likely to a competitor.
Another consideration when determining if a new eCommerce site is overdue, is a design that is fully SEO-compliant. It can easily be demonstrated that the most effective web designs dovetail Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices. However, this discipline is constantly in flux as it follows browser activity. To be most effective, online business owners can look to update their websites and refresh them every 36 to 48 months.
However, there is another perhaps more cogent factor that enterprises should consider to retain/grow their market share- what their competition is doing. Some industries are more competitive than others, and the business that does not keep tabs on what their competitors are doing will soon drop from searchers’ radar. This means that if your competitors update or redesign their websites every year, to keep up, you’ll have to make similar updates. It does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. More on that later.
The imperative for all eCommerce sites, is to provide an “enhanced user experience”. That’s just common sense. Make it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for and to make their purchases. Period. Often that means updating the shopping cart so that potential buyers do not experience high volume lag times, know that their transaction is secure, and that they’ll promptly receive their goods. Updating your shopping cart not only increases transaction speeds, it also can offer new features consumers appreciate such as reminders and auto-generated offers.
Address Potential Consumer Concerns
In 2017, a survey by the Centre for International Governance found that worldwide, 51% of their respondents have privacy and online security concerns. A secure socket, up-to-date cart encryption, and affiliations with organizations the public trusts, such as the Better Business Bureau, work to put online shoppers at ease. These actions accomplish both users’ and site owners’ objectives.
It is also widely known that mobile users account for the majority of browsers online. Having desktop and mobile sites with different, redirected URLs is so 2013. Today, eCommerce firms that do not have a responsive site are losing business. Google, which dominates the search engine market, funnels an estimated 70% or more of all internet traffic. In 2016 this Goliath announced it is impacting the rankings of sites that are not mobile-optimized. So if this paragraph is speaking to you, then better late than never. It’s time for you to reap the benefits of a relatively quick-to-implement responsive site.
Every eCommerce business owner should be funneling a percentage of their profits into maintaining and updating their site. It is their livelihood and must not be neglected. If current finances dictate a website refresh over a complete redesign, here’s what you can do. Give the site a new look (‘reskin’). This can take the form of:
- Simple changes such as colors and/or a logo redesign at little or no cost.
- New Content Management System (CMS) with additional features to facilitate site updates.
- Heat mapping will indicate which parts of a web page receive the most attention and which do not. Review content with a critical eye and trim or refresh as necessary.
- Smartphone updates have left your old responsive site in the dust. However, depending on how your site is coded, a refresh may be all it needs to reach today’s mobile users.
The age of your website, the competitiveness of your field, technological advances, and site visitor behavioral shifts are all factors that dictate when a new website redesign is an imperative. The general rule is a complete redesign every 3-4 years, with a reskinning annually to tide you over. After all, the goal for any website is one that works well for users and owners alike. Take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that your site always appears fresh and compelling, is highly functional, and it will serve your clients/customers and your purposes well.