You’ve got that shiny, new website up and operating. Everyone’s excited about the new look, and you’re expecting sales to increase proportionately. Now you don’t have to worry about that website for a long time. Right?

Actually, that kind of thinking is what can get our customers in trouble. Quite often, we find that many businesses consider their website a one-and-done sort of endeavor. Once it’s up and running, they can get back to the business of doing business. But that’s actually the furthest thing from the truth.

Your website is your 24/7 salesperson and marketing tool. And since you generally have short term, mid-term, and long-term goals for sales and marketing, you should apply the same principles to your website. Our best advice is to budget for a website design just as you would budget for a new hire, sales training or an equipment purchase. And you should plan to redesign your site every 3–4 years — tops. Five to ten years is way too long to wait.

Still not convinced? Here are seven reasons why you should consider a website redesign fast!

1. Is your website mobile friendly?

Let’s face it, we’re all spoiled. Our cellphones are our link to the world, and we carry them wherever we go. When we view a website on our phone, we don’t want to fumble through awkward, manual page resizing just to read the text. So it’s important that you consider your customer’s user experience both on computer and on their phone.

Trends come and go, and technology continuously changes. Since the world is always in a constant state of evolution, the status quo won’t take you very far in business or in your online sales or reach. As the saying goes, you must either change or move and get out of the way.

2. Is your website confusing?

Visiting a website now is all about the user experience. People don’t stay on bad websites, and they certainly don’t bookmark them so they can return.

Your website should be easily navigable from every page, with information appearing in a logical format. Looking for donations? Want your customer to sign up for your e-newsletter? Then, by all means, don’t make them search for those calls to action. Are there functions that are not working or no longer necessary? Time to make an update.

In the same vein, your website should be visually pleasing with a balance between text and coordinating visuals. If you have too many graphics with not enough substance, your customer won’t know what to focus on first. Or if you have too much text with very few photos, your visitor will feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading and probably click away from your site in a matter of seconds. Your website should have an easy and consistent flow, both in text and visuals.

3. Is your website outdated, tired or boring?

People wonder if you don’t make an effort to look your best online, then where else are you cutting corners? Why should they spend their hard-earned dollars with you, if you’re not taking the time to care about their user experience on your website?

According to Web Credibility Research at Stanford University, 75% of web visitors make a judgment about a company’s credibility based on website design alone. An outdated website is apparent upon first glance, especially if the copyright date is not current. Maybe your text color fights with the background and is difficult to read. Maybe the design falls flat and could use a refresher.

Or even worse, you’re still using Flash — which is not supported on any iPhone or iPad. In addition, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can’t read your site. The result? Extremely poor search engine optimization and extremely poor search ranking. So if your website isn’t appealing to your visitors, then it’s probably time for a redesign.

4. Do you have poor search engine rankings?

It’s no secret that Google is changing their algorithms on a daily basis. And they put out major updates several times a year. So what does this mean for you?

In a nutshell, what worked a few years ago — or even just last year — probably doesn’t work anymore in terms of how your website ranks with search engines. It takes a visitor about 0.5 seconds to make a decision about your site and your company. So if your conversion rate is low and your bounce rate is high, then this is probably the reason why. And don’t forget to be sure your URLs are easy to read with keywords, and not packed with a bunch of numbers and meaningless symbols. You should always be experimenting with keywords and SEO (search engine optimization), just as Google is constantly adjusting what they’re looking for in terms of site ranking.

5. Have you changed your marketing strategy?

If you’ve been through a change in marketing strategy — or two or three — since your last web design, then you’re missing out on the chance to educate your customers and lead them to the purchase you want them to make. You’ve outgrown your website, and now is the time to make an update.

Consistency is key across all of your marketing platforms. If you’ve had any change in your marketing and branding, your website needs to reflect that and support what you are doing on a daily basis.

6. Is your website slow to load?

Load time is essential for the user experience. Remember, a customer will form an opinion about your site and your business within half a second of arriving at your home page or landing page. If it takes too long to load, you’ve already lost them. Enough said.

7. Does your website solve your customers’ problems?

Ask yourself, What does your customer want to do when they come to your site? What answers are they looking for?

Does your website solve your customers’ problems? If the answer is no, then why should they stay and buy? And why are you wasting their time and yours?

85% of B2B customers search the web before making a purchase decision (Chief Marketing Officer [CMO] Council, the CMO Council’s ROI Center, and NetLine). Not to mention that your customers are also visiting your competitors’ sites. So how does your website rank when you put them side by side? If your website doesn’t measure up, then you’re already losing valuable sales to your competition every day.

Maybe your customers would love a 360 degree view of your product. Maybe they want to see the latest news and updates front and center when they arrive at your site. Or maybe they need to check their order status online. Whatever it is that they want, give it to them. And give them even more. Over deliver as often as you can, and your customers will keep coming back.

Bottom line — if you want your website to continue working for you and delivering top-quality leads and sales, then you’ve got to provide top-quality content up front. Build it into your budget every 3–4 years, and plan on reviewing your site quarterly for any updates to keep it fresh and accurate. Be consistent about your web updates, and it will pay off for you every time.

Article written for All Pro Media by: Nikki Corbett