Do you love your website?
If the answer is no or not really, you shouldn’t even continue reading this article. Just go visit our shop, choose a design that you like and start building a website that you’ll be proud to share online, and invite prospects to browse through. A site that will effectively promote your work and help you book more clients. Otherwise, what’s the point in keeping this powerful marketing tool, investing time and effort into it, if it doesn’t help your business grow and flourish?
It’s not enough to JUST have a website. It needs to look good, it needs to present information in a clear, accessible way. It needs to create a strong first impression and make your prospects feel like they’ve found THE ONE. Otherwise, you’re competing for the attention of the same audience alongside another few hundred businesses. And let’s agree, that’s an exhausting game.
If you’re not sure whether your current website does a good job, here are 11 aspects you can look into to decide whether it’s time for a revamp (listed in no particular order).
1. It’s not memorable and doesn’t stand out
What was cool 3 years ago, may not be this year. Maybe you were one of the early adopters of a new design style or aesthetic, but that was 2-4 years ago. Look around, everyone has similar website designs, especially if they use them ready out of the box. That’s why we created Flexthemes and Flexblock – to empower you with more design freedom. Create your own blocks and page layouts. Make your website look and feel like YOU. It’s all simple and intuitive. No code skills required.
And, you can personalize your mobile site version too, if you want.
2. It Doesn’t Reflect Your Brand
This one should be straightforward. Your website promotes your business online 24/7. If you’ve rebranded recently, if your photography style changed and evolved, if you’re offering new products and services to your customers – your website should reflect and advocate that change. Otherwise, you’re attracting the wrong type of clients, those who are after your old type of work. Which brings us to reason #3.
3. You’re Not Attracting the Right Clients
We explain this in more depth in How Design Affects Your Business Growth article, but the point is – if you are not getting inquiries from the type of clients you want to work with, you are not positioning yourself correctly on the market. One golden rule is to carefully curate your work. Check the content and galleries you show on your website, remove the type of work you don’t want to do in the future (i.e. family, portrait, editorial, etc). Carefully select your BEST, fresh images (the type of projects you want to do more of) and include them on your homepage. This will immediately filter out some of the inquiries which are not a good fit for you. Make sure all your content is consistent, including colors, fonts, icons. An example of consistency in a website would be this.
4. Outdated Theme & Technologies
This one affects your visitors’ experience on your website. “Old school is cool” does not apply when it comes to functionality. The digital world is constantly changing and evolving. Web standards shift each year, dictating new tools and technologies for building a good website. Your clients’ preferences and tastes shift even faster. What was trendy yesterday, may not be next week. Hence, if you want your business to succeed, you need to be agile with your visual presentation and website design.
If you’ve built your website over 4 years ago, most likely it’s far behind in terms of looks and functionality. It probably has outdated code that can slow down its loading speed or the way it responds on different devices. It may also not be compatible with some of the latest popular browsers. Take our example, 4,5 years ago we launched our first Classic themes with the drag and drop page builder, then we released FlexBlock, and in November 2019 the world greeted the first Flexthemes.
The difference between our old, classic themes and the Flexthemes is huge (we explain it here). Building a custom looking website with our new themes is a whole lot easier. You don’t need to know code, you don’t need to add Css snippets or hire a technical team. The new visual editor is so simple, your grandma could probably do it (yet please don’t make her do your own tasks).
Bottom line here, if it’s been a while since you’ve built your site, start looking for website design inspiration and a more modern template to use as base.
5. Mobile Friendly
I sure hope this is not the case, but if you still don’t have a mobile friendly website – get a new theme NOW! Even if you do have a responsive or adaptive design, you still need to keep up with the latest trends. Newer themes include modern css code which allows your site to adapt nicely to any device. They also allow you to hide certain page blocks for mobile and ensure a faster and smoother user experience. Also, you must know that Google cares about the experience you offer to your mobile guests, since over 50% of website traffic comes from portable devices.
Offering more control to our clients over the design and functionality of their mobile websites has always been an important goal on our list. With Flexthemes, the steering wheel is in your hands. You have access to the mobile view of your website sections, can easily make adjustments, hide or show certain areas of your site to ensure a truly wonderful and unique browsing experience to your mobile guests.
If you’re not sure how many of your prospects access your website via their phone, if you’re wondering whether it make sense for you to customize your mobile site – check your site’s stats. You can do that via your Google Analytics account, if you have one connected to your website.
Mobile is important and it won’t go away in the next years. Don’t leave money on the table with a poorly performing mobile site, it’s one of those crucial business aspects that you can’t ignore anymore.
6. Your Website Loads Slow
Aim for a loading time under 4 seconds. If you’re not sure how quickly your site loads, use tools like Pingdom or GTmetrix to check how long it takes for your site to load, and which files are the troublemakers. Poor results could mean you have some work to do. Slow loading speed could be caused by a number of reasons: heavy, unoptimized images, underpowered hosting and even an old, poorly performing theme.
The first one can be easily solved by following this Ultimate Guide to Saving Your Images for the Web. For the second one, check out this article describing 5 key criteria to choosing a good hosting provider. Yet, if the issue is caused by an old, outdated website template, you can start shopping for a new one.
View Flothemes website templates here.
7. Your Bounce Rate is High
This is extremely important. If you’ve been pouring your heart and time into blogging, SEO and marketing, bringing a lot of traffic to your website – yet the second they access your homepage (or any other page), they bounce right off of it – you have a problem. You’re losing leads and potential clients.
A high bounce rate indicates that you’re doing something wrong, either with content, with the navigation of your website, or overall look and feel on your site. On average, a bounce rate between 40-60% is considered to be OK (this varies depending on your industry).
You can check your bounce rate via Google Analytics. Log in and go to Acquisition >> Overview tab. If it’s higher than 70%, follow these 9 Steps to reducing your Bounce Rate. If it doesn’t help, it’s time for a website redesign, and we do suggest seeking some expert advice in UX and UI.
In case you want to dive deeper into Measuring Performance and Tracking Success for your site, download our SEO guide here.
To be honest, new or old, any website can be hacked. The experience is stressful and painful, especially when you lose information, or/and have to rebuild everything from scratch. However, older websites rely on older technology, therefore chances of security breach are higher. Make sure your theme is updated and follow these 12 steps to make your site more secure.
You also need to know that search engines love good, updated content. Every time you make an update to your site, Google and other search engines crawl and index your pages, thus your site ranking gets recalculated. If you keep your content updated and GOOD QUALITY, you increase your chances of getting noticed on Search Result pages. Pair that with a charming, good looking website, and you’re guaranteed more attention.
If SEO is something that you’ve been planning to dive deeper into, check out our SEO guide for photographers. Also take a look at this incredible post by Dylan M Howell on Content Strategy and How to Blog like and Expert.
10. Do I need Call to Actions?
Of course you do. And it’s not just a button or link added here and there. It has to be placed strategically, to keep your users engaged with your website and browsing through more content. We explain How Call to Actions work in Design in this article, but the idea is to guide your site visitors through your content to your Best Work, then to your contact form or sales page. If you’re current website is limited in CTAs (Call to Actions) and doesn’t allow much customization – it’s time to get something more flexible and powerful. With Flexthemes for example, you can easily create new page layouts to support your sales campaigns and convert more users into prospects. They allow you to fully customize any layout, add buttons, images, videos, texts and other design elements.
Never leave your site visitors wondering what they should do next. If it’s not subtle and intuitive, they’ll leave and never return. And that’s sadly a lost business opportunity.
11. All those Cool Apps & Integrations
An old outdated website template may not keep up with all the new apps, plugins and integrations available out there. So, if you want to integrate your favorite Studio Management System, Photo Editing app or any other useful tools that simplify your workflow – be prepared to update your website on a regular 1-2 year basis, and use the most modern, up to date templates for that.
How we can help
The point of this article was not to convince you to update your website just for the sake of changing. While a website redesign is an important and complex process, which requires some time and effort – think about the reason you got a website in the first place. It exists to promote your work, help customers get to know you as a brand and as a person, as well as get them excited to work with you!
We put much thought and expertise into each of our products. We create good looking and powerful tools to make website building simpler, more fun and empowering. If you’re wondering whether Flothemes is a good fit for your business, whether it will be easy to built a website on your own, or if you simply struggle with choosing the right template – message us, or schedule a free consultation.
Want to learn more about website building? Need a set of rules to follow when planning your next website? Check out this article we wrote for PhotoBug Community on 5 Things Every Photographer Should Do When Building Their Website. Also, don’t forget to check out current hot deals on website designs.