Does your business really need a new website?

Think about how much you could gain from having a modern, vibrant website

This is a question you really ought to be asking yourself every six months or so. Your website will need a complete review every few years to bring it into line with the latest technologies, trends and styles.

Assuming that your website is updated regularly and well looked after, it will do an effective job for your business for many years, but there comes a point when it starts to get tired and looks dated when compared with your competitors' websites. Your messaging and brand can also lose their appeal after a while, and embarking on a brand new website can be a great way to reinvigorate your whole approach to marketing and customer relations.

Keeping up with the Jones', the Smith's, and anyone else who wants a piece of your business

The internet is a competitive place, and if you want to be a player within your industry then you need fight your corner. We live in a world where aggressive, well organised start-ups can take large amounts of business from established industry leaders simply by being more proactive and 'current'.

Web shoppers are a fickle bunch, they haven't travelled any distance or spent any money to get to your website, so turning around and leaving again is a simple enough thing to do. You can expect them to be viewing your website as one in a series of similar websites, doing comparisons on price, product choice, service levels and who they might feel comfortable doing business with.

If the other websites they visited were modern and vibrant, and yours isn't, it can have a profound effect on the impression they have of your business. Much like two shops sitting side-by-side in a high street, the customer will tend to avoid the one that looks tired and out of date (remember Woolworths?).

You can have the edge on your competitors in every other department, but if the first impression of your website is a bad one, your visitors might never bother to find out.

Technology moves on, and so should your website

I have worked in the web industry for many, many years, and the speed that the internet grows and evolves never ceases to amaze me. Improvements come thick and fast, offering surfers a faster, brighter, more engaging experience.

There is so much more you can offer your visitors now than say, 5 years ago. Better quality images, videos and animation for starters. Then there's the social media revolution and the boom in accessing the internet from mobile phones (read about responsive websites for mobile devices). Visitors now want to read your blog or contact you using a chat tool or find you on an interactive map, and they want it all to happen really quickly...no hanging around!

If your website is more than 5 years old you will struggle to integrate all these things for less than the cost of a brand new website, and combined with the reinvigorating effect of starting from scratch, it really is a worthwhile and cost-effective exercise.

So maybe now is a good time to take a good look at how your website shapes up with others in your industry, and think about how much you could gain from having a modern, vibrant website.