The Refresh Marketing website you see today was built in 2015.
Back then, I was a lonely freelancer – offering limited services to a handful of clients.
Today, six years on, Refresh Marketing is a bustling agency with five writers on the team and 50+ client projects on the go at any one time.
So as you can imagine, the 2021 version of my business barely resembles the 2015 incarnation.
But more to the point, six years is an unacceptably long time for any business to go without a website revamp. Web design trends, features and functionalities are advancing every day – and the way people behave online is vastly different from what it was even just a couple of years ago.
That’s why this January, I finally set a firm goal to launch an all-new Refresh Marketing website by April 2021.
No excuses. No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it. It will launch then. (And it will be fabulous .)
So why did it take me so long to get here?
Because, like you may be doing right now, I’d been telling myself a whole lot of furphies to put this mammoth task off for as long as possible.
But now that I’ve finally taken action? It’s a massive relief. And I couldn’t be more excited.
So here goes: 7 lies you’re probably telling yourself about your old website – with some home truths to help you get moving once and for all.
LIE 1: Our website must be okay… everyone says they like it!
Even if everyone you ask tells you they ‘like’ your dated website, this is by no means a reliable gauge of its brilliance.
And I highly doubt they are a representative sample of all the people who actually visit your site every day.
Rather, they’re probably your friends, family, clients or suppliers… people who may be well-meaning but have no expertise in this area.
Ask them to be specific with what they like about your website. Perhaps they’re only referring to the colours of your logo or to that goofy team photo. And if that’s the case, this is by no means a reason to stick with the whole shebang.
LIE 2: We know we need to redo our website, we’re just too busy
This was the BIG one for me. So I feel you. I really do.
(If it makes you feel any better, I just looked back at my calendar to see when we held our first internal meeting to brainstorm ideas for a new website. It was 16 May 2019!)
But, as a wise woman once said, it’s not about ‘having’ time – it’s about ‘making’ time.
And that’s exactly what I did, eventually. I made time.
How? By blocking out an entire week in my calendar to focus on the new website. No meetings. No Zoom calls. No client deadlines. No distractions whatsoever.
It was the only way for me. And it worked.
Like anything in life, if something is important enough to you, you will make the time for it. It’s all about priorities.
LIE 3: We get our clients via word-of-mouth, so our website doesn’t even matter
Don’t get me wrong, word-of-mouth marketing is gold in any industry. And in many cases, you are right: a referral from a trusted source is all some people need to engage a new service provider.
Remember though, when people ‘ask around’ for a good accountant / business coach / property developer / architect / copywriter / graphic designer / whatever, they’ll usually come away with a handful of recommendations from different sources.
So what’s going to be their next step in assessing your business against the other options? Some online
stalking research of course!
And that means, if your website is a turn off, your hot new prospect could suddenly turn cold.
A professional, clear and contemporary website, on the other hand, shouts credibility and builds trust.
You want to be sure that your website validates any recommendations that come your way – and positions you strongly against your competition. Otherwise, it’s a wasted opportunity.
LIE 4: Our site ranks really well on Google, so we can’t possibly build a new one
You’ve been improving your search engine rankings over many years. And, understandably, you’re worried that starting from scratch could put all that time, money and hard work to waste.
It’s true that the redesign process can negatively impact your SEO.
But, and this is one juicy, big fat BUT….
… if done properly, revamping your website will actually strengthen your SEO.
That’s because Google favours websites that adapt to the changing trends in design, user experience and content marketing. And the reverse is obviously true: sticking with the same old site for many years will do your SEO more harm than good.
The most important thing here is to hire a web designer that’s fully across the potential risks and has a strategy in place to preserve your SEO. You might be pleasantly surprised at the boost in rankings that result.
Change is necessary if you want to stay in Google’s good books.
LIE 5: We get lots of online enquiries, so our website must be fine!
That’s awesome. Go you!
But before I inflate your ego too much, I have a question: How many people go to your website every day and decide NOT to call or submit an enquiry?
Hmmmm… tough question, right?
Because of course, you can’t possibly know the real answer. (That said, your Google Analytics will give you some sense of the situation. Look at bounce rates and average time per page for starters.)
If a dated website with poor usability is generating a decent number of leads for your business, imagine what a modern website with amazing usability can achieve!
Ok, so I know that you can never know the true potential until after you’ve spent the time and money on a new site. But I’ve seen amazing results time and again – with several clients in disbelief at how many more leads their new site suddenly generated.
(I’ve even had one client tell me her new website was working too well for her business, forcing her to hire more telesales staff!)
Never underestimate the potential number of people who come to your website everyday… who then decide NOT to call you because the site is dated, confusing or unusable.
LIE 6: We just don’t have the money right now
There’s no doubt that 2020 was a particularly tough year for so many businesses. Projects were canned. Budgets were slashed.
However, the ‘we don’t have the budget’ excuse is by no means a new one.
Of course, I don’t know the details of your corporate finances. And you may well not be in a position to spend a cent right now.
But if that’s not genuinely the case for your business, it’s time to start thinking about a new website as an investment rather than a cost.
Do this quick calculation: how many new clients do you need to win to generate a return on your investment?
I worked out that if our new site brings in just ONE new project (of midrange dollar value), we will break even. And every new project from there will be the delicious cream on top!
If you get it right, your new website has the potential to pay for itself many times over.
LIE 7: We’ve been burnt by website service providers before, so there’s no point
Getting burnt in this industry is an all-too-common story. So I don’t blame you if you’re a little gun shy.
But, is it possible that the problem occurred because you chose the cheapest provider you could find? (Monkeys, peanuts and all that?)
Or maybe it was because you didn’t do your due diligence before handing over your hard-earned money?
Whatever the reason, you can avoid making the same mistake again by taking the following actions before signing on the dotted line:
- Scrutinise examples of their previous work and make sure you and your team like what you see.
- Call their existing and past clients for references (written testimonials are not enough).
- Ask lots (and I mean lots) of questions about their process and be sure you get clear, specific answers.
- Flick their proposal to someone in the industry who you trust and ask if they spot any red flags.
- Sift through their terms and conditions with a fine-tooth comb (or run them past a lawyer).
Just like matters of the heart, if you can find a way to ‘put yourself out there’ and trust again, the upside is definitely worth it.
A FINAL WORD
Your website is your window to the world. It’s also your most important salesperson – because it’s working for you 24/7.
So if your gut’s telling you that your site is not showcasing your business in the best possible light, listen to it.
You won’t be sorry.