Your website represents the face of your organization, and often it’s the first thing a potential customer sees. The numbers are in, and they tell a compelling story:

82 percent of consumers conduct online research before they ever consider making a purchase with a brand.

You get the blink of an eye; one crucial moment where the look, feel and design of your website can make or break your company’s connection with a potential customer. It’s time to take a hard look at your website and honestly ask yourself if it’s really putting the best foot forward for your business.

Here’s a few red flags to look for that signal the need for a significant refresh of your company’s website:

1) It isn’t mobile-friendly

If your site isn’t supported by responsive design that adjusts based on visitors’ device screen size, it is absolutely time for an overhaul. Now that the vast majority of Americans (and, by extension, your customers) – 77 percent – own smartphones, your website’s layout and content must be properly displayed on handheld devices. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to use a site on smaller devices.

We haven’t even talked about the SEO implications of a site that hates mobile devices. Those of you still shellshocked will certainly never forget the Mobilegeddon massacre back in March of 2015. Don’t let yourself get Google slapped.

2) It isn’t keeping up with the Joneses

Look. We know that it can be easy to get stuck in the bubble of your own website – you forget to poke your head up to see what everyone else is doing. But what if your neighbors just bought a yacht while you’re busy rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? You must pay attention to what your competitors are doing, and this is especially true when it comes to your website.

Taking the time to investigate your top industry and SERP competitors’ sites can help you see how yours stacks up. Do other businesses’ websites offer something yours doesn’t? Does your site’s first impression match – or exceed – what your competitors are doing? If you answered “No,” it might be is a good time to level out the playing field with a refreshed site.

3) It can’t keep up with your needs

This one’s a biggie, but may require a little extra research. It’s now more critical than ever to keep a close eye on performance metrics, as these benchmarks can be incredibly telling when it comes to a website’s ability to support users’ needs. Things like high bounce rates, low engagement and slow page speed should be considered red flags. If your website can’t provide the functionality and performance your audience requires, you’d better make a considerable change.

Studies have shown that slow performance, in particular, can be a killer. Overall, about half of users expect websites to completely load in two seconds or less, and most will abandon the site at the three-second mark if the page doesn’t load. What’s more, 79 percent of users won’t return to a site where they’ve had a poor experience in the past, and 44 percent will go so far as to tell a friend about their bad experience.

Don’t let your website hold you back and turn visitors away. Ensure peak performance for the good of your business and your customers.

A few more things to consider

If you’ve decided it’s time to rework your site, there are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Small updates can go a long way: It is absolutely possible to keep your site looking fresh and modern for a considerable period of time – years, even! – with a few well-placed updates. As long as you ensure that elements function properly, copy is revised when needed and images are updated, your site may not require a full overhaul.
  • Be prepared for the cost: Your website represents the foundation for your company’s online presence, and as such, you have to make the proper investments. Depending on how much work your website needs and what purpose it serves for your company, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. This price includes revising and creating new content, updating site functionality like search features, syncing the platform with marketing automation software and other overarching SEO updates. While this may be daunting, it’s definitely an investment worth making.
  • Stock images and canned themes can work, but be wary: When you do decide to update your site, the question of stock images and theme templates might come up. It’s important to consider these carefully, and not use them in an effort to cut corners. Stock photos must be relevant as well as meaningful, and connect well with your brand image. Similarly, smaller businesses without a technical team that also have fairly simple sites could benefit from the use of a canned theme. However, templates like these don’t support certain changes and modifications, so you really need to weigh your options carefully.

Scream it from the rooftops: there’s no understating the importance of your website. However, an outdated site can be a big turn off, especially for more savvy users. Consider their needs, as well as those of your business, when it’s time for a refresh.

Jessica Wells is a senior writer and editor at Brafton, working remotely from Hawaii. When she's not writing, Jessica enjoys paddle boarding, snorkeling and enjoying the view (and a cocktail) from her beach chair.