Do I Really Need To Redesign My Website?

Recently we took a call from a prospective client who was unsure if he needed to have his company’s website redesigned. The company’s clients have recently started to complain about the website – issues such as slow load times, information was becoming hard to find, and the website wasn’t responding well to mobile devices. We asked the client when the last time the website was redesigned, to which he responded, 2009. Yes, he definitely needed a redesign.

Every year there are significant advances in website functionality. That’s not to say you need a website redesign every year, but you should be aware of what new functionality and features are available to you. At Rebel Trail, we always keep our clients informed of what’s new in the world of website development, and how the new functions and features may be of benefit to their website. Often, upgrading to these new features does not involve a full redesign, usually it’s just a tune up or ‘face lift’. However, if a client lets many years of these new functions slip by, then it can be more difficult to implement them, and a full redesign may be necessary.

On average, you should consider a redesign every 3 – 6 years depending on the size, popularity, and functionality of your website. This will keep the design fresh and the functionality current. You always want to stay one step ahead of your competition, so it’s a good idea to schedule a review of your competitor’s websites at least every quarter. Your potential customers will be looking at your competitor’s websites so you should always know how your website compares.

If your company goes through any kind of re-branding initiative, or even changes their logo, this is a good time to revamp the website as well. You always want to ensure that your marketing is consistent through all your platforms, so if a change is made on one platform, it should be made for them all. Certainly, if your website is not responsive you should immediately seek a redesign initiative. Responsive websites are those that automatically change their layout depending on the device that views it. In this case a website will look different on a desktop computer versus a mobile phone. Even Google now penalizes websites that are not responsive, so potential customers will have a harder time finding you if your website does not have this feature.

If it’s been over 5 years since your last website redesign, you’ll also want to look at your hosting – specifically if your web server has not been upgraded in that time. Web servers do have a limited shelf life, and the older they are, the more susceptible they are to performance issues, slow load times and crashes. Each time you redesign your website you should upgrade your hosting as well. Make sure you are on a modern web server that’s fully secure and uses today’s platform standards. Not only will this provide you with more functionality for your website, but your customers will enjoy the boost in speed and security.

At Rebel Trail, our websites are designed to stand the test of time, but that doesn’t mean they should! Your website should grow with your business and automate manual redundant tasks. It should attract customers like a super magnet, and streamline your communications and work flow processes. If it’s not, then perhaps its time to consider a redesign. To explore the benefits of a website redesign project, contact Rebel Trail today!

Toronto Web Design – 4 Signs It’s Time For A Website Redesign

With the current landscape of Toronto Web Design it’s difficult to tell when its time to give your website a fresh new design. There are also many factors to consider such as your current Toronto web design versus that of your competitors as well as the overall functionality your website utilizes. Upgrading the functionality of your website is just as important as keeping the website design current. Further, there are always new technologies that can vastly improve your website’s performance, and if left ignored, these can benefit your competitors rather than you. At Rebel Trail Web Design, we have complied the top 4 signs your Toronto Web Design is in need of a refresh.

It’s Not Responsive

Responsive websites are commonplace today, and if your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on a great deal of potential business. Responsive websites change their format depending on the device that’s viewing them. This means a standard computer screen will display your website in one format, but a smartphone or tablet will display your website reformed to perfectly fit the smaller screens. By Toronto Web Design standards, responsive websites are an absolute must. Not only do search engines like Google gives your site a boost if its responsive, but half of your audience will be viewing your Toronto website through a mobile device – why not cater the website experience to them?

You’re losing search engine placement

If you notice that your search engine results are starting to slide, its time to consider a redesign. With a professional Toronto website development company, they will build your new website to all of the latest Search Engine standards. If your website was built several years ago, then it is missing out on all of the updates the search engines normally apply several times a year. This usually results in a gradual slide down the index until your website coding is made fully compliant again.

Objective Comparison With Your Competitors

You should be checking your competitor’s websites at least 2 – 3 times per year – but do so objectively. Sometimes this is difficult as you are so entwined with your own business. Think of getting an informal group of objective individuals to look at your site as well as your competitors – and ask them to provide honest feedback as to which site they would go to, and why. It is easy to lose objectivity with your own Toronto website design, so a fresh perspective will identify shortcomings and help your prepare for a website redesign.

Performance Issues

A website design that is slow to load, or worse yet, contains errors is a big sign that a redesign is required. Customers will naturally assume that a buggy website reflects on the service they can expect from your business and this closes doors pretty fast. You need to ensure that your Toronto website design loads quickly and is completely error free. A good Toronto website designer will fully test the website before it launches and will guarantee to fix any post-launch errors as well.


Onavo Launches Insights: Lean How Competitor’s Mobile Apps Really Perform

The first, and perhaps, most important step, in deciding to build a mobile app is to understand the marketplace.

Learning about the competition can be the difference between success and failure. However, until recently, there has been a severe lack of information and usable data highlighting mobile application user trends.

Enter Onavo Insights

Previously, the only data that has been accessible to the general public is the download numbers for the top free and paid apps. However, a new company called Onavo Insights aims to revolutionize the world of mobile app marketing.

Insights collects information from its two previous ventures, which were apps that helped mobile users keep track of and manage the data usage on their phones from third-party applications, in order to create a groundbreaking system that provides detailed metrics for a market that was surprisingly devoid of them.

The service, which Onavo has been giving away for free, provides meticulously detailed information on how well an app is performing in its own category in the marketplace. Insights allows users to access important data such as:

  • Market Share
  • Apple Store Rank
  • Google Drive Rank
  • User Engagement
  • User Retention
  • Biggest Gains
  • Biggest Dips
  • Comparisons between Competing Apps

Onavo currently offers a free and premium version of its Insights services. The premium version, called Competitive Insights, provides even more detailed information about the mobile app marketplace and will analyze how various apps compare with their competitors. It also identifies trends and patterns to help developers plan an effective strategy to gain a competitive edge in the mobile app marketplace.

Onavo also offers two other premium services called Ad Insights and Audience Insights, which are products that focus on the ads inside a developer’s apps. The services aim to increase conversion rates and provide developers with detailed information on which ads are most effective in targeting app users.

Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Marketplace

Onavo Insights collects its data in real-time based off of a sample size of millions of users from its Onavo Extend and Onavo Count services. Onavo Insights then analyzes the data and categorizes it in easy-to-understand snippets.

The service aims to give app developers a deeper understanding of what the public is looking for in an app.

For instance, Facebook may be the top-rated social media application in the market, with an overall market share of 72 percent; however, the Onavo Insights service shows a perspective developer that LinkedIn and GroupMe have had two of the biggest gains in the market over the last month. Even though the market is saturated with various social media apps, many users are still interested in using apps other than Facebook and Twitter.

The Onavo team has created a powerful marketing tool for mobile app designers that has the potential to provide developers with a stronger understanding of user trends, and behaviors, which can in turn help produce better and more groundbreaking applications.

Mobile app development is still in its infancy stage, and, up until now, has not had any real insight into the marketplace and user trends. Onavo Insight has opened the flood gates for developers to access the marketing information that they need in order to better understand their demographic.

It may be a game changer for the ever-growing app market, and is a product that may become indispensable for future developers and application designers.

Should You Build a Mobile Website

Many clients have asked us if they should build a secondary ‘mobile website’ to complement their primary website. Smartphones and other ultra-portable devices is the fastest growing market share of the website browsing world, and businesses are eager to cater to this audience.

There are many factors to consider when contemplating the development of a mobile website, but the most important of which would be screen size. The question to ask is: Will users be able to experience and navigate my website easily on a 3 – 6 inch screen as they would with a 7 – 27 inch monitor or tablet? In most cases, the answer is no.

When viewing websites with a mobile device, even the simplest of tasks can be made difficult. Consider the act of clicking on a text link; this is effortless on a larger monitor, but with a mobile device it may require scrolling, zooming, pinching, and often results in clicking on the wrong link on the miniature screen. This results in a frustrating experience for the user, and frustrated users are not likely to return to your website.

A mobile website should be ‘thumbs-compatible’, where buttons and links are larger and easily clicked on by the chubbiest of digits. Mobile websites should be stripped of all non-essential graphics and formats to allow for fast loading pages, and a simplified user experience. Mobile sites should be fully compatible with social media sites and make it simple for a user to share and spread your content or products.

Some clients are concerned that the additional of a mobile website to their standard website will result in double the maintenance. They do not want to spend extra time updating the content on two sites. At Rebel Trail, we develop smart Content Management Systems (CMS) where you input your new content or product once, and the system will publish it to your standard website, mobile website, as well as any associated social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. We call this single-input/multi-output and it is a true time-saver for our clients, while making it easy to organize content and products.

If you choose to not adopt a mobile website, then you should at least test that your existing website is mobile compliant. Many websites are using Adobe’s Flash on their introductory or landing pages which will not display on Apple mobile devices. There are a many other formatting features that look great on a larger monitor, but simply will not work on a mobile device. Make sure to test your website on as many mobile devices as possible and notify your web developer of any formatting or display issues.

If you would like to discuss your options for a mobile website please contact Rebel Trail today.