A year is a long time in politics apparently. But it’s also a long time in terms of websites.
If your website is anything over one year old, then it definitely needs refreshed. If it’s over 2-3 years old, it may well need revamped entirely. The site may still look good but it’s important to make sure it’s still working hard for you. Like most things in business these days, you need to stay ahead of the curve. Technology is constantly evolving, and you need a website that meets your customers’ needs.
When customers are feeding back to you that that your site is no longer user-friendly, then that’s a pretty good indication that something needs changed. Your website is there so your customers can use it. You want to continue providing a great online experience, as well as giving new visitors the incentive to buy from you.
If you’re still wondering whether you should refresh your site, the answer is probably yes. But here’s our guide to working out how much or little you need to update your site.
Start at the start. You should be able to measure how effective your website is. Google Analytics provides a ton of metrics, so you need to make sure your site has the ability to include analytics or another online tool that will help you measure effectiveness. This will include conversion tracking and bounce rates.
Talking of bounce rates - a high bounce rate is a clear sign of an older or poorly performing site. Visitors will leave a site within seconds if they can’t find the information they need or if it’s out-dated. By looking at your bounce rate and comparing your stats with others in your industry, you’ll start to build a picture of what you need to do.
Has your business added new services and/or locations? You could be missing a trick if you’re not telling people or taking the opportunity to cross-sell. Have you opened a new store? A new location could appeal to a whole new audience that couldn’t get to your physical premises before, but if you don’t tell them about it, how will they know?
How have your competitors changed? Look at what they have been doing – are you offering a similar service? Differentiating yourself from your competitors online will make you more memorable.
It’s all about presentation. If your site looks professional and is full of relevant, up to date information, visitors will see you as experts in your field. Likewise, if the site looks out-of-date, it’ll reflect badly on your company.
At time of launch, your website probably looked amazing. But without making changes it eventually becomes like wallpaper to regular visitors. Even new images can make a huge difference.
We recently wrote a whole article about typography – we could talk about typography for days! (It’s the geek in us) But fonts are so important. Development of online fonts have increased massively so you have a plethora of options. Even just updating the fonts on your website can bring it bang up to date.
Take time to consider what websites you like. They don’t have to be related to your industry but look at why they appeal to you and how you could re-create aspects of them that could work on your site.
Google is constantly updating its’ algorithms, so you need to ensure your content is up to date. Websites with recent and relevant content always rank higher. When considering a redesign, look at your overall conversion rate and think about keyword targeting. How people search now, compared with how they used to search, has changed significantly. Examine your analytics to look at any changes in customer behaviour and consider what key phrases your competitors may be using.
Along with relevant content, Google likes speedy sites and page load speed is used as a ranking factor. It sounds ridiculous to say but if your site takes longer than 3 seconds (yes, just 3 seconds) to load, it’s considered slow. Therefore, it’s time to take action and optimise your site for speed.
Another important factor that needs considered is the increase in usability in web design. If your site was developed several years ago, it is likely to have a lot of unnecessary HTML code which could be a reason for the slow loading of your website.
It’s with depressingly frequent regularity that we hear about websites and social media feeds getting hacked. Security flaws can rear their ugly heads on any website, new or old, big or small, but there is more likelihood of security flaws affecting an older site as it relies on older less secure coding and technology. While you can’t give an iron-clad guarantee that your site won’t be hacked, having the most up to date technology can help avoid these unwanted visits.
If your site isn’t’ mobile friendly, you’ve got a problem. Recent stats have shown that more people are viewing websites on their smartphones than on their desktops. Additionally, Google has now switched to mobile-first indexing – meaning that it will index your mobile site before your desktop site. A website that isn’t responsive won’t be ranked as highly. And if it’s not working well on mobile, many customers will leave your site to find one that is.
Show your customers that you’re not neglecting your online presence. Your website is often the first impression your business makes with potential customers. Websites are no longer set it and forget it. It’s not a poster or a billboard, it needs to be updated and user-friendly.
If you think it’s time for a change, give us a call, we love a challenge!
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn!
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