Websites are an integral part of communication in today’s business world. A business without a website misses countless opportunities to inform and connect with their customers, every hour of the day, every day of the week. In many ways, a website is a salesperson who never takes a day off.
Obviously, if your business has a website, you’ve got a distinct advantage over competitors who don’t have one. But if your website is outdated, the advantage is small and undermines all your efforts against those competitors who do have websites that are up-to-date.
How do you know when it’s time to update your website?
Ask yourself these six questions:
1. Is your site outdated?
Defining “outdated” can be tricky, because web design trends and technology change rapidly. Some of the elements that are currently defined as outdated include Flash, blinking images or scrolling text, use of comic sans or papyrus fonts, use of more than three fonts, and an inconsistent use of colors. Most of these elements are seven years old, or older. If you haven’t redesigned your site in five years, it’s probably outdated.
2. How does it look on a mobile device?
People use a variety of devices now to access web pages. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones make it easy to access websites anywhere, and it’s important that your site looks good no matter what size screen on which it’s being viewed. In fact, when you consider that 63% of Americans use their phone to access the Internet, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your site is user-friendly when accessed from a mobile device.
3. Do you have the ability to update the content of your website?
One of the reasons many businesses have been reluctant to update their websites is the effort it takes to do so. Once, it was only possible to update content by going through a webmaster, a magical wizard -like being who held the key to the entire site. The good news is, the development of fairly robust and user-friendly Content Management Systems (CMS) has significantly reduced the webmaster’s role with regard to updating content. If you still must go through a webmaster to keep content fresh and relevant, it may be a time for a change.
4. Do you have the ability to see what kind of volume your site gets or where your users are clicking?
Google Analytics allows for extremely detailed summaries of your website’s performance statistics. Among these statistics are metrics that show what pages are most visited, how users are getting to your website, what buttons are being clicked, how long they spend on each page, and even what page from which they left your website. There are many, many more pieces of information offered, but the best part about this feature is that it’s free. If you don’t have Google Analytics incorporated into your website, you are missing out on extremely valuable information that can help you optimize your site by tailoring its layout and content to what the user expects to see and wants to see.
5. Does your site make it easy to find information?
We live in an age where we expect the information we want to be accessible as close to instantly as possible. Modern websites are created with their target audience in mind and are designed to make it as easy as possible for a visitor to come to your site and know exactly where to find any information they may need.
6. Does your site meet your user’s expectations?
Not only do we live in an age of instant information, we live in an age of advanced technology. Electronic stores all over the US have lines of people around the block on Thanksgiving evening waiting to get a great deal on the next big gadget. Devices like the iPad mini and the Galaxy 4 have made modern fonts, updated color schemes, flat design, seamless animation, and minimalism a part of daily life. I think that subconsciously we expect the websites we visit on these devices (and computers in general) to be somewhat up to par with the feel of these operating systems. When we go to a site that hasn’t been updated in three years or more, it is noticeable. Keeping up with the expectations of users (as best as you can anyway!) can really help your come across as relevant and up-to-date.
Once you’ve asked yourself these six questions, if you don’t like or aren’t sure of the answers, it may be time to sit down with someone and lay out a plan for updating your site. Updating a site doesn’t have to mean a radical redesign, however. It’s possible to optimize the code on your site or transfer it into a user-friendly CMS such as WordPress and still maintain the look that your customers are accustomed to seeing. Either way, though, your site can benefit from updating to make it more responsive to the variety of screens on which it will be viewed. Click here to check out our portfolio of recent projects.
The advantage that websites have over printed sales materials such as brochures is that they can be changed quickly and frequently, without allowing outdated information to continue to circulate. And because most people carry mobile devices, your site can be at the fingertips of customers seeking information about your business and what you offer. When they arrive at your digital doorstep, make sure they find a website that is deserving of their business.