5 signs that it’s time to refresh your website
Keeping your website current and fresh means more than creating new blog posts occasionally. The following tips will give many a deeper understanding of the different, sometimes invisible indicators that website work is required.
It might seem like just yesterday you went through the motions of having a website created for your small business, but all too often business owners adopt the cycle of buying a new website for X amount of dollars, and paying for hosting to the web designer for the life of the site, but not updating the content or look for months or years at a time.
The first point on this list applies universally, and is the #1 red flag that you must overhaul your company’s website.
1. Not on a Web2.0 platform
Most small businesses who set up a website between 2000 and 2005 (and for years before and after) hired somebody who wrote straight HTML, CSS, Java and ASP, or used a design program like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. A solid site built on plain vanilla HTML 3+ just cannot compete on an SEO level with modern PHP based platforms like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. The features natively supported by the big open-source content management systems has become so robust, that out of the box websites are equipped with everything needed to publish an easily usable, updatable, redesignable marketing tool for your small business. Mixed with the plugin repositories growing nearly as quickly as the Google Play Store, you have very inexpensive, feature rich and user friendly websites being set up by your competition.
When you set up your website, did you notice a slow rise in business which has recently tapered off? Depending on your business this could mean fewer quotation requests, less e-commerce conversions, or less subscribers. If a once solid performing website is now no longer a generator of business leads, contact a web designer immediately! Your website simply needs a refresh. Hopefully you’ve been on Google Analytics or another traffic tracker that can lay out daily, weekly, monthly and annual trends in visitor behaviors, that will illustrate your needs in an easy to understand manner. The exact cause of traffic drops can range from stale content that has become repetitious in nature or your competitors marketing of their own websites simply besting your own efforts, to more serious issues such as malware infection or other poor web reputation problems for your business.
3. Ease of Use
Ease of use is a prett broad term, but to the customer it shows that you both understand your business and care about your customers. A website with broken images, difficult to follow alignment/formatting, spelling mistakes and 404 pages popping up on multiple links does not foster an image of professionalism to prospective customers. Any issues that are causing your website from looking and acting anything less than perfect need to be resolved. A great tip to ponder after you’re done sharing this article – are you consistently asked the same questions by your customers? If so, get those answers online!
4. Anonymous Email use for business
You bought www.yourcompany.com and have renewed it year after year, your website is working, but your email address is still firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing turns a buyer off like getting a business card, and seeing a hotmail, gmail, yahoo or other free email provider’s domain name. Move yourself, and your staff, over to professional, personalized @yourcompany.com email addresses. Your image as an organized, up to date business will improve dramatically.
5. Social Media Indicators
A good social media campaign starts with a good website. Your customers will find your website before your social page about 75% of the time, but more customers will receive news from your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts than those subscribing directly to your website, or signing up for your newsletter. Your social media accounts need to convey all the same information as your website, have regular contact with followers, promptly respond to inquiries posed to the social account, and have a growing base of followers. If any of these parts of your social machine fall short, you need to devote a bit more time to a system that works for your schedule, or consider assigning social media duty to an employee.
Your website’s look, feel, load time, performance and associated social media pages are all great ways to take a pulse on how the public sees your company – if you know the signs to look for! Keep up to date with hot tips to market your small business, or if you’ve already decided that it’s time for you – get your web designer on the phone.
Remember, every dollar spent on your website is a dollar invested in the future of your business!