Website: Reasons to update

How many times have you asked yourself if you should update your website?  If it’s more than 1, chances are you probably should just bite the bullet and do it.  There are many reasons for updating, including that it is a reflection of you, your personality and your brand.  Are you still wearing leg-warmers?  Or sporting a mullet hair style?  I didn’t think so.  So why is your website living in the past.  It is one of the most cost effective ways to to market your business.  Shouldn’t it be relevant, fast, fun and safe?  Here are a few reasons to seriously thing about an update.

  1. Visual appeal

Does your site look nice and is it easy to navigate on multiple devices?  If it looks old and clunky your site visitors may draw the same conclusion about your business, that it’s outdated and structured poorly.  I’m sure you don’t want that.  Being mobile friendly is critical in today’s environment as well.

  1. Security

Don’t get hacked!  How embarrassing for both you and your visitors if they’re presented with a nasty message.  That’s a tough one to recover from because we all know that bad news will travel like wildfire.  It will take a long time to rebuild trust.

It can be even worse if the backend is hacked.  This will slow your site to a crawl and give your visitors a very poor experience.  Why would they ever come back!

Whatever content management system (CMS) you’re using, eg WordPress, please make sure that the program and software is kept current with modern technology.  Apply the updates.

  1. Content

You need stellar content with good quality images.  While it’s ok to use stock photography, it’s much more personal to use your own.  I’ll bet you have tons of images that can be used.  If not, spend an afternoon or a weekend and get some shots.  Around 5 – 10 in several locations should suffice.  With your written copy, make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.  Speak (write) clearly, simply and effectively and don’t forget to use keywords and phrases that grab attention.  Remember it’s not just humans reading it, Google is too.

  1. Effectiveness

Is your site effective?  What does that even mean?  Ask yourself, what is the reason I want people to visit my site.  As a visitor, when you go there are your objectives met?  There are lots of tools available to help you analyse visitor traffic.  Google analytics, for example, provides statistical information such as # of visitors, what they are clicking on, how long they stayed on each page.  There are other tools available that can help with conversion tracking so you can understand what people are doing once they land on a page within your site.

It’s a great idea to have a ‘call-to-action’ (CTA) clearly visible on every page as well.  Keep it simple stupid (KISS) for visitors to get what they want as quick as they can.

  1. SEO

If nothing else is done (and I do not recommend doing nothing at all), you need to update your SEO settings so people can find you.  SEO is not just a one and done type of activity.  It requires significant effort and diligence and with a good strategy it’s very worthwhile.  At the very least I’d advise updating the underlying code settings, keyword research and create stellar content.  All 3 go hand in hand.  At a minimum you’ll need 3 months of consistent SEO work to notice changes.  When that happens, you’ve arrived.  Your customers and Google love you.

  1. Usability

I may have already said this but it’s worth repeating.  Your website must be mobile friendly  Most users now use mobile devices so check your menus and navigation to make sure everything still works and flows properly.

And finally, speed.  If your site takes more than a second to load I’m gone.  So is Google, yes that’s right.  Google will place you higher in search results IF your site loads FASTER than your competitors.  Things to watch for that cause slowness: image size, file systems, page caching and shared hosting.

Summary

How often should you update?

  • SEO, security and content should ideally be reviewed and updated weekly. Your SEO strategy must include keyword research and really great content and will typically take about 10 hrs per week.
  • Effectiveness and usability, at a minimum should be looked at annually. (1 day + updates)
  • Design should be reviewed every 2 – 3 years.

We hope this has helped in your decision making.  As always, if you need a hand don’t hesitate to reach out.  Chat soon.

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