A website update can be a lot of work, time consuming, darned expensive or all of the above. For those reasons, many businesses will just keep what they have and hope for the best. Ultimately that might cost you more money than it saves. If your website gives the wrong impression – it doesn’t change, it looks outdated, it doesn’t have the great responsive bells and whistles other sites have – you’ll be hard-pressed to shake off the not-so-great impression you’ve made later on.
Something visitors thought of as smooth and efficient last year, they’ll see as clunky and backwards today. Similarly, they might start expecting new functions that your site doesn’t yet have. Slowly public opinion will shift against you. You really can’t let too many people start thinking that way. Otherwise, even fans of your brand might start reconsidering whether it might not be time to move on.
For that reason, it’s important to have a set of things that you monitor so that you have a good sense of when your website needs a facelift or a full-on overhaul. Here are eight things you should keep an eye on:
A good way to indicate whether your site needs an update is by finding out how many folks are sticking around on your site beyond when they land there. Even better than just looking at whether you have a high or low bounce rate compared to the industry standard, however, is to take the time to find out if your bounce rate is increasing over time or staying steady.
If it’s steady, then the problem might need to be dealt with but isn’t necessarily of immediate concern. If on the other hand, it has begun to rise you should take immediate action. The first step is to find out why.
- The meaning of your keywords is shifting, and you’re suddenly attracting a different audience looking for different things.
- Your site is starting to show its age and users no longer see it as an authoritative source.
Both of these problems can be fixed by updating your website, though they’re fixed in different ways. If you’re not sure which of these problems you’ve got, consider installing a Google search bar on your website. This will allow you to see what the search terms are that users are looking for. If these do not fit what you’ve got on your page, then it might be that the meaning of your keywords has shifted. If that’s not the problem, then your page may look out of date.
Similarly, if you find that your conversion rate (sales) is falling or even just lower than it should be, then it might well be time to start working out what’s going wrong there. The best thing to do is to use marketing funnels to figure out where the problem is. It is best analyzed if your staff is good about finding out where they’ve gotten their sales. You can also utilize Google Analytics to see where/when/how customers are getting to you.
The first step is understanding the sales funnel. Fortunately, Google provides an excellent guide right here.
Do you keep an eye on your demographics? You should, you know. Sometimes the people that use a product will shift. Perhaps a new group of people has become interested in it. Perhaps your old customers have moved on.
If your demographics shift, so their expectations. And you need to make certain that your websites shifts along with it. For example, different colors. Similarly, they might prefer a different layout, with more artistic types preferring minimalistic sites, while a more conservative audience is perhaps preferring something more traditional.
But you won’t know how they’re changing unless you’re watching what’s going on. So keep an eye out for the age, sex and location of your audience as well as what devices they are using as this will teach you a great deal about who your customers are and how you can cater to them.
It doesn’t all have to be about the numbers. You can also just look at how your site compares to others visually. Does visiting other sites create a flash of jealousy? Does your site look clunky in comparison to everybody else who is out there – particularly your competitors? If so, well then it’s time to consider taking your site into the shop.
Top sites are constantly enhancing how they look and though it might cost you a bundle to keep up, the statement ‘you have to spend money to make money’ remains true today, especially as your website is your modern-day storefront. Take Polaroid for instance (you can click the image below if you want to see their site and how they’ve updated it)
Your company has changed
Obviously, if your company is changing, then it’s vital that you change your website to reflect that. This can be something as fundamental as your name, your location, or your logo, but it doesn’t have to be.
For example, if you decide to change your marketing strategy, then that has to influence your page as well. Otherwise the transition from, say, social media to your website can be jarring. And any time anything is jarring to the user, you can be sure their appreciation for your website decreases, as they will frequently associate the marketing strategies with your brand’s trustworthiness.
Your product has changed
Similarly, if your product has been changed, then that too has to be carried through on your website. There is nothing quite as frustrating for a customer than to find out that they’ve gone through all the trouble of filling in all their information, only to find out that a product or a service is no longer available.
That right there will probably cost you a sale, as chances are good that they will think twice before they select a product that is similar but not the same. And so, any time there is a product overhaul, there needs to be a website overhaul as well, which includes the associated keywords and such so that the product is appropriately placed in the marketplace.
Are you still using flash? That’s a red flag right there. Flash is no longer the way to go. Often browsers will not support it as there have been countless security risks. Even when it is being supported, Google can’t search Flash, which means that if you’re using it, you’re going to be ranking poorly on SEO.
You’re not using Flat Design
Currently, the design style that everybody is using is the ‘flat design’. This is quite minimalistic, where there’s a lot of shorthand being used, through icons and the correct use of space. Here usability, rather than reality is key.
Obviously, that style will be left behind again somewhere in the future. But you can’t wait for that. You do have to stay caught up, particularly if your service is tech-based. So make sure you read up on flat design and if you’re page does not follow that layout, then it’s time to consider an update.
The Sites They Are a Changing
Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to stay up to date. That means spending time online, watching both your own statistics as well as what other people are doing. Then, when something is starting to become more and more common, that’s a pretty good sign that you need to implement it. Otherwise, there is a good chance that users will feel your site feels dated.
That can be the death knell for a struggling business.
So if things are going wrong, don’t decide to save money by not updating your website. Try to save that money elsewhere because your website is your first impression. It’s your shop front, your sales staff, and your customer service. Therefore, if it is less-than-perfect, you don’t get another opportunity to make an impression.
If you think you might need your businesses website updated, feel free to contact Creative Juices for a free evaluation HERE.