The Internet, like anything, experiences trends in design and content. Websites have come a long way since the late 90s and continue to evolve and develop as bandwidth allowances get larger, connection speeds become faster, and people are more invested in their web presence as an extension of themselves.
Allowing your website to stagnate will impact both your brand image and your SEO results. Search engines rank higher those that remain vibrant than those sites that simply sit there. Ensuring your website is a dynamic entity can be difficult, depending on your industry, but the costs of having to bring it back from the dead will be far greater than those of continual, incremental refinement.
How often your site needs to be updated depends on what it is used for. eCommerce websites should be updated almost constantly, with specials and promotions, new stock and innovations providing a constant source of information to draw from. Others, that don’t sell products directly online, are not as easy to keep rolling forward with new updates, but they also aren’t expected to be as dynamic. They can rely on a regular blog, a rolling feed of tweets, and the occasional refinement of site content to ensure they are considered “alive” and provide a good user experience.
Signs It Is Time To Update Your Website
This list isn’t exhaustive, and it isn’t recommended that you wait until your website is in trouble before making adjustments. These are some of the problem areas you may notice, which can indicate your site needs some work.
Bounce rate and time on site
Having a high level of traffic on your site isn’t necessarily a good thing. If your visitors are leaving as quickly as they arrive without purchasing or contacting you, then it could be an indicator of problems that need to be fixed. It could be a sign of low engagement, which may mean your content is of poor quality and turning users away. A lack of relevance could also be the issue, with users arriving at your landing page based on its keyword optimisation, but not finding the answer they are looking for and moving on. Attracting the wrong type of traffic is as bad as having no traffic as it won’t add to your revenue or improve your business. Use your Google Analytics and Search Console to track the words that are bringing people to your site and adjust your content accordingly.
Lack of functionality
Online shopping is big business and users are becoming more interested in skipping the usual channels. With the number of ready-made options available, there is no excuse for a business to not sell directly from their site. It is a valuable channel for retailers with physical stores to add to their business and often requires less technical knowledge than assumed. Expecting users to browse your site then either call to place an order or visit your store’s location is verging on archaic and consumers will generally just buy from a competitor who offers online shopping.
Responsive sites are mandatory these days. Mobile browsing has surpassed desktop, with mobile shopping becoming increasingly popular. If your site is stuck as a desktop version when displayed on a four-inch screen, then you will lose customers. Creating a thumb-friendly version of your website is usually as simple as choosing the right WordPress template with responsiveness generally considered standard among the leading CMSs. If your site isn’t responsive, or you don’t have a dedicated mobile version available, then you are missing out on traffic and probably conversions and revenue.
If your site looks and feels neglected and this results in reluctance to show it off or give the address out, then it is time for an update. Creating a new site can be a fun, inexpensive process for a small business, or something that can be affordably outsourced for larger companies. The Internet isn’t going away and a web presence that draws users in and makes them want to engage with your brand is vital to success.
About the Author
David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.