While having a website is a great way to promote your business (and something we heartily recommend investing in), an old or outdated website might actually be harming you. So, how do you tell if your website is past it’s best or in need of an update?
Well, it’s hard to judge based on numbers alone as other factors contribute to sales figures, leads, etc. and some websites stay effective years after release. We recommend that you take an impartial look at your own site, maybe consult an expert and consider the Design, Marketing functions, Usability and Time factors.
These main areas can be broken down into further aspects, so make sure to consider the following unlucky 13 aspects of an outdated site:
Your website is ultimately a reflection of your organisation, so a sleek, modern site is likely to command more respect than an old, clunky one. Furthermore, if your site has relevant information (like pricing, contact details, descriptions of products/services) displayed front and centre, then visitors are more likely to use your products and/or services.
Also, if your website contains content that has become dated (such as blog posts on now-irrelevant topics) it makes sense to delete, update or move it to an archive page for example. However, if your website is still looking contemporary and reflects the best parts of your company identity, then you are good to go.
The rise of smart-phones and tablets means that more and more people are browsing the web and researching products and services on devices other than PCs. Adapting your website to accommodate this growing set of consumers is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury, as you run the risk of alienating your customer base with a poorly functioning (from their perspective) site.
So-called Responsive Web Design ensures that all visitors to your site get a consistently functional experience, whatever size of device they are viewing it on. For most sites, it’s easy to flex and adapt to smaller (or larger) screens, so if you still haven’t adopted a responsive site, you may be driving potential customers away.
Does your website have valid source code? Does it meet basic web standards? Is the coding technique or programming language outdated? If you struggle to answer these questions, it may be time to cast a technical eye over the basic workings of your site.
As standards are continually changing, older sites may look worse and worse in comparison with the latest offerings, especially in regard to performance and usability. Many older coding techniques slow down loading speeds, which in turn impacts user opinion of your site.
By updating the code and programming of your site, you’ll be able to improve usability, performance and the search engine rankings.
When building your site, it’s important to consider how all the design aspects will impact the user experience, especially the visuals and photography. As the old saying goes: “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so make sure that the words on your site say what you want them to.
When choosing the pictures to go on your site, using stock photos may seem easier than hiring a photographer or arranging your own shoot, but they have unique complications. Beyond the initial license fee (which can be very high for good images or versatile usage), it can be quite time-consuming to find a generic image that feels right for your business.
It bears repeating that stock images do not belong to you, so you have to pay for the privilege of using them and abide by any associated rules, which can be very restrictive. However, if you enlist the help of a photographer (or do it yourself), you’ll have custom photos that you can use as you see fit for as long as you want.
So, if you want images that really reflect the goals and identity of your business, it’s worth doing it yourself or enlisting the help fo a professional.
A call-to-action (CTA) is a button, link or function that encourages prospective customers to create a lead by completing an action on your landing page. This may be something as simple as a link to your online shop, or something a little more involved like an email form to request a quote.
Are your Unique Selling Point (USP) and CTAs are interesting and displayed prominently across your website? If not, your leads and online presence may be suffering.
With modern web developing tools, you can measure the effectiveness of your site in a wide variety of ways, such as the average length that visitors stay on your site and conversion tracking. However, these tools may not be compatible with older sites, so in order to track and measure your online presence, you need to ensure your site is up-to-date.
While the overall layout and visual content of your site is central to how visitors perceive your company, the written content will affect how they act. For example, if visitors struggle to find your catalogue, price list or contact details, they will look elsewhere for this info, potentially turning to your competitors.
You should ensure that all the text on your site is concise, relevant and consistent with your brand image to increase customer engagement and lead generation. Furthermore, if you have a content-based website, the quality and relevance of the content is vital to keeping visitors coming in.
If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about updating your website, then it’s probably time to update your digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as well. By updating the content of your site – maybe rethinking your keyword targeting as well – you can improve your online presence and search engine ranking.
One key thing to remember with your online presence is if you’re not current you’re not relevant. Update your site regularly, do your best to change with the times and you’re more likely to get noticed on a consistent basis.
The user experience of your site is so much more than how it looks and what it says. How easy is it to find important information, how quickly do the pages load, and how obvious are key features like hyperlinks?
Your website navigation should focus on providing a quick and simple experience to visitors, and most importantly not get in their way. One way to improve navigation is to streamline the process, reducing the number of actions needed to find your business email address, for example.
Urban Dictionary defines “Let’s Bounce” to mean “leave a dull place,” so how many visitors to your site bounce without visiting a 2nd page? A high bounce rate is a big red flag for an outdated or poorly performing site and indicates that visitors don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, or just don’t like what they see.
You can monitor the bounce rate of your site through Google Analytics, but remember that the rate will be affected by factors like the location, method of referral, and device. If you have a very high bounce rate on your site, it’s worth investigating your content and how you promote the site.
If your website is taking multiple seconds to load each page, only the most patient or dedicated visitors are going to stick around. If your website speed isn’t up to par, then rethink aspects of your site that are slowing it down, such as large images and animations.
Tools like Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom can help you find out the loading times of each page, but you need to get your website loading before the customer loses interest.
Ideally, you’ll be able to update your site personally, swapping out images, posts and headings as you see fit, but you may need to update your site before that can happen. While there have been many modern solutions to make web developing more accessible, older sites are significantly harder to change without coding expertise.
If you’re looking to bring your site to an easily customisable platform such as WordPress, it’s worth enlisting the help of a specialist web developer to make things go smoothly.
It should go without saying that technological advancements are a double-edged sword – for every new layer of protection, a better virus is devised – so older sites are usually more vulnerable to attack. By updating your site with the latest coding and security measures, you’ll reduce the chance of hackers accessing your sensitive information or taking down your site.
In conclusion, if any of the aforementioned aspects of your site are becoming a problem for your site, you should consider tweaking them for better performance. If you’re uncertain of how best to update your website, or want some expert advice in evaluating areas for improvement, feel free to contact a member of our web development team today.
Just send an email to [email protected] or phone the main office on 0161 285 0652 to arrange a consultation meeting today.