When was the last time you made any changes to your website? If “It’s been a while…” is your answer, you should take immediate action.
With an estimated 85% of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses and nearly 81% of shoppers researching online before making a purchase, your website is at the core of your online marketing and sales activities. Fortunately, more and more businesses are realizing this. Research by Clutch found that in 2016, nearly half of their respondents did not have a website. In 2017, this number dropped to only 29%.
But what this also means is that your website must compete with an increasing number of other websites. As such, a website that cannot successfully engage your prospects, or one that is not updated regularly, is much like an uninviting storefront. If your storefront is rusty and full of cobwebs, do you think customers will want to enter?
88% of online consumers are unlikely to return to a website after a bad experience. In fact, keeping your website up-to-date with the changing trends and best practices is crucial to retain the ability to attract quality leads.
Here are more reasons as to why you should regularly update the content and design of your website.
1. Show your customers that you care
You’ve probably heard that content marketing is the new SEO. It’s true! When you update your website regularly or refresh its content, it shows that you care about your website and aren’t there just to boost your business.
An activity log, a link to your twitter feed, or a blog that you update every week will show your customers that you actively engage with your website and are there to provide useful, meaningful content to them. Doing so will not only entice them to keep coming back because they expect new content, but also help them to see your business as a resource.
2. Keep up with trends
Trends are important, and not just to keep your website relevant and credible for users, but also to comply with Google’s ever changing algorithms and web standards. The Internet is a dynamic, ever-changing ecosystem where the early bird still gets the worm.
Many businesses focus only on the design and navigation of their website, but fail to address content and internet marketing. It’s important to remember that both, website design and content, are subject to changing trends. Therefore, if you’re planning to give your website a design upgrade, also think about changing your website content to match your goals.
3. Deliver better user experiences
User experience (UX) focuses on the user’s emotional experience while navigating your website. If your site is slow, images don’t load or load very slowly, or if its needlessly complicated to navigate through your pages to find the information customers want, your user experience suffers.
Aesthetics and design is of fundamental importance. Choosing a specific shade of blue over another got the search engine Bing an additional annual revenue of $80 million, and judgments on the credibility of a website are 75% based on the website’s overall aesthetics.
Equally important is to make sure your website content resonates with your audience and provides them the info they are looking for quickly and efficiently. Don’t overcommit by providing your users what they don’t need. Rather, you should focus and home in on what they want to see from you, and make sure it is relevant to your business.
4. Drive SEO results
SEO best practices are always changing, and each time a search engine updates its algorithms, your website is potentially affected. Along with updating the looks and content of your website, make sure you update the code as well, as Google is constantly tinkering with its algorithms to make sure websites with useful content stay on top.
One big change coming in 2019 is the SSL as a requirement. In July 2018, Google began formally marking websites that lack SSL Certificates as insecure. If your site is missing an SSL Certificate and continues down this path, your search rankings will inevitably suffer.
Keeping yourself abreast with changes in the industry will also help you understand what SEO tricks do and do not work today.
5. Provide a seamless experience across all devices
Consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices and tablets. If your website doesn’t already have responsive web design, you need to update it right away. It’s the simplest way to make sure your website adapts itself to all screen sizes and works flawlessly on all devices.
Moreover, Google prefers websites with responsive web design. Having a responsive design also helps your website load faster and, therefore, can decrease your bounce rate.
6. Keep your website accurate
When you regularly update your website, you will be able to remove outdated third-party software, widgets that don’t work, links that are outdated and information that is irrelevant. When you give your readers what they want, you will be able to maintain a loyal group of followers.
7. Get ahead of the competition
Research into your competitors’ websites and strategies can help you understand what’s new in your industry. What user design and features are others in your industry employing? What functionalities are the big players adopting that seem to be working for them?
While not all website owners visit their competitors regularly, this can be a good starting point to inspire you to make changes to your own website.
8. Make your website more secure (in addition to an SSL Certificate)
One of the most important things you can do to prevent your website from being hacked is to make sure that your software remains up to date with the most modern technologies. This will discourage hackers from getting in, and prevent your domain name from getting blacklisted.
9. Provide business updates
If you’ve recently launched a new product or expanded to a new location, it needs to be reflected on your website!
Today, consumers prefer browsing through a company’s website before visiting their store, or even calling them directly. Your business website is, by far, the best platform to provide updates and information to new and existing customers.
10. Measure effectiveness
The older the website, the harder it is to measure its effectiveness. When you regularly update, you can equip yourself with tools that help you measure your online presence and demonstrate ROI, such as conversion tracking and user recordings.
Maintaining an up-to-date website is not an overnight job. Sometimes you need to experiment with your design and content to understand what’s working for you and what’s not.
Finally, remember — when attempting to keep your website up-to-date, it’s also important to keep an eye on whether your efforts are adding to your company’s bottom line. This is just one of the reasons why hiring an agency with specific expertise in web design is one vital step businesses should consider.
Whether consulting with your in-house team, or handing the agency the keys and saying, “Drive!”, the help of professionals like those at New Angle Media can make a great impact on your business.