Posted on May 25, 2017 at 17:45 PM
Was your slick-as-a-whistle website driving sales, bringing in new warm leads, and ranking high on search engines, but to your dismay the activity and rankings have taken a nose dive? Your company invested in a high-quality website several years ago, so why is business declining? The simple answer is, your website is now as trendy as 80’s bangs. To put it another way; you need a facelift pronto.
A website that is over five years old is practically a dinosaur, at least according to Orbit Media’s latest study on website lifespans. The Internet is an ever-evolving, ever-advancing entity, and as such, your website should reflect the constant changes that take place online each year. Does that mean you have to gut your website every year just to stay relevant? Not necessarily. However, there are some factors to consider in order to determine if an overhaul or update is in order.
- You’re stuck in the past. How has your business evolved? Has your content strategy changed? Has your industry in general evolved? This is especially important if you are in an industry such as technology or medicine, since new breakthroughs are taking place every day. If your website looks as outdated as the first iPhone, you can bet customers will assume you’re old-school, too. Your website should be a reflection of your knowledge and experience in your industry, and that you have your finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest in offerings. Just as your business evolves, your brand and accompanying website should, too.
- Your Google rankings are dropping. If you are noticing a steady decline in your rankings on Google and other search engines, chances are they are finding your site less and less relevant for searches pertaining to your industry. New algorithms are advancing the way people navigate the Web, and semantic search is the most advanced and sophisticated way to find what you’re looking for online these days. Simply put, quality content that answers a question or need makes your site more likely to rank well. For example, if you operate a website that sells golf lessons, your content should provide the ideal answer to a search that might look like, ‘how to improve my golf swing.’ You don’t necessarily have to include the actual search terms; Google is slick, and they can see your site offers that solution without you having to plug keywords into every paragraph. This is a big improvement over the early days of SEO, when buying domains and making every sentence barely readable so keywords could be included were a basic necessity.
- Your competition looks better. This may seem obvious, but you should always have an eye out for what your frenemies are up to. Peruse their site every now and then and ensure that your site is cleaner, richer, more easily navigated and has a clear sales funnel starting with an email sign up or drawing entry. You should always capture your prospective customers’ information whenever possible. You can be sure your competition is.
- Your have a trendy website. Two years ago, the parallax, or one page website, was the cat’s meow. However, it was just that – a trend. These pages seemed to scroll on forever, especially if you had a business that merited a lot of information being on your site. In addition, because they were all only one page, Google only indexed, you guessed it, one page. That’s no bueno when other sites have pages and pages of information to index. The parallax is already giving way to more minimally navigated websites with separate pages and more comprehensive sitemaps. In one sense, traditional navigation is still the best practice. Why? Don’t fix what isn’t broken! The right navigation funnel will have your customer finding their desired goal page within two or three clicks. One column websites with video, large imagery and clean fonts tend to be the best performing sites in 2017. While they present less information per scroll depth, they capture interest and attention and keep viewers on the site longer, thereby increasing your chance to convert a visitor into a customer. Video is of course, still the best sales tool on any website.
- Your website is not mobile friendly. That’s right, it’s official; more people look up sites on their tablets and phones than their laptops or desktop computers. That means if Captain Obvious hasn’t knocked on your door yet, you need to make sure your website looks great and operates flawlessly on both tablets and smart phones. If your last re-design was five or more years ago, chances are it isn’t formatted with new larger screen sizes or faster processors.
Now that you know your website needs some work, there’s no need to panic. New content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Shopify, make keeping your website looking fresh with minimal updating as easy as uploading a new theme or plugin to the back end of the website. With a few other tweaks, you can make your site look like new whenever you’d like. The harder your site is to update, the less likely you’ll do it on a regular basis. Clunky sites built in HTML are a thing of the past.
Easy strategies, such as quality content injections or trimming up your navigation, can really clean up an existing site. Remove links that people click on the least. An easy face lift might include re-designing the home page for a really high impact for new and return visitors alike. New layouts on interior pages can make existing content seem fresh. And of course, new content is like a delicious glass of iced tea for Google’s search bots. Ahh. We can hear your rankings going up already.