Websites are usually the first point of contact with potential new customers and clients. They are the first impression you give as a company, setting the scene for your professionalism, branding, and purpose.
They are modern business cards, office receptions and mission statements all rolled into one, and if you don’t get yours right, it’s immediately a huge blow to any potential business.
But how do you know if your website is up-to-date? It’s only a few years old, surely it’s still fit for purpose?
Well, with the online world changing so rapidly, a few years might as well be a lifetime.
If you recognise any of the following signs, then you might need to update your website before the real rot sets in and you can’t recover from it.
Not mobile friendly
There are over a trillion Google searches a year now, and over half of those are on mobile devices. With these figures expected to grow, Google has decided that focusing on mobile-friendly websites is the future.
Google now rates websites based on their mobile rendering, which basically means how they look on phones and tablets. The perfect site in Google’s eyes loads quickly with all the information readily at hand and works specifically for phone or desktop to give any device user what they want in an efficient way.
Add into this the rise of voice searches through phones, Amazon Echo and Google Home, and websites need to be ready for an online world of home assistants and artificial intelligence.
Hard to navigate
Modern websites are all about one thing; user experience.
The aim is to make your site as simple and as easy to use as possible. People who come to your site don’t want to have to read 200 words and click through a couple of pages just to find out how to contact you.
A modern website is simple, intuitive and fast. First-time users should know just by looking at the home page what it is you do, how you do it, and why they should choose you. If they want to go further, then access to a particular action or to more detailed information should be easy to find and quick to get to.
If you’re not sure if your site is easy to navigate, show it to a friend who doesn’t do much browsing and ask them to find your contact details. If they take longer than 5 seconds, you need a new website.
Page speed is slow
Unfortunately, thanks mostly to the internet, we now live in an era of instant gratification. If your website takes longer than a measly three seconds to load, 53% of users will leave. This causes a problem for older sites as potential customers equate a slow site with a slow business.
There are many things which can cause a website to load slowly, including redirect issues, technical problems, slow servers, poorly optimised images, poor quality code or too many plugins. A website is like a car – the longer you have it, the more problems it will gather. Older sites, just like older cars, tend to be slower, less reliable and more expensive to fix in the long run.
Drop in ranking
If you’re on the first page of Google’s search results, congratulations, it’s not an easy task. The real challenge – as many, many business owners will attest to – is staying there.
With Google’s updates constantly setting the bar higher and higher, staying competitive in the rankings takes a lot of work. If you’ve noticed a drop in ranking, but you’re still doing all the same things, it may be because your website is too old.
This may be because the latest algorithms have found something wrong with your site, such as page speed or not being mobile-ready as mentioned above.
But even if you’re doing everything right and staying up-to-date with the latest developments, old content can come back to bite you.
The quality of content is now a major factor when it comes to ranking, so if your old site has blog posts from years ago which are just filled with keywords and repetitive, boring information, then even this could be enough for other sites to overtake you in the search results.
Your business has grown
By their very nature, a successful business will change over time. If this happens, then you must change your website to match.
If a company’s branding has changed, then the website needs to be consistent with the new branding. And it’s not just obvious things like logos; fonts, colours, and formatting all need to be updated, otherwise the site won’t reflect your new brand.
As businesses grow, so too do their services and products. Make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest information, especially contact information. If you have an “About Us” page with staff bios, remove anyone who has left and add any recent employees.
Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all constantly changing, and an old website may not have the necessary add-ons and plugins to handle the latest code.
Time for a new website?
A website isn’t just a necessary evil that business owners must have in order to seem modern.
Websites are now the first and last port of call for many customers, and companies without a website are regarded with suspicion, not being deemed as “legitimate”.
This is why it is essential to have a modern, clean, and fast site, which is easy for people to use, to find what they are looking for, or to give them the answers they want.
If you started out on your own, and have grown a steady and successful business, maybe it’s time to update your website too.
Or if your small business has been doing well, but has stagnated lately, a new website may just be the answer to kick-starting a new phase of development and growth.
Whatever your reason for wanting a new website, we can help.
From design, practicality, content and SEO, we can handle everything, giving you a beautiful, Google-friendly website that’s easy to use and modern enough to cruise through the next few years of internet updates.
Contact us today for more information about how we can help update your website and bring your business into the modern online world.
With experience in everything from graphic design to teenage counseling, Gary finally settled on writing as his main weapon of choice. “But writing is just one part of this job, which is why I love it so much. It’s hard to get bored with so many irons in the fire. If I’m not researching an article, I’m on Social Media, or working behind the scenes to optimise a site for Google’s latest algorithms. I learn something new every day, and each day brings with it new challenges.”