It’s easy to get comfortable with a tried and true website that has been doing its duty for years. However, just like a car, every website needs a tune-up now and again. Sure it’s running and behaving the way it was designed, but are you getting good mileage?
Here are some simple ways to tell if your website is not performing to your full advantage.
1) Does your Facebook page rank higher than your business? If you do a Google search for your business or service, is your Facebook page higher in the search results than your website? If the answer is “yes,” you need SEO work. Search Engine Optimization is not a one-time operation. Depending on your type of business, it should be done at least once a year. Search terms, keywords and optimization techniques are constantly changing. If you’re not keeping up with those changes, your website could be lagging behind the times.
2) You get phone calls for services you don’t offer. Visitors to your site may be confused by your content, causing them to misinterpret exactly what it is that your business does. The fix could be as simple as updating the language to appeal to a younger target audience. Or perhaps your business has grown and changed, but your website hasn’t. It’s time to make sure your audience is getting the correct message.
3) All your customers are over the age of 40. This of course, depends on what kind of services you offer, but generally, if you have a broad-based target, but are only reaching part of it, you may be missing out on the mobile revolution. You can no longer ignore the fact that mobile website access is a key factor in who is looking at you. According to Digital Buzz, 91% of the world population owns a mobile phone and 50% of those use their phone as their primary access to the internet. Make sure your website is mobile-ready and responsive.
4) Your site reminds you of your Grandmother’s kitchen. Is your colour scheme orange and brown? Maybe you’ve got a little bit of avocado green in there. In some cases, retro can be a good thing (retro is in), but there is a fine line between retro and “old and tired.” Look at your competitor’s websites. Are they sleek, modern and flashy? Much of internet traffic is based on a visual first impression which is formed within 3½ seconds of landing on a website. If your website is unattractive, visitors will move on quickly.
5) You can’t seem to attract attention to a new service. If your company is branching and growing, but your customers are only interested in your one main service, it may be that your content needs updating. Many business owners with old websites don’t update their content because it is a hassle to contact their hosting company or web master and pay them to make changes to the site. With a CMS (Content Management System) website (such as WordPress), you can make changes anytime you want, as often as you want, and at no additional cost. You are in control of exactly what your website has to say, and you don’t have to be a programmer to do it. (It’s very easy!)
6) Your website refuses to accept new technology. Does your website grind to a halt if you try to post a video? Are there broken image icons where your pictures should be? New web trends require updated functionality. Internet operations are advancing all the time, making surfing the net faster, easier and more accurate. If your website isn’t working with these, your website simply isn’t working.
7) Your copyright date is three years old. If your copyright date is 2012 or older, it’s obvious that you haven’t updated your website in quite a while. People do notice these things. If you don’t have a copyright date posted at all, you could be treading on dangerous ground. Content theft is running rampant and not having a copyright date leaves you open to infringement issues.
8) Your home page vaguely resembles a page from the classified ads. If you offer advertising space to other businesses to help offset your costs, you may be giving away your customers. This distracts visitors and they become confused about the purpose of the site they’re visiting. Is it a business site or an internet bulletin board? It may cost you to break out of this vicious circle, but it will be worth it in the end.
9) Your website is the center of your business universe. No man is an island – neither is your website. Links going to and from your website are extremely important for SEO as well as your business reputation. If you don’t have social media, no one is talking about you. If you can’t share your content, you may be out of touch. People like the ability to comment, discuss and share. Just remember that sharing (aka word-of-mouth) is where most customers come from.
10) Your kids think your website is lame. They are, after all, the future. And if they lose interest, so will the rest of the younger generation. Your kids are a good way to gauge what is attracting the attention of a younger and more technologically savvy consumer group. If you’re not in touch with the kids, you’re dying with the dinosaurs.
Updating your website doesn’t have to be a painful process and it doesn’t have to be an expensive one either. Even a few minor updates can make all the difference between a dollar and a dud. The best way to get in tune with what you need to accomplish is to go surfing yourself. Look at other websites (they don’t necessarily have to be competitors). Get some ideas to help you get started, then find someone who can help you do it.