The web moves at light speed, so an eight-year-old website is obsolete and as such, seriously damages your business presence online.
How bad can it get?
Imagine this situation: You subscribe to the Sunday newspaper. Your first copy arrives and you enjoy it. The following Sunday the next edition arrives, but it’s exactly the same paper as before! The next Sunday the same thing happens again. How long would it take before you cancel your subscription?
Old, static websites have a negative impact on visitors. What are they supposed to think about your business? About you? Because the site has nothing new to offer, they might decide your company isn’t growing or maybe you just don’t care enough to keep them up to date. Either way, that’s worse than not even having a site at all!
Ask yourself: What’s new since I built the last version?
If your website is even a couple of years old, you’re missing important changes in design and content requirements. Google’s search engine algorithms have changed radically, making content increasingly important for ranking high.
Likewise, web design has evolved to accommodate larger desktop monitors. Sites older than 5 years were designed to fit on 14 to16-inch monitors. Today, the norm is 21″, which means fixed-width pages that once filled an entire screen shrink dramatically on bigger screens.
Ironically, the explosive popularity of smartphones and tablets means that web design has to be mobile responsive as well; i.e., viewable on small screens. Even if your site is only a couple of years old, it won’t display properly on mobile devices. Visitors don’t come back a second time if your content is a disorganized mess. So you lose traffic, leads, and revenue potential.
Taking a risk by not updating
Are you asking, “Do I really need to?” Many business owners with older sites hold back because a major renovation can be intimidating. But if you don’t, today’s consumers will pass you by. They’re more sophisticated and expect more from your site. So if you think you can keep your old site a few more years, take a look at what your competition is doing. Or your site traffic numbers. So yes, you really need to do something now.
How do I prepare?
A redesign or update gives you the chance to assess your entire business presence online and make any needed changes. Planning should include analyzing your marketing efforts, looking at any new functionality you want to add (like a rotating slideshow, video, and/or blog), as well as anything you want to remove.
Many sites I redesign are transitions from “brochureware” to “sales funnels.” Modern websites fulfill the needs of visitors by anticipating their questions and concerns, then guiding them through the sales cycle. A site containing nothing but static pages with information that doesn’t change holds little value for customers. Likewise, search engines relegate inactive, unchanging sites to a low ranking or—worst of all—bypass them altogether.
How to measure success
Before you begin a redesign, you need to take measurements of your traffic numbers and other important information. Once the overhaul is complete, take a new set of measurements. Initially, traffic should spike upward. Be sure to check the numbers periodically to make sure that everything’s on track.
A vital component in the redesign is search engine optimization, which, if done properly, attracts the right prospects and customers needed to increase business revenues. Be sure to put SEO as well as mobile responsiveness at the top of your priority list to discuss with your design/development team as integral project components.
Understanding why your website should be updated is important because you begin to see the opportunities you’ve been overlooking. A site redesign is an exciting chance to make a giant leap forward by adopting new technologies, creativity, and imagination to surprise and delight your prospects and customers. When all those elements come together successfully, the benefits accrued to your business will cause you to wonder why you didn’t do something much sooner.
If you’re interested in a free website audit, contact me and I’ll be happy to review your site and make recommendations. Call (414) 771-8906 or fill out the contact form.