How do you know when it’s time to update your website? If you recently updated your site and are just feeling a bit bored with the way it looks, it might not be the best idea to go through the whole content audit and website audit process for a complete redesign. You may be able to refresh parts of your website, like the images, blog articles, or the copy of a few key pages, to make it look fresh again. If, however, it’s been more than three years since your last update, you’ll want to look a bit further into a more comprehensive redesign so that you can take advantage of the latest in website development technology. Here’s how to know whether or not you should update your website (and why you don’t want to go too long without an update).
You Should Update Your Website if…
Your Website Is More Than Three Years Old.
There are a few reasons for this. First, CMS evolve over time to accommodate higher resolution images and newer types of graphics, and the technology that your website visitors use also evolves to better display those images and graphics. SEO standards have changed in the past three years, and best practices are now completely different from what they were when you first built your site. HTML and CSS advances have made sites load faster and increased accessibility to websites for individuals with disabilities. In order to continually be putting your best foot forward, your website has to be completely redesigned and updated every few years to take full advantage of the latest technology.
You’ve Created a New Niche for Yourself or Your Company Has Gone in a Different Direction.
Sometimes companies change the focus of their service offerings or start working in different niches. You have to be sure to update your marketing materials to reflect that. Other times, businesses grow in different directions than was expected. If it’s not clear to someone who lands on your website exactly what you do and do not do, then it’s time to update its content, if not the whole look. Target markets can adapt to a changing set of customer needs and desired services. Those customers may respond to a different look than the one your site currently has.
It’s Been a Few Weeks Since Any New Content Went up on Your Website.
Nothing ages a website like stale content. If it’s been more than a few weeks since fresh content has been posted, you may be penalized in search engine results. Worse, people may wonder whether your business still exists. This could cost you leads and customers. Regular content updates like blog posts, current sales or specials, or featured social media posts are important indicators to search engines and to your audience that your business is open and operating, and available for more business.
Your Company Has Gone Through Rebranding Recently.
Your website should match your branding, so even if you recently updated your site, if it doesn’t match your branding messaging, it needs to be updated. That way, you’re presenting a united brand and likeness on all of your company’s platforms. As such, visitors to your site can be confident that they’ve landed in the right place.
Customers Have Complained about the Usability of Your Website.
Sometimes we create websites that work well for us, but not for the end-user. It’s possible that potential customers may complain about the user experience – not being able to find key information, difficulty in signing up for services or making a purchase, etc. These are all things that could cause you to lose out to competitors. If one or two customers have mentioned frustration with your website, it’s likely many others have experienced it too, yet remained quiet.
You Haven’t Performed a Content Audit Recently, if Ever.
Is your content doing the work it needs to do to bring in the customers you need in order to be successful? If you haven’t performed a content audit, it’s unlikely you will know the answer to this question. It’s likely that what you discover during the audit process will reveal inefficiencies on your site. Content audits and website redesigns and updates often go hand-in-hand to produce great outcomes.
Your Actual Analytics Don’t Come Close to Direct Competitors’ Traffic.
If you’re struggling to get visitors and leads through your website, it’s a pretty clear indicator that your website isn’t working effectively as a lead generation tool, and might need to be reassessed. If you begin to see trends in your analytics for a few months (more than one – so you know it’s not a fluke) like your number of sessions decreasing, bounce rate increasing, pages per session decreasing, less organic traffic, and your conversion rate decreasing, those are red flags that your website is failing to measure up. If your numbers aren’t where they should be, it is probably time for a complete overhaul.
Why You Should Update Your Website Regularly:
It Helps People Find You.
Every time you add new content on your website, search engines pick it up. Websites with recently updated content are more likely to rank higher in relevant search results. So what’s even better than doing a complete overhaul on your site? Making small, noticeable changes incrementally that will add up to make a big impact and keep you relevant longer.
It Improves the Security of Your Site.
Companies are hacked every day, and sometimes, that hacking involves their websites. By keeping your website updated, not only will you know if your site has been compromised relatively quickly, you’ll also be sure that your site doesn’t become blacklisted. Logging in frequently helps you keep on top of the most recent updates to platforms and add-ins.
We’re Constantly Learning Better Ways of Using Websites to Market Our Products and Services.
Simply from a marketing standpoint, you probably know a lot better what sorts of words and information is likely to help you close a deal than you did three years ago. Updating your calls to action on your website and making use of analytics and heat mapping software can help your website work harder for your lead generation efforts.
Slow Websites Increase Bounce Rates.
The older your website is, the slower it is likely to load. If you don’t grab your visitors’ attention within the first few minutes of them arriving on your site, you’re likely to lose them to a competitor who does. Keeping your website updated improves the speed and functionality of your website.
Updated Websites Drive Conversions.
It’s not just about getting people to find your website, it’s also about getting them to stay on your website and ultimately purchase the products and services you and your company offer. If it’s been half a decade since you last updated your site, it’s unlikely you’re getting the numbers you could be getting with a more state-of-the-art design, tighter content, and greater usability.
Consistent Updates Are Best.
If you redesign your website, rather than wait another 3-5 years before doing anything to update it, it’s best instead to make incremental content updates every month, or even smaller updates, like new blog content, on a weekly basis. Tighten your site’s SEO. Make sure all images have alt-descriptions. Create fresh content for the pages. Whatever you can do to keep your site fresh will benefit your company in the long run. If you need help with either a complete redesign, a website and content audit, content migration to a new site, or regular content production, EVG can help with any and all of it! Contact us to learn more about our content services.
Ronda Bowen – Content Creator