8 Red Flags It’s Time to Update Your Website
Some people treat their website like it’s something you do once and it’s good for a lifetime. Others know they need to update it but life happens and their website gets pushed to the back burner – for years. Or it could be that you think your site isn’t “that old” and it’s fine.
Not having an up-to-date website is not only bad for your brand (what people see when they visit your site), Google frowns upon it. Which means that people who are searching for what you do won’t ever find your site to see how good or bad your branding is. If your site doesn’t come up when someone looks for your product or service, your business might as well not exist.
If one or more of these eight red flags are true for your website, it’s time to tweak or maybe overhaul it.
- Your site is not on a secure server. Go to your website and look at the status bar where your URL (web address) is. Is there a closed lock? Does it say “https://” and then your URL? If so, great! Your website is hosted on a secure server. If it doesn’t have those to things, it’s not.
Why it matters – It used to be that only pages that asked for credit card information had to be secured. But Google changed the rules and now unsecured sites are given a demerit in the search rankings. If you’re not showing up in the searches, moving your site to a secured server can help.
- Your site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly design. Not everyone realizes that a good website has at least two and sometimes three different designs. All the same information is there (usually) but it’s formatted differently depending on if your customer is looking at it on a phone, a tablet or a computer. Yes, that means it’s more work for your designer and developer. But you should never accept a site that isn’t mobile-ready.
Have you ever clicked on a website on your phone only to get a teeny-tiny page that you have to enlarge and move around your screen to read? If you’re like most people you don’t stick around to try to figure it out. You just click back and go to the next listing. Potential customers aren’t going to fight with your site either.
Additionally, Google will drop your site down in the listings for not being mobile ready, even if someone is looking for you on a computer.
- Your content is out of date. Every business grows, matures and expands. When you had the copy on your site written it was a great reflection of you and your business at the time. But is it still?
When was the last time you actually read your website from the home page to the last page? Don’t be surprised if you find a typo when you do. There always seems to be one. But more importantly than that, does it share the message of who you are now, of where your business is and where it’s going rather than where it was?
If nothing else it might be time to refresh and bring new life to your copy.
- Your load time is slow. This is another search results killer. Google doesn’t like websites that take a long time to load. And in the world of Google a “long time” is over 3 seconds. If your graphics, images and videos aren’t optimized correctly, it will bog your load speed.
This is something a good website designer and developer should do without you telling them when you update your site. But make sure you mention it if they don’t talk about it in your initial conversation.
- Your navigation is clunky. When most web searches were done on the large screens of computers it was easy to have sites with multiple drop-down options. Second and even tertiary navigation was normal. But with the small screens of mobile devices, it becomes almost impossible to make deep navigation work.
Addressing that requires being creative. There is only so much room in your main navigation bar. If you are a content creator you might have pages and pages of information you want to share. Work with your designer to pare down your navigation to exactly what you need. No more. No less. And make it easy for your customers to find it.
- Your site looks dated. Have you ever visited a website and just felt like it was off, that something about it didn’t feel quite right? Today’s websites have a certain visual appeal (at least they do if they are well designed) and we are unconsciously used to that. A website with old (which could be only a couple of years) graphics, colors, layout or copy triggers a gut feeling that something is less than ideal.
Don’t let your website give people the feeling they should keep looking rather than work with you.
- Your site isn’t coming up in searches. Google changes their search algorithms A LOT. The rules about what gives a site priority or pushes it down the list seem to change on a weekly basis. Take advantage of the parts of it that are within your control (we have a whole post about that you can read here). Even if your business doesn’t live in a brick and mortar store that customers visit, people like to do business with people who are local. (Funny story – we had a client jokingly tell us he liked to know he could get in his car to come yell at us if he needed to. Fortunately, he hasn’t needed to. 😊)
Set your site up so that it comes up in searches that use the “near me” function or if someone puts in the name of your town or neighborhood. Any term that someone might use to describe where you are, should be added to the copy on your site to help with local SEO.
- Your site doesn’t have a call to action. This might be the most important reason to update your website. Gone are the days of a website just being an online brochure that gives people information about your business. You need it to create lead generation. That might mean the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter, a top-of-the-funnel offer, a way to play a game or fill out a survey or even (gasp) buy something from you directly online.
- Bonus - Your site doesn’t have pixels. You may not need to completely overhaul your website to fix this one but you NEED to do it. Even if you aren’t currently running ads online and have zero interest in doing so in the near future, you need to have pixels on your website. It doesn’t hurt anything and if/when you decide you do want to run ads, you’ll be weeks or even months ahead of the curve in collecting data to create targeted audiences for your ads. Trust us, just do it. (Don’t know what that means or how to make it happen? You won’t be surprised to know we can help.)
You wouldn’t go to an important business meeting in bellbottom pants from the 1970s. Don’t let the first impression of your business be that you’re outdated, out of touch or too busy to care about your brand. Email me (Russ): RussB@RgBDesignGroup.com. Let’s start the conversation about updating your website. It’s likely easier and less of an investment than you think.