When was the last time you updated your website? Most business owners want to concentrate on their core business, not updating their website. Yet, many of your customers will form their first opinion about your business from your website, so it is important to review it once in a while.
Here are some signs and tests to see if your website is due for an overhaul.
1. The information is inaccurate
This is the worst problem your site could have. If you have incorrect info, you definitely want to correct it ASAP. Most importantly, make sure your contact info and product/service info are correct.
2. It has broken links or non-working features
If your site is so old that you have missing pages, broken links, or other non-working features, it’s time to review it.
3. The photography is out-of-date or amateurish
If your site shows products that you no longer sell, or has out-of-date photos of your restaurant or store, it’s time for an update. Also, as bandwidth has increased, photos on websites have gotten bigger and more plentiful. People are drawn to photos while they tend to skim text.
Going even further, videos can do a much better job of explaining difficult concepts or describing your products than text and photos.
4. The call-to-action is not clear
One question you need to ask yourself is, “does my website clearly guide users to do what I want them to do?” For example, you might want them to purchase something on your site, or to call you for an appointment, or to visit your store or restaurant. If your site doesn’t clearly guide users to the goal, a re-design might be in order.
5. The overall design is dated
Your website is a reflection of your business. When someone is searching online, your website is the first things they have to form an opinion about your company, store, restaurant, or service. An old or amateurish website reflects badly on your business.
Some signs of old or amateurish sites include having a splash page, too many colors, very narrow page layout, and small photos.
Take a look at your competitors’ sites and see if yours stacks up. All other things being equal, people will go to the site that looks more modern and updated.
6. It is not mobile-friendly
Do this experiment: take out your smartphone and bring up your website. If your site is really tiny and impossible to read and navigate without pinching and zooming, it’s not mobile-friendly.
Even worse, does your website have any Flash content? If so, it won’t work on any Apple devices, which is a huge problem, especially in the U.S.
Mobile web traffic es expected to exceed desktop web traffic in 2014. Is your site ready?
7. It doesn’t play well with social networks and search engines
Try this experiment. Type in your website’s URL into a Facebook status update. Wait a second and see what Facebook displays for your site. Are you happy with the thumbnail it came up with? (if it even came up with one). Are you happy with the text that it is using to describe your company? If people share your website, these are the first impressions of your company that they will see.
You can try the same thing on Google. When you Google your company, what photo and summary show up for your business?
Finally, does your site make it easy for people to share it on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter with sharing buttons?
8. It is difficult to update
In the Dark Times, you had to know HTML in order to update a website, and many business owners did not have the time or didn’t want to spend the money to keep their sites current. Well now, there are content management systems like WordPress that allow you to keep your website updated even if you don’t have a master’s degree in computer science. It’s almost as easy as updating a Word document. If your website is easy to update, you’ll do it more often, and your site will have more accurate information for your customers (and it will rank better with search engines).
9. It doesn’t have recent security updates
A site that hasn’t been updated in a long time probably doesn’t have recent security patches and is more vulnerable to being hacked.
If your site uses a content-management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, when was the last time you updated your plugins? You should get a competent web developer to update them at least once a year.
If your site uses a CMS, you should also make sure it gets backed up every so often.
10. It is not multilingual or accessible to handicapped people
Depending on your market, it might be prudent to make your site multilingual and/or accessible to people with disabilities (more and more the latter is becoming a requirement). There are modern WordPress plugins that will automatically translate your site to a different language with the press of a button. But since machine translation is flawed, these plugins will also let you tweak the translation. Really cool.
So, how did your business website stack up? – Brian