Is Your Website Outdated?
Take a cold, hard, look at your baby. And by baby, I mean your website. What do you see? Odds are, you see a compilation of all your hard work (or your web developers') spun together in the form of a working website about your business. When was the last time you updated it though? Six months ago? One year ago? What am I talking about? Just because the website is functional, doesn’t mean it’s good to go forever. Forgetting or not thinking it’s necessary to do this is understandable, we get it. You put together a beast of an online presence with the sum of everything you’ve worked for, get excited, and forget (or don’t think) it needs tweaking every now and then. But this won’t be sustainable for the long haul.
The landscape of what makes a “good website” is always changing. Google is always updating its rules, requirements, and algorithms on how it judges your online presence. Besides providing you with the answers to all your burning search queries, Google’s other job is to crawl all over everyone’s websites and analyze whether they’re up-to-date, helpful, and relevant to the online world (whoa at least take me out to dinner first right?). But if you want to stay on the search engines' good side, you’re going to have to update your website. Regularly. Fortunately, there’s something that can help. We’ve made a list and checked it twice. Here’s our checklist on how to tell if your website is outdated:
CHECKLIST: What Makes a Website “Out of Date”?
Do a quick run-through of your website and answer these questions to determine if your website is outdated. This will help you keep track of where things could be going wrong. If you notice issues, write them down so you don’t forget and can more efficiently find the right team to help you fix or update them:
1. Is your website difficult to use?
If you don’t know how to answer this question, you should surf your own website. Go through it with the eyes of your ideal client to see what their user experience (UX) is like. How does the website address their needs or problems? Does it? Do all the buttons and hyperlinks work? Do you have a navigation bar that easily guides clients to the right places? There are many factors that contribute to the user experience design, it can be tricky to find or realize them all. It helps if you do a once over on every page that exists, you’ll be able to at least get an idea or feel for what’s working and what may be broken or loading too slowly. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Does your website load quickly?
Clear your cache and pull up your website. How fast does the homepage take to load? One second? Two seconds? While this may not seem like a lot of time to you, each second matters. A lot. Studies show that even a one second delay in mobile load times can sink conversion rates by up to 20 percent! Imagine ten seconds? Google has a handy tool called PageSpeedInsights that’s free to use. You just plug in your website URL, hit ‘analyze’, and it will check out your speeds and give suggestions for how to improve your website function.
3. How does the mobile version work?
Mobile is the way of the future, it’s the most widely used platform for browsing, shopping, and so much more that it can’t be ignored. Almost everyone who searches for something online is doing it from the convenience of their cell phone, tablet, or mobile device. Have you visited your website on a cell or tablet yet? If not, do it right away because what works on desktop, may not work for mobile. You could have images or text that look skewed, overlap, or crowded, which could send customers running right into the arms of your mobile friendly competitors. Google also has a helpful mobile-friendly test people can use for free to see how their website fares.
4. Do you have enough content?
This really depends on the type of business and audience you have. An informational site will need a lot more content then say, an online store that sells water bottles. Search engines do like to see optimized content on all websites though, and new content should be added regularly. The style of content should also match your brand and be consistent across all mediums (social media, blog, etc.) This tells Google and others that your site is relevant, connected, and up to date. See a pattern here?
5. What does your web design and attached media look like?
Think about how good your website looks when you evaluate it. Is it pleasing to the eye? Does it have a modern, on-brand color scheme? User interface and graphic design (UI) trends that were popping a few years ago may now be antiquated, ugly, or just plain gaudy. Customers and search engines alike love when websites have attractive (and cohesive) design, images, or other media besides written content. It’s what breaks through from the redundant stuff and keeps them coming back. More specifically, UI design encompasses all visual elements that allow your customer to interact with the product or service. For the record, no one really thinks it’s visually pleasing (or helpful) for a website to have images that look like clip art, cluttered or confusing design, pages with varying cursive fonts, or bright colors and animated graphics. Take a good look at the design, media, colors, fonts, and general style choices. Things that are flashy, small, or hard to read will not go far in your audience’s hearts and get them bouncing fast.
After reading this checklist, do you think your site is ready for a refresh? Our website designers can help! Contact us today.