An old client of mine emailed a couple of days ago about making updates to their site. I designed their site in 2010 and has never been updated. A lot has changed over 10 years.
I think we all know if our website needs updating. We put it off because it seems like a hassle. Or it might be too expensive.
Here are some things that I’ve noticed over the years regarding outdated websites. You’d be surprised how quickly and inexpensively a website can be redesigned.
1. Your web pages load slowly
The actual website has too much junk on it that’s slowing down the processing. You can test the speed of your site at PageSpeed Insights. Shoot to have your site load in less than three seconds.
2. Bad hosting
Here are the things to look for in a good website host:
- Fast server
- Daily backups
- Good support
- High security
Earlier this year I was subcontracted to build a website for another Internet marketing firm. They’ve been hosting with this one company for many years and have dozens of clients on their account. They put new clients on this account and the hosting was super slow. Designing the new website took twice as long because the pages loaded so slowly.
There is a difference in the speed between hosting companies, especially if you’re using some of the larger hosting companies can focus more on volume than the velocity of sites.
3. Your site isn’t optimized for mobile
Look at your site on both iPhones and Android devices. Is it easy to use? Most companies don’t check this often enough. Statistics tell us that around 50 percent of web traffic come from mobile devices. Captain Obvious here: People leave websites that are too frustrating to view on mobile unless they are super motivated.
4. Your design is boring and outdated
First impressions count. Boring home pages reflect badly on your company. Some people say their company is doing fine without an up-to-date website, but they haven’t factored in the amount of business they’ve probably lost because of poor website design.
Earlier this year I redesigned a site designed in 1998. Yes, 1998. I worked with the son of the company owner and he was the one who designed it back when he was in college. It was an amazing transformation, and the company is now excited to show their site to customers and prospects.
5. Your home page is confusing
Some sites are too cryptic – it’s hard to tell what the company does. Information should be front-loaded and hierarchical. Put your most important products and services on the home page, along with information about who you are. You need to be straightforward.
6. You have SEO issues
Do you have Title tags and META Descriptions on all your pages? There are many factors regarding SEO. The first place to start is putting keywords in your Title tag that you think people will be using to find your site. A good SEO agency can do this research for you and implement it on your site.
The META Description doesn’t help a ton with SEO, but it is an important marketing tool when your page does show up on the search engine. Make it a persuasive, pertinent commercial for your page. You have about 160 characters to work with. Also, put ALT tags on your images with keywords in them.
7. Not optimized for local search
If you’re a local service company or store you should concentrate on optimizing for local search. It’s different from regular SEO. Put your physical address in the footer of every page and have a good map to your location on your home page.
I know we’re talking about websites here but having an up-to-date Google My Business profile is important for local search. If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business profile yet, do it today and start doing stuff on it — like posting pictures, getting reviews, and putting up posts.
8. You have poor conversion rates
How many phone calls are you getting? And how many people are filling out forms? I like to have contact forms on every content page. Make it quick and easy for people to get in touch. Plus, if you set it up correctly, you can know what pages are converting the best. I also have a phone number and email in the header of my websites.
9. Your site is not secure
Every hosting company has a way for you to make your site secure. To check yours, you should have HTTPS in front of the address for your site and you’ll see a little lock next to your name in your browser. The company I host with includes this for free in their hosting package. And Google considers having a secure site a factor in its ranking algorithm.
10. Save you time and money with added functionality
Add a page for setting up an appointment or downloading important forms. Have a good FAQ that answers the questions that people normally call in for.
One of my customers sold luxury villas in Belize. When they first started, they would send a full-color folder to whoever expressed an interest in getting more information. They were spending about $15 each time they sent a folder. We were getting many leads for them, so they were spending a lot of money. We created a PDF visitors could download if they had an interest in the villas. My client would send the fancier folder when they figured these contacts were legitimate buyers.
Okay, I know this list isn’t exhaustive but it’s a good place to start to do some self-evaluation about your site. And you can have a trusted friend look at your site to see what they think. Or ask your staff what they think is lacking on the website.
If you don’t know how to do some of this stuff, get a professional to help. As I mentioned earlier, it may not be as expensive as you think. And it could add a lot to your bottom line.