We are all guilty of neglect when it comes to our websites, it can easily be a case of out of site out of mind, but updating your website is vital to your businesses success.
We spend months working on a website to get it live and then once it is our efforts turn to other things, which were previously placed on the backburner.
For so many businesses a website is a tool to get more business and when it is successful it means we’re too busy to concentrate on running our business and give the website the time and attention it deserves and needs.
Even the websites which are updated regularly, either with products or content, can be neglected as we just do what needs to be done.
Although we also know a lot of businesses aren’t even doing the most basic of updates – which included updating themes, plugins and software, which can become extremely unstable if left too long.
Not only could outdated files affect the running of your website it could make it more vulnerable to a security breach.
An up to date website shows visitors that you are organised and take pride in your online presence.
Value for money
For many smaller businesses, a website can be one of the first big investments and it can take a while to recoup the cash.
But if a website is then left for too long the only option sometimes is to spend yet more money fixing it as the chaos is too time-consuming for you to sort out.
But regular TLC and maintenance will keep it working well and looking relevant so ongoing work will be kept to a minimum.
Another problem too is that if you don’t stay on top of your site it’s easy to forget how to update it if you don’t do it fairly soon after.
First impressions count
An out of date website can be more detrimental to a business than having no website at all. After all who wants to use a web developer, electrician or hairdresser, for example, who don’t pay attention to detail.
Remember your website is often the first impression many have of your business and it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So, if someone visits at midnight you need to ensure they leave knowing everything they need to about your business and if they can buy online they need to be able to complete the transaction hassle free – after all there is unlikely to be anyone else around at that time to help.
HINT * It’s not just your website you should take time out to look at either, it’s always good to know how your competition compares.
Content is king
New content is a search engine’s best friend, so regularly updating your news or blogs is essential if your website is to rank highly on Google (and other search engines).
Automated ‘bots’ are out crawling the web 24/7 but new content will send out a come and get me please to the bots and prompt them to come and pay you a visit.
If you’re not updating your website as often as your rivals then they will be given preferential treatment and rank above you in the search results.
If your website posts have dates, but you’re not prepared to or don’t have enough content to post regularly it’s worth removing them, so you don’t draw attention to a lack of updates.
It’s not only themes and plugins which go out of date. Technology never stands still either, with browsers and devices constantly being updated – all of which can affect the visibility of your website. A new flash browser, for example, can affect the way your site displays – something you want to be aware of before your customers.
It’s not just external factors which change though – personnel, prices and products regularly change in all businesses but the website doesn’t always reflect those changes.
Every business should be periodically reviewing all aspects of their business, so adding your website to the list should be an easy task.
5 questions to ask every month
Are images still relevant – not only to the business but also to the season?
Is content still relevant? – are products still available, staff still employed and contact details all still correct?
Is everything in the back end up to date? run all updates, run a link checker to check for any broken links and test contact forms and downloadable files.
Does your website still reflect your business and your marketing efforts?
Do you still like looking at your website? If you don’t why would your potential clients.
Use the tools you have available
There are so many free tools available that understanding your website couldn’t be easier. Google Analytics allows you to monitor just about anything and everything from page impressions to visitor locations and popular content through to time spent on the website.
It is worth deciding on the key performance indicators that are important to you and monitor the statistics month on month.
You will understand what works on your website and what doesn’t – and then if time is at a premium you can concentrate it in the right areas.
A change is as good as a rest
With new technology and apps arriving on the market all the time, there are plenty of new features you could add to your website month on month to attract and engage more customers and if you don’t have the capacity to do it yourself – use your web developers to do it for you.
Whether it’s video or animations, lead magnets, competitions or just good old fashioned quality content there’s always something to get people visiting your website. But once they’re there you need to make them count. Whether it’s by converting them to paying customers or at least leaving you their contact details so you can target them further down the line.
Regularly updating your website also gives people a reason to keep on coming back, especially if they know the content will be good and once they’re there it’s always easier to convert them into a customer, which is the main aim of the website.
Updating and analysing your website should be as important as doing your accounts every month after all that is often the first experience potential customers have of your business. So it needs to be fresh, up to date and a great advert for your brand at all times.
Here at Webthinking we know that when designing a beautiful website, its success would be nothing without considering all the background technical elements that are essential to its working. Call us on 0800 644 2640 or click here to find out how we can help you.