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How Do You Know When It’s Time To Update Your Website?

18/09/2013
John Crafts

It’s been said a million times: “In this day in age, your web impression is one of the most important marketing tools as a business or service provider”, but how do you know when it’s the right time to update your website? Many business like to give their websites a facelift every few years to stay up with the current best web practices and design trends, while other business like to stay with their sturdy, tried and true, unchanging design. Which one is the best approach? The answer is difficult and it also depends on your business, so it’s best to keep a few key principles in mind:

SEO Optimization
Search Engines use many different algorithms and programs to determine how your website can be ranked against others. These equations change often and are not free to public knowledge (for the most part) so it can be difficult to tell what it takes to put your website in the best rank. Due to these changing rules it is key to stay on top of updating your website, or at least its content, to best aid search engines in finding your pages. If you have neglected updating your website’s content, keywords and other information you could be falling in those ranks, or worse, even blocked or marked down by Google and other major search engines. This is especially true within the last few years when Google made major algorithm changes. Google increasingly focuses on keywords and pays more attention to content and links to the site. Older websites that focused solely on keyword use have been reporting major declines in search engine ranks and some have even been blocked due to Google’s strict keyword policies. Technology changes quickly, so if you haven’t given your website some love within the last year, chances are it’s getting a little dusty.

Changing Web Technology
It’s no surprise that the web is changing faster than it ever has. More and more people are solely viewing websites on their phone, tablet or other mobile device, so making sure that your website is mobile-friendly is key to reaching all the users that you can. With all of these changes in devices, operating systems and browsers, it’s important to make sure that your site is compatible with new updates as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that potential customers and clients slip through the cracks.

Modern Web Design Trends
Design trends on the web are incredibly important since the way that people interact with that technology is constantly evolving. Keeping the design elements of your website up to date will make it look more current and it will also make navigating your site more natural for the user. Most users will view your page for about 5 seconds before they click on something, so within those 5 seconds you have to present a compelling message and direct them to the most important content on your site.  If you don’t keep up with the current design trends, those 5 seconds are easily lost because they are displayed in a way that is unappealing or unfamiliar.

Business Changes
Not only does the web and technology change, but your business changes as well. When design and content of your website is neglected, the lack of updates and new details about your company make it seem sloppy or outdated to potential customers. Keeping these elements up to date are easy, quick fixes that can greatly improve the overall view of your website to your customers.  Your website is essentially your digital handshake, so make sure your first impression is the best it can be.

So what does this all mean at the end of the day? If your website has been untouched for a year or more, you are falling behind with the principles we’ve described here. Set aside some time throughout the year to take a look at every page of your website, read through all its content, take a look at the images and click on all the links, and even view your competitors’ websites.  How does your website compare to theirs? How can you improve your online message to stay competitive in your field?  Just as you would go to the doctor for an annual check-up, your website deserves a periodic check-up as well.