Contrary to popular belief, designing and launching an outstanding website alone isn’t enough. Left to its own devices, even the most stunning and user-friendly website ever coded will eventually stagnate and lose its lustre.
If anything, designing and launching a website is merely the first step in the process.
All of which begs the obvious question as to when and how frequently you should revisit and re-evaluate your website. A question that has no definitive answer, as it depends entirely on the type of business you’re running and the primary purpose of your website.
The Sooner, The Better
For example, if you have the resources available, you should think about revisiting and updating parts of your website every three months or so. Keeping a close eye on analytics and conducting regular split tests, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas for improvement, while at the same time leveraging the elements of your website that are performing best.
The larger the business and the more vital the website is to its success, the greater the importance of regular assessments and updates. If you’re running a 100% online retail business, you’ll more or less need to update your site on a constant basis to keep it on par with your competitors. If your website is little more than a flyer with a few basic details about the business you run offline, you won’t need to update it nearly as often.
It’s been suggested that if you’re running a smaller business and your current website is getting the job done just fine, it won’t need a major overhaul for at least five to eight years. In reality, waiting longer than a couple of years to spruce things up could prove catastrophic. You need only look at a handful of websites from eight years ago to see just how different things are today.
Why Update Your Website?
Times change, as do the requirements and expectations of your customers. Today, the average web user simply isn’t willing to waste time on an online entity of any kind that looks or feels outdated. Unless you can give them exactly what they’re looking for, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
This, in a nutshell, illustrates the importance of regular website updates. More specifically, there are several primary performance factors that should be revisited on occasion, in order to ensure your website is up to scratch.
The most important of which being as follows:
Accessibility and Responsiveness
Roughly translated – to what extent does your website provide a stellar user experience for mobile visitors? Have you compensated for the fact that mobile web traffic has already overtaken desktop web traffic in many key regions worldwide? Unless your website provides a flawless UX for mobile audiences, you’re already falling dangerously behind the curve.
Page Loading Times
Research suggests that most modern consumers are unwilling to wait more than three or four seconds for any given webpage to load. At which point, they’ll happily exit and never look back. It’s your job to ensure that your website performs at a lightning-fast speed at all times – irrespective of the device used to access it.
Safety and Security
Unless you can guarantee a safe and secure browsing experience for your visitors, they won’t go near you. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks on businesses and everyday consumers alike – both of which deserve the reassurance of a safe and secure browsing experience.
Now more than ever, it’s essential to ensure your website delivers the best possible first impression at a glance. This doesn’t mean going OTT with unnecessary distractions – it means making sure your website is elegantly presented, visually sophisticated and distinctive to your brand.
User Interface and Navigation
Ask yourself – is there something you could do to make it easier for your visitors to navigate your website? Could the UX be streamlined or simplified in some way for their benefit? Are you doing everything you can to encourage quick and easy conversions?
Chances are, you’ll have changed certain things about the way you do business over the years. You may have even changed your logo, your brand colour scheme or your core values. In which case, all of these changes need to be reflected on your website.
Let Metrics Show You the Way…
If your website is performing way better today than it was when you launched it two years ago, consider yourself one of the lucky few! If, like with most, your website has experienced a steady decline in traffic and conversions over time, listen to what the metrics are telling you.
There’s a reason why even the biggest and most successful businesses in the world overhaul their websites on a regular basis. Staying fresh and drawing a line between yourself and your competitors is the only way to get by. What’s more, waiting for things to hit crisis point really isn’t a sensible strategy. It’s far better to give your website a push in the right direction before things like speed, security and a poor UX become problematic.
It’s the whole ‘stitch in time-saving nine’ philosophy – or prevention being preferable to cure.
If looking for support with a web design or development project of any kind, Anchor Digital can help. Proudly supporting small and large businesses across Australia with a wide rage range of innovative SEO services, we know what it takes to propel websites to prominent positions in the SERP rankings. Call or email anytime for an obligation-free consultation with a member of the team.