How To Tell When Your Website Needs Updating
In an ever evolving digital world, your website forms the foundation of the online presence for your business. It's the first point of contact and sets the scene for how users perceive your business - don't miss the opportunity to make a good first impression. While the look and feel of your website must be a strong representation of what your business offers, even more important is making sure that technically it runs well. An out of date site may cause potential customers to very quickly leave whilst a polished site is likely to see an increase in your conversions. But how do you tell when it's time to update your existing site.
Slow Loading Pages
Page speed is as important for your visitors as it is for the search engines that make you visible in the first place. Google has said in the past that page speed will impact on your rankings. As much as a fast site is good SEO practice, it's even more important for your User Experience (UX). If visitors encounter a slow site, they aren't likely to stick around; most users leave a site within 6-10 seconds.
To see how long your site is taking to load, PageSpeed Insights is a great tool.
Time on Page dropped? Unique page views gone down? You may have missing pages (a 404 problem) or other technical issues. A 404 problem means pages on your site can't be found, which you may be directing your users to if you haven't updated the link. Sometimes though, the browser can be the issue depending on how your site is designed; so take some time to use other browsers to see what your visitors see.
Using Search Console, you can see any crawl errors your site has.
Not being Mobile Friendly
Is your site mobile friendly? Yes? No? Somewhat? Whatever the answer the bottom line is that it must be. As well as the fact that more and more people are accessing the web from their mobile with 60% of searches now carried out on Mobile devices, Google is also moving to a mobile first index. This means if your site isn't mobile friendly, you are going to see a noticeable difference in your rankings.
PageSpeed Insights mentioned above will give you a mobile friendly score.
Poor UX & Web Design
Ever been on a website where you don't know where to click first or it's been so laden with pop up's that you simply left in frustration? That's poor UX. If you wouldn't use a website with poor UX, don't let your visitors use one either. Your website should be mapped out so it's coherent with a logical flow. Web Design also changes very rapidly and if your web design is out of date, not only will you lose visitors you will lose credibility.
It may seem fairly obvious, however it's easy enough to update your details but forget to update your website to match. So:
- Are your contact details correct? Don't forget this includes your social media links too
- Is your content up to date? If you are regularly updating your content eg with a blog, it should be up to date. If it was last updated in 2015 it suggests your business is not up to date with what is current. Otherwise it's good practice to have some generic messages on your website that don't date.
- Are your services correct?
- Have you got a Call to Action? For example, how do they contact you
A good sign your website needs updating is if you can't easily make content updates or can't make them at all.
Now this one we treat with caution as it is entirely dependent on the purpose of your website. If you're an e-commerce site, this is more likely to apply to you. Bounce rate refers to how many people use your site and visit more than one page. The higher the percentage, the less pages they are visiting. For some websites this isn't an issue as they may only be 1 page or serve a very specific purpose. But for others a high bounce rate is a problem. If you have a high bounce rate that needs to be low, it's usually an indicator that your UX needs updating as visitors are finding it hard to navigate around your site.
There are a number of factors that you need to monitor and review to ensure your website's continued success. While you don't need to be aware of every facet of website optimisation - having a key understanding of the foundations will ensure that you are best equipped to critically review your website and look to make regular improvements.
As these factors have become very rapidly important in the structure of websites, we have redeveloped a lot of new and existing clients websites to bring them up to date with these changes. This can be done through a custom built site or an off the shelf solution depending on your needs. Using our in house designer, we not only develop the technical parts of your website but also assess your design and UX to ensure your website is fully developed for both its front and back-end. If your website is due for a change, let's have a chat about what to do next.