Are you a seasoned business owner? Have you been in the game for a few years now and feel things are going pretty well? Perhaps that old website from 2012 still looks ok. It was state-of-the-art once upon a time. People can find you online. It’s all good, right? Not so much. Your outdated website is hurting your business.
Long gone are the days when merely having a website presence is enough. You are likely missing out on potential customers and clients by having an outdated website. It should be used as your primary marketing tool and drive clients to your business on a consistent basis. Your website is supposed to actively working for you – not just sitting there, waiting to be found.
Things have changed tremendously in the last few years and what your website isn’t doing might hurt your business. Let’s explore these changes and what you might be missing out on.
Does Your Website Look Dated?
If your site was built before 2017, your website likely looks dated, even if you still love it yourself. Websites are for the visitors who use them. Many who arrive at your site may deduce that because your site looks dated, your business isn’t able to keep up with the changing times. Some may assume your business isn’t even active any longer, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve updated the images, text, or blogs on your site.
Does Your Website Reflect Your Current Brand?
Not only is it important that your site reflect a current look, but your website should also be a reflection of your growing company. For example, if your most current news and events entry is from 2015, your site isn’t speaking to who you currently are as a company or organization.
Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
It’s true that you can see your website on a mobile phone; however, is it optimized for viewing on all screen sizes? Or, do people still need to enlarge your pages and scroll just to find your tiny phone number? Taking this example a step further, will your site allow viewers to then automatically dial your phone number? Visitors expect little things like that to be made easy for them. You’ve probably come to expect the same when you visit other sites, too!
Any website features that begin to become annoying for those myriads of people who surf online using their mobile devices (52.2% of all people, by the way), will be noted by search engines. Google will actually penalize you for not having a mobile-friendly site. The primary objective of Google is to make all things better for internet users. They know it is no longer OK to ask website visitors to hunt and stretch and squint. If you’re not keeping up with the times, Google will never send your site to the top of their search results, period.
Additional Google Requirements
Did you know that Google will also penalize your site if it is not secured with an SSL certificate? An SSL certificate simply adds an additional layer of security to the information as it is coming and going from your site.
You can easily check to see if you have this feature. If your website address say “HTTPS” at the beginning, then you are all set. A URL beginning with “HTTP” means your site is not secure. Google has begun flashing up a warning screen for those sites that do not have SSL certificates, warning visitors that they cannot guarantee that your site is safe to visit. This is sure to drive down the number of visitors to your website, not to mention keep you from the top of the search results list.
Are you aware that website loading speed matters? If your website takes too long to load, visitors will grow impatient and leave. If visitors are unhappy, Google is unhappy and will, again, penalize your ranking with them. Take a free site speed test at GT Metrix and see how your site stacks up.
Additional Legal Requirements
This past summer, governments in the European Union enacted a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that helps protect website visitors and the data collected on them by a website. If there is a chance you might have a visitor on your site from the European Union, you are bound to comply. Read here to learn more about the specifics of GDPR.
Just a note…our Fisher Green Creative maintenance clients received an email well before the June 2018 deadline, advising of this change. It’s a good reminder to stay connected to your website experts so that you are always covered!
Focus on Driving More Traffic to your Website
In this day and age, websites can be better built to convert your visitors to customers. Search Engine Optimization, commonly known as “SEO”, is not so difficult to understand. Simply put, you must make honest, consistent, and deliberate efforts to send your business to the top of Google’s search result pages.
Quick start steps to great SEO include:
• creating great content
• keyword research
• consistent addition of new and helpful content which includes blogging (If your website doesn’t have a blog Forbes thinks it certainly should and we agree!)
• add calls to action to your site.
Is Your Site Secure?
In addition to an outdated look, sites built prior to 2017 is likely utilizing outdated software. While there is no magic bullet to ensure your site will never get hacked, there have been many major improvements to website security systems in recent years. You should make sure yours is up to date ASAP.
Be Ready for 2019
As you can see, there are many great reasons to update your website. Thank that old site, delete it, and let it go! Prepare your business for 2019 by utilizing the most up-to-date technologies and practices and show your visitors that your business is current, active, and will continue to march forward into the new year!
~Kathy Fisher, Co-Owner @ Fisher Green Creative, firstname.lastname@example.org