Business website technology changes fast. How do I know when it’s time to update my website?
But it still works.
Famous last words of a website marketing campaign. The business owner doesn’t want to update his website because it still shows up online and conveys the main message. Things haven’t changed that much. It still gets us some leads, still gets the job done.
But overtime, the gap between getting the “job done” and attaining optimal results grows. Online technology evolves, and at times businesses must assess when it’s time to move their platforms with those changes.
You could use a 15 year old website design if you wanted to. But there is no logical reason whatsoever to that long to update your website.
#1 Functional Changes
The first reason to update your website design is to take advantage of new tools. Platforms often update with functionality that improves your content creation and marketing efforts.
The main functional advantage in the past decade is the advent of the content management system (CMS). A CMS is a software interface that let’s users update content without having to go into the back-end code.
It used to be that when a marketer wanted to add an image, change text, or create a simple page, she’d have to assign the work to a developer who’d use HTML or CSS to change the content on the website. A time consuming extra step.
With a CMS platform, this marketer can make these changes without using programming language. The interface is as simple as a word processing program, requiring no technical skills.
If you’re still sending basic website changes to your programmer, it’s time to update your website.
Mobile devices are a user change requiring a website design update.
Today, over half of all online browsing takes place on mobile devices. These small screens need a different format to display webpages, called a mobile responsive. This simply means that when someone views your webpages on their phone, it automatically formats the content so it’s easy to view and interact with on a small, touch screen.
Mobile responsive design was expensive, but like many website innovations, it’s become ubiquitous and is included in most template designs.
If your website isn’t mobile responsive, it’s time for an update.
#2 The Template Advantage
Many small business owners cringe at the idea of getting a new website design because of the time and expense involved. And true, until recently most sites were custom designs that cost thousands and could take months to develop.
Today, however, there are many excellent templates that are CMS systems, mobile responsive, and far quicker to customize and take live. We used to spend months on website projects, but today our UXI template designs can be customized in just a few weeks. Costs are a fraction of what they used to be, with options to get a free website design (UXI is free when you market with us).
Design time and costs are not the barriers they once were. You could update your website design today quickly and affordably on a template, with results superior to the custom designs of just a few years ago.
#3 Websites Age in Dog Years
A year in a dog’s life is equivalent to seven years for a human.
About the same for website design. Your business ages one year, but for your website it’s more like six.
It may have been 3 years since you updated your logo. But the perceptive effect of three years on your website is more like 18 years. And website designs are not wine. They don’t get better with age.
The point here is one of perception. A business website is not only your first impression, it’s the majority of your sales message. Google now estimates that 70% of the typical consumer buying journey takes place online. By the time a prospective customer reflects on your website content, they have pretty much decided to work with you – or not to.
The key role your website plays in lead generation and sales means it’s not a marketing tool to neglect. Much of the way you communicate value, evoke trust, and persuade action takes place on your website.
If it’s clear your site is 3 years old (meaning it looks like some from the last decade) you’re going to be blown-off by researching consumers who know they can easily find a better alternative.
#4 Security and the User Experience
This applies, in particular, to ecommerce websites.
If you are selling online, your search and transaction content must be simple, seamless, and secure. The slightest confusion or hint of doubt about the security and legitimacy of your website will kill your sales.
Again, there are templates such as Bigcommerce, Shopify, and Woocommerce that you can customize for your store. These tools have most of the sales content built in. They easily integrate with inventory tracking, SSL certifications, and merchant accounts.
If you are marketing for ecommerce and you have anything less that a stellar design that’s eye catching, user friendly, and feels totally secure, you shouldn’t have the business in the first place. Time to update.
#5 Content Creation and Sharing
It used to be that websites added a blog to their domain. Now most websites have blogging functionality built in.
If your website isn’t already set-up with an easy to use blog, it’s time to update.
Blogging in an established strategy for any business trying to increase their SEO traffic and gain attention from consumers in the research phase of the buying cycle. Content answers pressing questions, fills information gaps, and displays your expertise. It’s easy to plug in sharing tools for social media amplification, embed videos, and optimize for keyword targets.
Your website and blog platform should make adding new blog content so simple you feel you could add a post a day. If your blog platform is cumbersome, update it.
#6 Respond to Data
Is your website performing as well as it could? Are you getting the max number of conversions? How do you know?
One of the most important precursors to website changes is data on how your current content is performing. Digital marketing analytics tools like Marketing 360® provide data on how visitors respond, and insight into how you can improve your conversion results.
If your website is so old you haven’t added analytics to measure traffic, it’s time to update.
Data might tell you that it’s time to totally revamp and update your design. If you’re using a CMS, you can create new content to test, using hard data to determine what does the best.
Without a doubt, the only way to get exceptional conversion results on your website is to modify and test your content. With modern website tools, you can efficiently create, test, update, and remove content. You should be trying different layouts, color schemes, word choice, offers, and calls to action.
If you’re not doing any of this because you’re using a static site you can’t modify, it is really time to update your website.
The expense and time involved in getting a professional design on a CMS template should not be a barrier for any business doing even a minimal level of lead generation or sales online.
Put off these updates too long, and you’ll be out of business.