How Often Should You Update Your Website?
Answer: As needed.
In a digital-first world, where more than 60 percent of shopping journeys begin online (Source: Think With Google), your website is far and away your most important owned asset.
It’s your front door – one of your prospective customers’ first touchpoints with your brand. And it carries a lot of clout in how customers perceive you.
- One study showed that users form opinions about websites within .05 seconds (Source: Sweor).
- Another noted that 61 percent of users wouldn’t return to a website that’s hard to navigate (Source: Sweor).
- And a third said that 85 percent of adults want the mobile device version of a website to look and feel as good as or better than the desktop version (Source: Visual.ly).
What happens when your website falls short? Lost traffic, opportunity, and, most importantly, revenue.
What can you do about it? Be proactive!
Monitor the pulse of your site. Talk with your customers.
Are they taking the actions you want them to take? Why or why not? Tools such as User Testing can help you get the answers.
And what about discoverability? Are customers finding you in search results when they query relevant content? Are they clicking through to your site? SEO tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and others can help you uncover key trends.
There are many ways to uncover gaps and opportunities. But understanding your audience’s needs is the key to developing winning experiences that attract, convert, and retain.
Read on for some key priority areas to get you started and to help you avoid an outdated website.
7 Reasons to Update Your Website
Dated Look and Feel
First impressions matter. Your audience’s initial impressions of your website influence – consciously or subconsciously – their perceptions of your brand.
Put your best foot forward with a clean, modern design optimized for mobile and desktop. Doing so signals to users that you’re with the times. Clean designs can also enable better user experiences.
Declining Conversion Rates
In digital marketing, conversions are successful completions of desired actions on your site. They vary depending on your objectives. Examples include contact form submissions, cart checkouts, and more.
A declining conversion rate on desired audience actions is a cause for investigation.
In some cases, the cause may result from a recent change that’s unintentionally deterring users from completing an action. In others, declining conversions may mean that your user experience (UX) has fallen behind.
In either case, A/B testing or a full-blown UX audit could help you uncover needed changes.
It may sound obvious, but if your website platform or content management system doesn’t offer features essential to enable your ideal user experience, it’s time to update.
Think about your users. What features (e.g., chat, ratings and reviews, recommended products, online bill pay, etc.) might help them complete desired actions?
Answer these simple questions to start a list of requirements for your next web platform. By knowing ahead of time what you need, you’ll be better able to validate your options.
Slow Page Load Speed
Remember the last time you waited more than a few seconds for a website to load? Probably not.
Users don’t like to wait. In fact, according to Think with Google, the probability of bounce increases 32 percent as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.
There’s also an SEO impact. Page speed is a signal that Google’s algorithm uses when ranking pages.
Check out Google PageSpeed Insights tool. It’s an easy way to analyze your pages and uncover opportunities to improve.
Cybersecurity is a hot topic these days. Hackers and bots are constantly looking for opportunities to steal data.
As a website owner, you need to take it seriously.
At a minimum, secure your site with HTTPS. You also need to be vigilant about updating software and plug-ins, closely monitoring permission settings, etc.
As Google puts it, everyone should be able to access and enjoy the web.
Accessibility takes into account the needs of those with disabilities. As an example, think about someone who is colorblind. Now think about the calls to actions (CTAs) on your site.
How do you distinguish those CTAs from other content on a given page? Color alone won’t suffice. You may also consider varying shapes of your CTA buttons.
Usability.gov does a great job of explaining more of the basics.
It’s Hard to Make Changes
Last but not least, consider how your business makes changes. While your operational processes don’t directly impact your audience, your ability to implement impactful changes on your website efficiently does.
You want a simple, flexible, and scalable platform for the future.
Ready to dive in but not sure where to start? Drop Dennison Creative a line or call us at (440) 283-5004.
We’re happy to chat about web design, offer ideas for fresh content, or manage updates for you. We’re here to help!