How do you know that it's time to update your website? Well, have your parents ever shown you their pictures from back in the day?
You know those old-time photos when almost everyone was either a hippie or wearing a huge afro and bell-bottom pants.
They probably looked cool but you’re saying to yourself, “I would never dress like that now.” What was hip back then has less appeal now.
An outdated website can be compared to one of these back-in-the day photos. It was great at the time when it was created but has lost its relevance and appeal. You may think that it’s okay for your website to remain the same forever. Create it once and never update it.
Thinking this way can be detrimental to your online brand. A strong brand undergoes regular revisions as the needs and interests of consumers change. Your brand and website shouldn’t be any different.
How to Know if You Need to Update Your Website
Before we dive into some of the telltale signs that it’s time to update your website, it’s important for you to understand the value of a website audit.
What is a website audit?
HubSpot defines a website audit as, “an examination of page performance prior to large scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign.” The aim is to improve the website and increase its performance.
A general rule of thumb is that a website audit should be conducted once per quarter (4 times per year). The benefits of frequent audits include:
- Keeping up to date with the latest SEO trends
- Collecting data in more manageable chunks so that it’s easier to analyze
- Giving you a good idea of what your baseline metrics should be. What should you deem acceptable based on the trends of your website?
- Ensuring that your website is a current reflection of your brand
- Suggestions on how to update your website
What does a website audit highlight?
A website audit analyzes your website’s performance, SEO, conversion rate, and technical elements. It provides a comprehensive look at everything your website needs to truly represent your brand and provides guidelines for what you need to do to update your website.
Do you have to hire a professional to do a website audit?
It would be wise to hire a professional to do a website audit especially if you are unfamiliar with the elements that are analyzed. Virtual A team can work with you to complete your website audit.
However, you can invest in website audit software and do it yourself. Some of the best website audit software include:
This website audit tool is the most popular. It’s best feature is that you can run a free review which gives the website a score and highlights errors that need to be addressed. Creating an account also allows you to get help from a certified expert.
This website audit platform specifically focuses on the strength of your SEO. You get an overview of your website’s health, can view page-by-page analysis, see a breakdown of the strength of your meta-tags and headings, view image optimization, and analyse your links and usability.
SEO analytics are the focus of this platform. The platform has the following tools: keyword research, rank tracking backlink analysis, competitive analysis and site audit. The best part is that you get a recommendation for how to fix the issues.
Screaming Frog calls itself the “SEO Spider”. This name provides a vivid description of what they actually do. They explain that, “Screaming Frog is a website crawler that allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key elements to analyze and audit technical and onsite SEO.” Essentially, it goes through your website with a fine-tooth comb and identifies how to update your website.
Google is the most powerful search engine in the world. Therefore, optimizing your website to improve your Google Search ranking is critical. The platform’s tools allow you to: measure your website’s traffic and performance, fix critical issues and increase your site’s visibility on Google.
What are the telltale signs that you need to do a website audit?
Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.
A mobile-friendly website is more than a shrunken version of your desktop website. Google identifies mobile-friendly websites as those websites that:
- Avoid software that is rarely used on mobile devices (such as outdated Flash).
- Use readable text that don’t require zooming.
- Adjust to fit screen sizes
- Include easily tappable links. (Links should be far enough apart so that they are not accidentally pressed.)
Thankfully, most website builders offer templates that include mobile-friendly elements. So, if you’re a DIY fanatic who created an account on WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix or any other website builder platform within the last few years, chances are that the website is already optimized for mobile.
However, you may have paid a website developer 10 years ago to build your website. This is the first place to make changes to update your website. Great emphasis wasn’t placed on mobile-friendly websites back then. That doesn’t change the fact that more people view websites on their smartphones now more than ever. Your website needs to get up with the times and adopt a mobile-friendly design. It’s time to either hire another website developer to update your website or use a website builder to recreate your website.
The website’s design doesn’t suit a modern aesthetic.
It’s well-know that there should be consistency in your brand’s aesthetic. The colors, fonts and messages shouldn’t conflict. However, it’s possible to be too rigid with maintaining a consistent brand image on a website. The essence of a brand can remain intact even if the website’s design has a more modern feel.
Clean and simple websites are preferred to websites that have a of images
A website with a complex design is an instant turn-off for both potential customers and search engines. Minimalism doesn’t mean that your website will be boring. Instead, it can make your brand stand out even more with the right use of colors and text. If you have a website with too many images and clunky elements, it’s time for you to update your website to a more modern aesthetic.
In summary, your website should have:
- A clean aesthetic (avoid the clutter)
- Bright colors that reflect your brand
- Make good use of white space
Slow load speeds are common.
Page speed measures how quickly page content loads. SEM Rush indicates that the load speeds for your website’s pages should be “as fast as you can make it without compromising the customer experience.” However, they also indicate that Google wants ecommerce websites to load in less than 2 seconds. Pretty fast huh?
In fact, Google has indicated that page load speed is a metric used to rank websites on the search engine. People have short attention spans. The longer your website takes to load, the more likely it is that it’ll have a high bounce rate. Increasing website speed boils down to 5 things:
- Removing unnecessary high-resolution images and videos.
- Removing Flash content
- Incorrect use of caching techniques
- Too many HTTP requests
If simply removing high-resolution images and videos doesn’t improve page load speed, you may need to hire a website programmer to help you address other possible causes.
Your brand’s services or products have changed.
This is a key indicator that it is time to update your website! A change may be necessary simply because your brand has changed. Experience has taught you that certain services or products perform better than others. This has led you to do a reshuffle where you’ve discarded irrelevant products or services and placed greater emphasis on rebranding those that are in high demand. Your website should be a part of this change process.
The blog is inactive.
Blogging serves one primary function for businesses; it helps establish the business as an industry leader thus increasing credibility and trust. Consistency is important but shouldn’t take the place of producing high-quality content. Furthermore, a blog helps your website by:
- Improving visibility. People will find your website because they read an article from your blog that someone in their social media network shared.
- Transforming visitors into valuable leads through clear call-to-actions.
- Increasing your website’s relevance and longevity
- Giving your brand a voice
Therefore, blogging is an important part of your brand’s online strategy. Running a business is challenging and there are many demands placed on your time. You probably haven’t posted in awhile because time hasn’t been on your side.
If your blog has dated posts and the dates are several months (or years) old, then it sends a sign to your prospects that you aren’t consistent.
If the content is still evergreen, simply remove the dates from the posts so it doesn’t appear as though you haven’t posted in some time.
Consider hiring a writer to get back into producing quality content on a regular basis, or remove the blog altogether.
You aren’t getting any leads.
Lead Squared defines a lead as “an individual or organization with an interest in what you are selling.” Interest is one thing but getting that lead to become a paying customer is another. That’s a story for another day.
You may be concerned because your website isn’t getting any leads. There are a few people visiting here and there but none of them are filling out your contact form to learn more. Your sales funnel is broken. Time to update your website.
It isn’t enough to have a contact tab on your website and expect people to naturally go there to connect with your team. A lot of planning and effort goes into creating a sales funnel that takes a lead from awareness to action. Some key points to note when creating a strong sales funnel are:
- Increase brand awareness through PPC campaigns, organic search and social media.
- Craft content that builds interest in your industry and product or service. This includes blog articles and free downloadable opt-ins.
- Nurture the leads you get through opt-ins through an email marketing campaign. Increase their desire for your product or service.
- Understand that only a small percentage of prospects will reach the buy stage.
- View the sales funnel as a journey. What journey do you want potential customers to take as they interact with your brand?
Opt-ins aren’t visible.
Opt-in forms are the way we gather more information about our visitors so that we can keep in touch and continue to guide them on the buyer’s journey. It is often used on websites to build an email subscriber list to whom newsletters, product sales, and other marketing material can be sent.
Your website probably has no opt-ins or opt-ins in obscure places. However, you need opt-ins on your website because they help you create an email subscriber list that Allan Dib calls marketing gold. This list consists of people who are aware of your brand and like what you have to offer. If you play your cards right, these people can become paying customers in the long-term.
Here’re some things that you may be doing wrong if your opt-ins aren’t working for you:
- The opt-in isn’t in the right place.
- There are too many fields.
- There is no compelling offer.
- You’re using the word “newsletter”. People are tired of seeing it.
- You are directing people to an external site to view the opt-in.
An opt-in is something that you can create yourself or hire a pro to create for you. Let Virtual A team help you get started.
What if you don’t know what to do with the results of your website audit?
Chances are that your website has many problems. It can become overwhelming and frustrating. The frustration may even get to a point where you do nothing. It’s okay. We understand your pain, we know which steps need to be taken to update your website. Take a deep breath. Calm your nerves and hire an expert to get your website moving in the right direction.
Also, remember these key things that you should look out for when doing a website audit:
- Mobile friendliness
- Slow page speeds
- Outdated design
- Changes in your brand’s products and services that aren’t reflected on the website
- An inactive blog
- No leads
- Unsuccessful optins
Virtual A team will help you run a complete website audit and use the results to get your website performing at its best. Our team of project management, social media, and website experts will work in tandem to get your website to produce the results you desire. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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