Way back in the late 90s, it seemed like anyone who registered a website name could attract venture capital and get listed on the NYSE. It was called the Internet Bubble. And when it burst, a lot of people predicted the internet would go back to being a largely academic/research platform and all these silly notions about “e-commerce” could be safely mothballed. Turns out that both the irrational exuberance of the late 90s and the doom and gloom of the post-bubble period missed the mark. Because today the internet economy is the 7th largest in the world, bigger than that of the UK.
Even Digital Water Finds its Level
In the aftermath of the dot-com crash, it took a while for the internet water to find its level. When it finally did, websites became, not pots of gold at the end of the digital rainbow, but valuable real world business assets that can open doors to previously out of reach markets. Like other aspects of a business, however, website technology changes. And if your site doesn’t keep up, those markets will begin to close to you.
7 Signs Your Website Needs an Update or Redesign
Let’s take a look at the top 7 signs your website needs to be redesigned or updated.
- It’s Not Showing up in Search Results – What’s that you say? Your website is right there on the meaty part of page 3? Well, we hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but here are a couple of sobering facts for you to contemplate: 90% of all people don’t ever venture past page 1 of Google’s organic search results. In fact, the first result on page 1 gets 33% of all clicks while the #10 listing on page 1 gets only 2%. Unfortunately, if your site is on page 3, it’s essentially irrelevant.
- Your Website is Not Responsive – More people access the internet today from smartphones then from PCs, and that trend is only picking up steam. So if your website was designed before smartphones changed the world (which was only a few years ago), chances are it doesn’t have responsive architecture. What’s that? Responsive architecture allows your site to automatically adjust in order to display properly on the tiny smartphone screen. If your website doesn’t do that, you are in serious need of a redesign.
- Three Little Letters: SEO – If your content isn’t optimized for search, it’s not going to show up on page 1 of search results. Simple as that. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and the degree to which your website is optimized for search will largely determine if it adds to your bottom line or detracts from it. Optimizing a website for search means going over it with a fine tooth digital comb and determining what Google likes and what they don’t. Why Google? Because, like it or not, fair or not, most web traffic starts with a search and 90%+ of all searches originate at Google.com.
- Your Site Takes Too Long to Load – It’s a sign of the times perhaps, but most people today are simply not very patient. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, they’ll exit. You might think that your content is so spectacular that people will wait. And if you’re an established brand with a global following, maybe they will. But if you’re not one of the world’s recognized super-brands, they won’t. Sorry. If all people see when they click on your link is white space and a little prompt that says “loading” they’ll wait 3 seconds then exit. Frankly, in an age of virtually universal high speed internet, there is no excuse for any web page to take more than a few seconds to load.
- You Don’t Have a Blog – A few years back, blogs were in danger of falling out of favor. Then some savvy SEO experts realized you could improve your site’s Google search ranking by adding a blog and populating it with content that added value to the user experience. Suddenly blogs were hot property again. And today, everyone from the local tire shop to the BBC has a blog tacked onto their website. It’s a great way to demonstrate to customers that you really know your stuff, while at the same time making Big G happy.
- Your Site is Not Integrated With Social Media – One way to look at things today is that social media has created a generation of phone zombies who spend more time staring at their smartphone then watching where they’re going. Another way to look at it is that there are now a couple of billion potential customers ready to interact with your brand if you can just get their attention. You do that by going where they are. And they’re on social media. Your company should have a social media presence and your website should be fully integrated with it. If it’s not you need to update it. Now.
- Your Content is Lifted from Other Sites – Finally, most company owners have no idea what’s going on with their website. They leave that to the marketing department or the outside company they hired to take care of such things. But if the people running your site are simply copying and pasting content from other sites it’s only a matter of time before the wrath of Google descends and your website is banished to the furthest reaches of cyberspace. If you suspect the people managing your website are cutting corners, it’s time to update your content with fresh, original stuff before it’s too late.
The Bottom Line
After a short reassessment period in the early 2000s, the internet as a business platform has taken off. Having a high-quality website that’s accessible on mobile devices, integrated with social media and provides lots of interesting, engaging content is crucial today. If it’s been a while since you’ve taken stock of the face your website is presenting to the world, do so now before you get too far behind the competition. The future of online business is one of unprecedented potential. Make sure your website allows you to access that potential.