Getting a new website live can feel like a gargantuan effort. For many business owners, once a new site is live, it’s something that they no longer concern themselves with. As time passes, website functions and expectations change. If your business website has been left on the shelf, it may have gathered a bit of dust in the meantime.
The Symptoms of an Internet Relic
Can You Edit and Update Your Site?
In 2017, a website needs to be a document that can be easily edited and updated. A content management system is the basis of most websites, but it wasn’t a few years ago. If you can’t easily update the text on the pages of your website yourself, it might be time to have a more modern website to be built.
Our preferred website content management system is WordPress, which is open source and user-friendly. This way, business owners can keep their website up to date, and add their expertise to their website through a blog. It’s a great way to promote events, and changes in your industry, as well as get some search engine traffic benefits.
Does Your Website Support Mobile Phones?
If your website can’t be visited easily from a mobile phone or tablet, you’re in relic territory. A responsive website is a must-have for modern search traffic and website visitors. If you do only one of these – fix this!
Is Your Website Interactive?
It’s important to decide what an interactive website means for your company. For some, this means that an interested customer can enter their information into a form to send an inquiry to your sales team. Usually for a business-to-business website, this means contact forms, some email automation, and blog commenting.
When it comes to a website with a more social focus, like a retail ecommerce business, interactivity can go to a whole new level. Interactive websites can personalize a visitor’s experience every time they come back to the website. For a clothing site, this may involve the proper seasonal selections, international currency options, and remembering a customer’s clothing sizing preferences.
Basic interactivity is now the expectation for any website – customers want a way to contact your organization, and a way to explore what you offer, sell, or do. If you don’t add interactivity to your website, you may be losing customers to sites that provide it.
Can Your Website Give You Data?
Modern marketing needs information to survive! Google Analytics is a free baseline for collecting website visitor information. Google analytics can be used for SEO, but it can also provide information about the paths visitors take on your website, and how they take the actions that your organization needs for online lead generation.
Website data can be collected beyond google analytics with tools that provide heatmaps, live chat to offer an instant customer contact, as well as advertising tools that can help you understand your digital audience.
What To Do If Your Website is an Antique
So, it turns out you’re holding an aging website in your databases. What’s the next step?
First things first: Think about what you want your website to be able to achieve. Your website can get sales, generate new leads, educate visitors, provide content, and nearly any other goal you can think of – as long as your marketing team can help you communicate that goal to your customers.
Next, do a little competitor research. What is your biggest competition doing with their website?
Don’t get too deep into assuming everything they’re doing on their website is working, but do take note of common features, language, and functionality in these websites.
After that comes a fun step: what website styles fit your company? Look at some popular websites and think about the parts of their design and functionality that you really enjoy. How can you translate that to fit your brand?
Finally, find the right partner to build it. With whichever web design agency you choose, make sure the communication is clear and you know exactly what you are getting. A good web design company will explain what is in the project scope and which opportunities exist outside of it. Lastly, you want to develop a long-term relationship with the company that builds your website, so before moving forward, consider the personalities of the team involved and make sure you want these people in your professional life.
In the Meantime…
A website redesign can also be a great time to refresh your brand identity, your branding materials, and the way you talk about what you do. The right agency can make this part of a new website design, creating merchandising and content marketing opportunities that will connect customers with your new branding.
In the end, an old website isn’t the end of the world – but it could mean that you are missing out on business opportunities to competitors with a more responsive, interactive digital presence. It’s not about following every new trend anymore; having a great website is something nearly any company should be able to do for its customers.