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Proud family man, global traveler and creator of award-winning agencies Weberous and Generate Culture serving clients worldwide @rafaelromis
The vast majority of businesses take a few months to launch a website and then never revisit it until years later when it’s time to redo it. Does your business stay the same after a few years? Are your customers the same?
It’s crucial to make ongoing updates and improvements to your website to ensure it continues serving your audience well. It doesn’t have to take a ton of time, but it is vital. I should know—our agency has worked on hundreds of websites, and the ones that are successful always stay on top of the following:
Refreshing Website Content
Without content, your website would be meaningless. But even if you have content on your site, you could still be turning visitors away if it’s outdated. If you haven’t updated it in years or even months, then you’re negatively impacting your visitor’s user experience. It just looks bad. This can include anything from your homepage, product pages, blog or your About page.
Have you ever visited a website with a 2005 copyright and their last blog post was released before the first iPhone was launched? What are your first thoughts when you come across a site like that? You’re probably wondering if they’re still in business. That’s what people will think if they come to your site if you aren’t regularly updating your content—and most businesses don’t. Refreshing your site’s content helps build trust between you and your audience, in every industry.
Another benefit to updating your site content regularly is that it helps with SEO. When you consistently publish new content, you’ll begin ranking for new keywords, which will turn into new traffic.
Hint: Besides publishing new content because it’s good for visitors and SEO, you also want to make sure that you don’t have any outdated content or information that isn’t true anymore.
This leads me to the next crucial update you need to make …
Checking All Links
You need to make sure your links are up to date. This includes links that lead people through different pages on your site. But it also includes outbound links that send people to other sites.
For instance, if you run an e-commerce site and you took down a certain product, then you need to make sure that any of your webpages that are linked to that product are updated too. Then, link your visitors elsewhere or let them know what the next best product to buy is.
You should audit your blog posts to check your outbound links. Check for links to broken or nonexistent websites (you may be surprised). Sometimes website owners will update a webpage or repurpose it (like you might do with your discontinued product pages). If the content you’re linking to no longer makes sense for your link purpose, then you need to remove it or replace it with a better link.
If you haven’t updated your website design in a few years, then you’ll want to pay attention. How your website looks has a major impact on your website visitors. If you don’t have a current design, you could be turning off your audience.
But your site design isn’t just about how your website looks. It’s also about how it functions. If your users have difficulty interacting with and navigating through your site, they’ll get frustrated and leave. This is especially true for mobile, which is often the majority of your traffic.
Mobile has overtaken desktop over the past few years, and this means that if your mobile design is lagging (or nonexistent), then you need to update it immediately.
With the majority of website visitors coming in through their smartphones, you need to make sure all your design initiatives start with mobile in mind.
Ironing Out Any Brand Inconsistencies
Your website is your brand. Your brand is your website. If you think otherwise, you’ll end up with inconsistencies in your branding that will confuse and potentially turn visitors away for good. You need to make sure your website matches the look and feel of your brand.
For instance, do your website colors match your brand colors? Are you using the most up-to-date version of your logo? How about your social media handles? Does your site align with the branding you’re using there? Don’t forget your copy. If you updated the tone of your writing on new content recently, then you need to update your site too. Ensuring you have a consistent brand presence is essential.
Updating Old Technology
How old is your website technology? If you’re using outdated technology, your visitors could be running into errors, creating a bad user experience.
Remember Java? There are several sites using scripts that are simply not supported by modern browsers, and that can make a really bad impression.
Then there is site security. With e-commerce taking off like never before, a lot of hackers are coming out of the woodwork looking for vulnerabilities. And the older the site/technology, the more likely there is an exploit for it.
All of the above are relatively easy tasks that can be done every quarter to ensure that you’re staying up to date with what’s happening. The key here is consistency.
If you could make your business website better by just a little bit every month—by publishing a new piece of content or updating some links, technology or maybe your branding—then it will ultimately start compounding, and that’s where the real magic happens.