Your website is one of the most important parts of your business.
It’s where you share your story and demonstrate the "why" of what you do.
It’s a place where people go to learn more about you, the products and services you offer, and potentially even purchase from you - without ever speaking to a member of your team beforehand.
As your business grows, so should your website - further meeting the needs of your organization, as well as the needs of your clients, customers, and donors.
You should think of your website as a "living organism" within your business - one that should be fed with fresh content, and kept healthy by way of regular maintenance and monitoring - not only when the site is first launched, but throughout the life of your business.
If this isn't the case, you could be doing more damage to your brand than good.
But how do we know for sure?
Here are 6 signs your website is outdated:
- Outdated Content
- Fewer Visits to Your Site
- Decrease in Leads of Sales
- Slow Loading Speeds
- Increased Negative Feedback
- Poor User Experience
Now, let's dive into each of these in greater detail below.
Your Website Content is Old
In order for your online presence to demonstrate your areas of expertise and achieve optimal search ranking, it is important to have a regular content strategy that feeds timely, relevant, useful content to the search engines.
The topic of search engine optimization is one that carries far beyond the scope of this article, but one that needs to be taken into account when creating our auditing existing content on your website.
Pay attention to your page titles, your meta descriptions, and what you are saying on each page to ensure it connects with those you are trying to reach.
Continued Reading: How to Stand Out in Google Search Results
A company blog is another great place to showcase your brand voice and deliver valuable content to those users that represent your target user personas.
Google Analytics is a handy tool and one you should definitely employ to get a sense of where your website users are spending the majority of their time.
With your most frequently viewed pages identified, review them to confirm they are still relevant for your business, and then further examine each page to optimize their usefulness to current and potential clients.
Think of ways to add more imagery, videos, and links to your pages to encourage users to explore further into your site, as opposed to contributing to your bounce rate.
There is a Decrease in Traffic to Your Website
There are a wide range of reasons that can contribute to a decrease in site traffic from its once pristine condition.
Here are some common issues to consider:
- Your site's content falling out of relevance with your target audience (leading to a slip in search engine rankings)
- You could be experiencing a technical issue due to outdated code or plugins within your website's content management system
- Your site may have broken pages/links that are causing visitors to leave your brand
- Your site could be affected by malware
Leveraging a tool such as Sucuri for monitoring against potential malware threats or Google Search Console for broken pages and other related warnings and errors with help you to identify and address current issues, as well as safeguard you into the future.
There is a Decrease in Leads or Sales on Your Website
There are several reasons why leads and sales may be decreasing on your website.
In addition to the factors discussed in the previous section, a drop in leads or sales merits an audit of your current sales infrastructure.
Consider how leads/sales are "supposed" to happen through your site. Are the actions associated contained solely within your site, or are there external partners (payment processors, shopping cart providers, etc) that should also be reviewed?
Assume the Role of Your User
One of the fastest ways to determine if your site's sales mechanisms are not working properly is to assume the role of your user - following the flow through your site, in the same fashion they would and confirming there are no errors or boundaries throughout that experience.
Here's how that would go:
- Load an "incognito window" in your browser of choice (this ensures the content being loaded isn't leveraging any cached data from your previous sessions)
- Move through your site as a user, follow the flow you have created for them, the pages, the links, and ultimately - the conversion (a purchase, a form fill, a calendar request, etc)
- Note the moments of ease, as well as the moments of potential frustration or even failure.
- Fix these errors and optimize the user flow to achieve a frictionless experience for the visitor.
Quality standards such as this should be employed regularly to confirm your site is doing what it has been designed to do - drive results. It has also been increasingly more important to review and optimize your website for accessibility standards - further increasing the number of visitors that can visit and benefit from your products and services.
Your Website Takes a Long Time to Load
Your website's ability to load content quickly may seriously impact your business.
People visiting your site may grow irritated by having to wait before they have access to the information they are looking for. If your site takes too long to load, they may leave your site and go to another.
Worse yet, in recent years, Google has used metrics such as load times as a ranking signal for websites - pushing sites that are slower to load further down in the search results pages (SERPs).
How Long Is Too Long to Load?
By Google's current standards, a website page should load in 2.5 seconds or less.
Although this doesn't sound like a gargantuan task to achieve, when you consider all of the images, videos, and other assets the average site has embedded - coupled with the time it takes for your web server to deliver all of those files to the user's browser window, those limits can be exceeded quite quickly and lead to slower load times.
Google's PageSpeed Insights tool is a great place to get a better sense of your website's speed and performance across mobile and desktop devices.
There is an Increase in Negative Feedback Regarding How Your Website Functions
When receiving support inquiries and phone calls, we are often so focused on assisting the customer at hand that we fail to "zoom-out" and observe the potential of identifying an even larger issue.
Case in point, if support team members are constantly taking orders for customers over the phone, it would be helpful to know if that customer first started online and was unable to finish the transaction there.
Knowing this vital information would be an obvious sign that something was wrong with your site's sales functions.
Pro Tip: Using a business marketing tool such as CallRail (an agency partner of ours) and their "conversation intelligence" features allow you to analyze your client support calls and alert you when specific words or phrases are spoken by your caller.
In this instance, setting a trigger for phrases such as "website", "very slow", "broken", and "error" would then funnel into a report that can be addressed in greater detail by your web development team.
Your Website Delivers a Poor User Experience
The usability of a website has a crucial impact on its success or failure. Compelling content aside, a bad user experience can force the most ideal of customers to hit the "back" button on their browser.
As we've shared in the previous sections of this article, the UX (user experience) and the UI (user interface) of your site are crucial components to how effective your site will be at delivering the desired action (purchases, leads, etc).
A poor user experience can also lead to accessibility issues which make your site difficult for those with vision impairment and other disabilities to access, going against industry standards and narrowing the number of people you interact with.
To improve the UX/UI of your site, refer back to the exercise above - where we put ourselves in the shoes of our site user.
Thinking of your site as a sales tool, ask yourself:
- "What is missing?"
- "What additional information do I need as a user to make a decision to purchase or submit a contact?"
Ask the same questions as you review your navigation menus. How intuitive is it for users to find exactly what they need to in 1-2 clicks?
You work hard to drive paid and organic traffic to your site, but without defining your goals and then crafting a growth-driven design - backed by data and affirmed user intent - you are left to fish a pond with "a hook and a hotdog" (hoping for anything to bite) vs. understanding your core user and using the best "bait" needed for them to engage, time over time.
We Are Here to Help
In short, and for the reasons described herein, an outdated website can seriously affect your business.
It is imperative that your company website reflect your brand's design, leverage the latest in technology advancements, and follow trends with regard to your content. By updating your website, you stand to add a fresh touch for your users to enjoy, improve your usability, and attract more customers, leads and profits.
At Captivation Agency, we specialize in the creation and redesign of organizational website properties for brands and non-profits.
Through a comprehensive process and front-end development framework (user experience design), we deliver you with a visually appealing, functional, and mobile-friendly (responsive design) website that truly connects with your key client personas.
Our client reviews echo our expertise and we endeavor to help you realize the true potential of your brand's website property.
Contact us today by phone or email and schedule a website consultation with our team.