Due to my line of work, I look at a lot of websites during the course of my day. I might be looking for solutions, design ideas, or products to make clients’ business better. In that process, I can’t help myself from picking apart the websites I come across. I notice areas that have been neglected and see how those businesses haven’t updated their websites in some time.
That is why I decided to write about that very thing this month so that you know when it’s a good idea to update your website for better user experience and search engine optimization. Below are seven signs to look for.
1. Outdated Design
Your website’s design and user interface looks outdated, which can give the impression that your business is not keeping up with current trends. A modern design is essential for making a strong first impression and keeping visitors on your site. While it’s next to impossible to keep up with all website trends, there are simple things that scream that your site is outdated. Things I look at are:
- Copyright Date: This is usually debatable as some think having the year it was established is okay. My personal opinion is it should be the current That being said I have seen where it was the year established with a dash and the current year. I’m okay with that as well. A pro webmaster tip for you is that you can add a simple piece of code to your website that will automatically update that copyright date for you so that you don’t have to keep up with it every year.
- Images: This is usually a tell-tale sign that your website is out of Whether pictures of yourself, testimonial images, or images of your product, or stock photos, it’s easy to tell when they are not current. For example, if you mention you started in the industry 30 years ago and your outfit and hair style is from that time period, it’s probably a good sign it’s time for a new one. Also, how you display the images may have changed. For example, use of drop shadows, thick borders, large, rounded corners, etc. all scream that the site hasn’t been changed in quite some time.
- Buttons: Many times, I don’t think website owners use buttons enough or in the right way but graphical buttons can be used if done The issue is that many times, they look like old clip art which is not good at all. More and more sites are using buttons that resize with the screen size as does the font on the button making it more fluid for mobile users or users on tablets and smaller laptops. You can easily enhance these types of buttons with hover or roll over actions. Or even add an icon to the button to make it relevant to the action you are using it for. I.E., a cart icon for an order link, an envelope icon for a contact form, or an arrow button to take action.
These are just a few examples of appearance changes you can make to update your website.
2. Poor User Experience
If your website is difficult to navigate, users will likely leave and seek a competitor’s website that is more user-friendly. User experience encompasses factors such as load speed, mobile responsiveness, clear navigation, and ease of use, especially when a customer is trying to order. And make sure your website doesn’t show a Not Secure notice. That is definitely a sales killer.
3. Low Conversion Rates
If your site is not converting visitors into customers or subscribers as it once did, it might be time for an update. This could involve tweaking the layout, color scheme, call-to-action buttons, or even the sales copy. Maybe you’re not even tracking conversion. In a recent article I wrote, “Can Google Find Your Website?” I talked about Google’s Search Console tool. This would be a good place to start to find out where you may be losing customers or traffic.
4. Non-Mobile Responsive
With a majority of web browsing now done on mobile devices, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. If it isn’t, you risk losing a significant amount of potential traffic and sales. Mobile responsiveness also can affect your navigation, readability, and functionality of your site. There are mobility tests you can run, but it’s always best to check yourself on different devices or have a friend check on a device that is different from yours.
5. Slow Loading Speeds
Today’s internet users expect websites to load quickly. If your site takes longer than a few seconds to load, you could be losing visitors and hurting your search engine rankings. One of the biggest cases of this is utilizing the wrong size image(s). There are image compression plugins as well as caching options to help reduce the time it takes your page to load.
6. Outdated Content
If your website still features products, services, or information that is no longer relevant or accurate, you need to update it. This is not just important for the user experience, but for SEO as well. I talked about design earlier in this article, and content is just as important if not even more so. Making sure the content is current and relevant is a critical piece to make visiting your website enjoyable for your prospects and customers. Imagine having prices that are out of date and you lose a sale because the price has increased since the update. And if your website and your checkout process doesn’t show the same price, that’s a sure thing to turn away a prospective sale. Or maybe there is product or service that is no longer even offered showing. Don’t do that!
7. Poor SEO Performance
If your site isn’t ranking well in search engine results, it may be due to issues with your website such as lack of relevant content, poor keyword optimization, or technical issues like broken links. An SEO audit can help identify what you need to update. Too many times a business owner doesn’t have a good understanding about what their keywords even are. They may think they know but, most of the time, they are merely guessing. Good keyword research will help find the terms visitors are using to find your site or even your competitors’ websites. Sometimes that’s a good place to start when looking for keywords. Another place is your website stats. They will tell you top keywords and phrases that visitors used to find your website.
Remember, your website is often the first interaction potential customers have with your business. Keeping it modern, user-friendly, and up to date is essential for building trust and making a positive impression.