Do I need to update my website ?
Getting a website is pretty close to the top of any new businesses to do list. In todays connected world any business that doesn’t have some sort of internet presence would be in the minority and viewed with some degree of mistrust by potential customers.
The internet is no longer a luxury it is a necessity, we all own a huge range of internet connected devices, PC’s, smart phones, tablets, laptops, smart TV’s, games consoles and even household appliances like fridges are arriving with internet connections.
The Internet is no longer the playground of geeks and nerds either, your kids, your mum, your nan and even your granddad is using the Internet. The government, banks, retail outlets and businesses have seen the benefits and cost savings to be made by dealing with the public online instead of in person or by phone and they have pushed us in to using the Internet as the main way of using their services.
The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back even if we wanted to.
This has led to a big change in the way we as consumers and customers deal with businesses and how we find businesses and products. No longer do we reach for the phone book or go and buy a newspaper to look through classified adverts, why would we do that when Google can return over 1 billion results in less than a second, and sort them for us in terms of location and relevance.
We don’t stop there though, once we have located our desired product or service we start to check the price, then we read some reviews, we visit the website of the various companies selling the product or service we want, check social media and then we make an informed choice.
How do businesses deal with this new found consumer power and how do they make sure that they are not losing business to their competitors?
Firstly of course a business needs to have an Internet presence and this can take the form of a website, a Facebook page, Twitter account, an entry on a review site or a listing in a directory. If you do not have at least one of these, and preferably you should have most of them, then you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
Having an Internet presence is great but if your Internet presence does not appear in search engine results for your products and services then you may as well not have bothered with an Internet presence. You will need to ensure that your website has been search engine optimised SEO
Earlier we discussed the enormous and varied range of devices people use to connect to the Internet. This in itself creates a problem for your website. You will need to ensure that your web pages can be viewed optimally on any device, regardless of screen size and orientation. This is called responsive web design. In 2014 mobile internet usage overtook traditional desktop internet usage for the first time meaning more people will look at your website using a smart phone or tablet than they will on a home PC. If your website doesn’t display properly on a mobile device then you will lose a lot of potential customers.
Lastly we need to think about appearance. Web Design trends are a little bit like fashion in so much as they change on a regular basis. What looked amazing and cutting edge 10 years ago will look tired and dated today. In fact research tells us that a poorly designed website is more damaging to your credibility than having no website.
Imagine arriving on a poorly designed site where things didn’t line up, there were broken links, missing images and then being taken to a payment page, you would think twice before you entered your credit card details on that site.
It is no different to driving down the high street and looking at all of the shop window displays and signage, you judge them and you are influenced by them and ultimately you are attracted to the more professional looking shops and displays. The state of the display reflects on the attitude of the business and you cannot blame a consumer that makes the assumption that if a business does not care about the state of its display window then it will not care about its products, services or customers.
So, back to the original question, Do I need to update my website ?
It really depends on the age of your current website, and the skill of the designer that created it for you. Chances are that if your website is older than 2 years it will need a review, older than 3 years then it will need a review and probably some updates, older than 5 years and there is a good chance that it will need a complete redesign.