Maintaining a business can be a chaotic and busy task in itself, which is possibly why many business owners forget that one of the most crucial elements of their business is their website.
The website often has an initial effort poured into it to make it suitable for the brand and enticing for customers to engage with, but once it’s up and running it tends to be at the very bottom of every business’s to-do list. Research into consumer attitudes proves exactly why regular updates to your website are a necessity - with at least 75% of consumers admitting that they judge a business’s credibility based on their website design.
As a marketing agency, questions around regular website updates are some of the most popular - many business owners are reluctant to invest in updating both the look and feel, and the technology, behind their website because they may not see instant results to their sales or revenue.
Every 18 months, computer processing doubles - meaning technology is evolving at an alarming rate, and with industries having highly saturated markets it’s so important that your business does everything it can to keep up with the latest developments. Whilst it’s important to ensure your brand and products or services are doing this, it’s vital that your website is also updated regularly to show current and prospective customers that your business is innovative and up to date.
How do I know if my website needs updating?
The most common need for a website update or redesign is to realign it with your business goals and values - this is usually done by implementing small changes to ensure your current website better serves your customers and your purpose/values as a business.
This is by no means the only reason for a website update, ask yourself the following questions and see if any of them apply to your current situation for your business:
- Are you repositioning your business? (rebranding/modernising)
- Did you start with an MVP and now your business has grown and evolved?
- Is your website poorly structured?
- Does your website builder have limited functionality?
- Is your website not converting as expected?
- Are you using the latest technology to build your website?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then we’d say it’s pretty clear that you need an updated website!
Do I need a refresh or redesign?
A website update doesn’t have to mean redesigning your entire website, it can be a simple refresher, with quick additions and a tidy up of your existing website to make it more user friendly.
You can refresh your website by making small changes that impact the visual appearance, such as changing the fonts, updating images or regularly updating your content, without having to modify the overall structure.
It’s important to remember that every website is an ever-changing work in progress that will need to evolve numerous times to accurately reflect your brand. This may mean that you can undertake several website refreshers over a couple of years, then eventually look to do a complete redesign at some point in the future.
A website redesign is a slightly bigger task than a refresh, and will require more time to complete. Often with redesigning a website you will completely change the structure, or even switch to another website platform - for example changing from Wordpress to Webflow.
Another core reason for considering a complete website redesign and build is if you have gone through a rebranding process - if your company has acquired a new visual identity, this should be accurately reflected across all digital platforms, especially your website.
When should I update my website?
The matter of when, and how often, you should be renewing your website is difficult to provide a universal answer that would suit all businesses. How often you should be renewing your website and making regular changes will depend on several things; the size of the company, the amount of changes in products or services you offer, technological changes that would benefit your business.
The best way to work out when you should be updating your website is when any of the following become a regular problem upon loading the website;
- Slow load times
- Difficulty reading content
- Hard to navigate
- Not mobile friendly
- There is a high bounce rate
- It is no longer aesthetically pleasing or engaging
Here at Beyond, our expert team of marketers and designers help you work out if, and when, you need to update your website. Our experienced team will work with you to understand your business goals to be able to suggest changes we feel would be necessary and beneficial to your business, integrating the latest technology features and trends within your industry.
What to consider when updating your website
Every business should be considering the following 6 things to decide if their website is due an upgrade:
Do you remember the last time your website was updated?
The first thing your company should be asking themselves is has your website been updated in the last 5 years? If the answer is no, then you should consider the option of a website redesign rather than just simple refreshers as it is likely your website is not providing a user-friendly experience to prospective and current customers.
To stay competitive and relevant, on average, we would suggest updating your website or fully redesigning your website every two to five years. With the way technology has advanced over the last decade it is possible that within the next few years, websites will need refreshers several times a year and a full redesign every year in order to stay relevant.
Design trends are also changing rapidly, it would be a wise idea to keep an eye on your competitors’ websites and see what refreshers they are carrying out/how often. If their website is more user friendly and modern in design than yours, then any prospective customers comparing the two companies may interpret it as a reflection of the company overall making them their preferred choice.
Can you update your website in-house?
Ensure that when you use an agency or company to build your website, you request access to the website to be able to make regular updates and changes to the content yourself. Having the ability to make your own website updates via a CMS is vital for important and timely announcements that your internal team can handle.
If having access to the website yourself isn’t possible, you must make sure that the website developers you use to build the website are efficient and available to answer your questions promptly.
How mobile friendly is your website?
With 4.3 billion mobile internet users, it is absolutely essential that your website is mobile friendly. You will need to ensure that you have a fully responsive mobile website that is easy to navigate with buttons that take you around the site with ease, and with clear text that is easy to read.
Before the launch of your website try and access it on your own mobile and members of your family or friends to ensure they are able to interact with the site with no issue. Important things to look out for when testing out the site are; can they find the homepage easily, is the contact page visible, can they navigate from page to page with ease. If any of these flag up as an issue then you will need to make the relevant changes to ensure your website is 100% mobile user friendly.
Benefits of having a mobile friendly website:
- Google will rank websites that are mobile friendly higher so be sure to test your websites mobile friendliness
- With the majority of website usage coming from mobiles, it’s important to produce a positive experience from your mobile website visitors that will lead to increased reach and engagement and thus more leads
- Offering a consistent experience on all devices will encourage customers to come back for repeat purchases
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaigns and website maintenance become much smoother processes with a mobile friendly website which is one less thing to worry about.
Does your website accurately reflect your brand's services/products?
Over time it isn’t uncommon for brands to change and their products or services to evolve into something different, as your company does evolve it is important that your website stays in line with your values and offerings. To provide an accurate representation of your products and services to prospective customers ensure that you are regularly updating your website with any new offerings, even if they are small!
When a prospective customer arrives at your website it is important that you know you are not the only company they are looking at - within their first few interactions with the website they will decide if you are able to offer them what they are looking for. If you fail to update your website with your current services and products then you are likely to miss out on potential customers.
Are your staff pages and photos up-to-date?
Staff bios and headshots may seem like small and insignificant areas of the business but they are often the areas that are out of date the most. To provide an effective service to your consumers it is important that they know who they are talking to and who they can contact if they have any queries.
We would recommend that you regularly review and update your staff bio pages and headshots every year to keep the connection between business and customer strong. New photos will also help to add to the fresh feel of your website, but you must ensure that they work well with the rest of the imagery on the website.
How well does your website rank in Google?
It’s not as easy as it might seem to have strong SEO, it’s an ongoing battle that requires a lot of effort and regular monitoring. The more often you monitor your rankings and competitors and make the relevant updates to your website, the more likely your SEO will stay strong.
Google looks for authority and relevance when it comes to ranking your website, it is ranked based on the algorithm and information it gathers through SEO searches. Google’s job is to provide the user with the most relevant and highest quality results on the first page of their search. Even if your website that was created 5 years ago isn’t majorly outdated and the content is still fairly relevant, you’re not likely to rank well as the algorithm will favour those that are updated regularly.
Frustratingly for marketers and businesses, algorithms are constantly changing as search engines strive to achieve more accurate and improved results so it’s vital that regular competitor checks are done to ensure your website has the best chance of ranking highly.
What can I do to refresh my website?
There are plenty of ways to make quicker, smaller changes to your website to keep it updated...
Create regular and new blog posts
One of the best ways to refresh your website and assure users that you are regularly updating it is through content marketing - blog posts with proper use of keywords are a great way to boost your website traffic and ranking on Google.
Blog posts help to increase SEO quality by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers' most frequently asked questions. Blog posts that use a variety of on-page SEO tactics (such as keywords positioning, images, lengthy content) will give you better opportunities to rank in search engines, making your website more appealing to consumers.
Blog posts can be employee spotlights, client case studies, educational articles, industry news, answers to commonly asked questions, etc. It is useful to then share these articles on social media platforms to drive more traffic to your website.
Have service pages dedicated to the main products and services you offer
Having dedicated pages outlining your best service offerings and products is the perfect way to target your desired audience, letting them know that you can offer them what they are looking for.
It may be that there’s something unique about your business services and products that competitors don’t have - ensure there is a page dedicated to this on your website. By having specific, dedicated pages for different services, products, or components of the company, you avoid the chance of a customer missing relevant information that may help them.
Specificity is your best friend with content creation, the more specific you can make your service pages the less competition in that particular area you will have. Thus making it easier to rank higher for SEO.
Client showcase area
Having an array of client reviews or previous project work available for prospective clients to peruse will build confidence in them that your brand will be a good fit.
Real client reviews are extremely important in the decision-making process for potential customers. They help to legitimise your business and the services or products you offer, giving prospective customers a better understanding of what you can offer them and why you’d be a better fit than your competitors.
Adding reviews to your website will allow you to see what’s working and what isn’t, enabling you to make frequent updates based on real data.
Regular image updates
As mentioned, updating the images on your website is a super easy and effective way to refresh your website's look and feel. Websites with high quality, engaging visual content will help to significantly reduce your website's bounce rate.
Depending on how long ago you last refreshed your website imagery, you may need to consider different formats, such as GIFs or video to incorporate motion into your website.
Adding graphical elements also brings another EO benefit - alt tags. Properly labelled images will help you to perform better in search rankings as they offer yet another opportunity to use keywords in your image descriptions. More often than not, websites with properly labelled photos win more clicks.
Review the checkout process and payment options
If you offer a product or service that requires payment through your website ensure that this process is regularly monitored and updated with the latest payment options. For example, most recently many companies have started to accept bitcoin currency.
It’s worth having multiple secure payment options so any prospective customer that comes across your website is confident in spending their money with you.
How can Beyond help?
We have a fantastic team of digital strategists, website designers, developers and marketers who will be able to advise, guide and create the perfect website for your business. Whether it be a refresh or a complete redesign, you can count on us to transform and update your website.
Taking you back to the foundations, we immerse ourselves in your organisation to properly understand your suite of products or services, allowing us to position the structure, navigation and content correctly, before initiating the design and development phases. A content-first approach is crucial when redesigning a website from scratch.