Having an out-of-date website does not look good on a small business. While you might ignore an outdated site from a well-known brand, small businesses are different. That same out-of-date website gets seen as a sign of being out of business or worse.
Sometimes it is obvious when your website is out of date because of simple things such as lots of old photos or broken features. The worst case could be your site getting infected with malware.
It is always a good idea to review your website every few months to ensure everything is working and all the information is correct. But there are more things to look at than just content.
Just as you would not ignore the maintenance on your car, why would you neglect your website? This article gives you a good starting point for knowing if your site is outdated and how to fix it.
The most obvious is outdated content on your site. It could be as simple as outdated hours. Or maybe you have not posted anything new in over a year.
Despite outdated content being the most obvious problem, it is also one of the easiest to fix. When you do your site audits, update any information. Add fresh photos. Go over more than just the basic pages like contact pages. Dig deep into any service pages and about pages to ensure everything matches your current offering.
Don’t forget about plugins and theme updates. Make sure you log in to your site and complete any software updates to ensure the site remains secure against hackers.
Website analytics is more than just a tool to spy on your visitors. Sure, they can gather lots of private information. But when set up correctly and used with good intent, they can provide you with some valuable insights into the effectiveness of your website. And without crossing over the line of privacy for your visitors.
Regularly monitor your site traffic. And not just traffic from today and yesterday. Run reports to compare how much traffic your site received last month to this month or year-by-year comparisons. Look at the sources and analyze where that traffic originated.
If you notice fewer visits, the information on your pages is probably no longer relevant. Or someone new has taken your spot in providing the most current and thought-out content. Pay attention to the source. If the higher traffic was from search engines, your ranking position has likely changed.
One of the easiest ways to combat this trend is to add fresh content to your site through blogging or other content generation. Do this regularly.
Slow loading site
I have talked about this one in quite a few different articles. If your website takes a long time to load, it will annoy your visitors, causing them to leave.
And not just from a search engine standpoint. Yes, you could lose rank with a slow site. But more important are the visitors to your site. If they are getting frustrated and leaving because the site is too slow, you need to make changes.
When you run an audit, do a speed check, and see how fast the site loads. Sites slower than 3 seconds might lose some traffic. You need to improve your site performance if it is slower than 5 seconds to load. Sometimes this involves a new website build, others a switch to a new hosting provider with better servers.
Decreasing leads or sales
If your site is no longer producing the number of sales or leads it once did, that is a pretty good indicator that your website needs a refresh. Track where you are getting your leads and sales. If the data indicates a downward trend, it is probably time to switch something up.
Since you are already updating content, take the time to place yourself in the flow of your customers. Is the site still easy to use? Is there anything in the process broken? A broken contact form can block incoming leads and leave you wondering why. And it is not always easy to tell without trying it yourself.
Do your audit, taking time to fill out your contact forms and make sure they go through. Evaluate the process and see if something is taking too long or confusing to potential guests. You can do the same thing with online orders using either a coupon code or enabling dummy/sandbox settings to test the payment systems.
Poor user experience
Using analytics data can get a pretty good idea of where people are going and what pages they are leaving your site. If you start to see a trend of people exiting from a single page, something is probably wrong on that page.
Either the visitor is not finding what they are looking for or is having trouble with design or functional elements. A poor user experience can be sliders that move too fast, confusing calls to action, or broken forms. Issues like these can easily cause a visitor to leave. I highly recommend against sliders in most cases because they tend to cause more problems than help.
Everything on your site is about making the most user-friendly version for the visitors you want to have. Don’t worry about fixing it for you. Fix it for them and reap the benefits.
Colors and font choices can affect user experience as well. Don’t choose fonts that are hard to read or colors that blend into the background. Make choices that will help guide the visitors and convert the sale.
Negative feedback or reviews
Pay attention to the reviews you receive. If the reviews say something was hard or impossible to use, it probably is.
Take the time to address the negatives. And not only on your website. Reach out to the reviewer and thank them for the feedback. Let them know how you plan to correct the problem. Help them in any way you can.
People will take the time to spread bad news or leave bad reviews. But that’s a good thing. It gives you the perfect time to respond and build good customer service by addressing the issue.
Let them know once the problem has been fixed, or explain what is going on and why you can’t fix it. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do to appease a reviewer. And that’s ok. The important thing is that you acknowledge their point of view and do your best to smooth out any bumps in the process.
Sure, it might be easy to skim over your website in a few seconds and assume all is well. However, when you take the time to address potential issues on your site, it shows you care. Providing the best visitor experience is the key to winning more business.
While an audit might seem inconvenient, there is much you can learn. And when you keep your site fresh and relevant, it will attract more of the right people and help your business grow.