There is very little point in just putting a website up and then forgetting about it. Tempting as that may be, all you’re really doing is paying for an overpriced business card.
Websites are finicky creatures, and they thrive on flattery and attention. To work best for you, your website needs to be updated regularly, refreshed occasionally, and generally pandered to, nurtured and coddled. As the strongest marketing tool your business can have, it’s worth putting the time, effort and (occasional) tears into looking after it properly.
So, how do you know if you’re doing it wrong, and woefully neglecting your once-beautiful site?
1. You can’t update your website yourself
If you need to email your web developer for every single little change or update to your site, then it’s well past time for you to reassess your approach.
The majority of modern sites are built using a Content Management System (CMS), the most popular one being WordPress. The huge advantage to having your site built using a CMS, is that it gives you control over your own content and updates.
A good developer will tailor the CMS to your needs, and supply you with documentation on how to use it. Like all new skills, the initial learning curve may be a bit daunting, but it really is important that you keep your site active and evolving.
Of course, if you have deep pockets you can pay someone else to do this for you, but it needs to be a regular occurence and is likely to get expensive in the long-term.
2. Your site is not visible on Search Engines
You need new customers and clients to find you, right? Making your website SEO friendly isn’t necessarily rocket science, but it does require effort. Using a CMS (see above), will put you way ahead of the game – a site that is regularly updated is given more priority with Google.
The easiest way to improve your SEO rankings, is to add regular content to your site. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a blog. Depending on your business, you could also add new testimonials, update product listings, and tweak your website copy.
The key is to regularly do something, to keep your site fresh and ensure it gets noticed by the search engines.
3. Awful website design
If your site looks like it was put together by an old buddy of yours, back in the 90s…it may be time to reevaluate.
A contemporary site design gives confidence to your visitors that you are on top of your game, professional and profitable enough to invest in your brand.
Added bonus: current design trends will take into account useability and functionality from the perspective of your visitors. In other words, a design refresh should (if done properly) give you a site that is easy to navigate.
If you want your visitors to stick around, then you need to consider their needs.
4. Your website doesn’t represent your business correctly
Your website is part of your sales and marketing team, in fact it’s arguably the hardest working member of your entire organisation. If it doesn’t convey what you do, how you do it, your business philosophy and the image and message of your company, then it’s not doing its job properly.
Fortunately, if your website isn’t representing you properly, you don’t need to sack it. You may just need to advise it on how to present itself in a more flattering light.
A website design refresh is a lot less awkward then a one-on-one with the guy who comes to work with ketchup on his suit.
5. There’s no social media integration
You don’t need to be everywhere all the time on social media, but it is best if you’re around the place in some capacity. Make it easy for visitors to your site to connect with you where you’re hanging out and give them the opportunity to get to know you.
Don’t forget to use easy share and like buttons on your blog posts. If you use a CMS, there are easy plugins to add share buttons to your site (we use Flare, although there are plenty of other options available).
6. No calls to action on your site
Think about what you want visitors to your website to do. Do you want them to purchase your product? Enquire about your services? Sign up to your newsletter?
Now visit your own website as if you are your own ideal customer. Is it easy for them to find what you hope they are looking for?
If not, you need to reassess your Call to Actions. And if you don’t have any, then you very quickly need to work out how to incorporate some.
7. Slow site loading time
You can have ground-breaking design, awesome content, effective call to actions and brilliant web copy. None of this is going to do an iota to help your business, if your site takes forever to load.
Pictures, graphics, and other forms of content start really start to weigh your site down and make it chug along.
You can run a quick check to see how your site is performing – and don’t forget to run this check at a few different times of day as well as during the week. The internet has its own peak hours, and you want to make sure your site is working well even during the busy times.
If the results are bad, you will need to find the culprits and make some changes to optimise your graphics and content.
8. It’s hard to navigate on a phone or tablet
Mobile optimisation – your site has to be responsive for different devices. No arguing around this one.
Your prospects, clients, partners and customers are increasingly navigating the web through their mobile devices. Your site needs to be able to play well with them, or you will be losing important opportunities.
While checking your site on different devices, make sure to check it on different browsers too. The internet keeps moving the goalposts, and your site that once looked lovely on Internet Explorer 5 years ago, may not be playing so well these days.