When was the last time you pressed the refresh button on your website? If you haven’t made the effort to upgrade since late 2019, you may be sabotaging the success of your business.
About 2.5 years is the longest you should go without improving and modernizing your site, according to some digital marketing experts. Depending on your industry and competition, you may want to visit your website even more often.
In most cases, this just makes sense. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and without warning, meaning your audience today wants and expects a different user experience than a year ago. For example, 62% of people reported to HubSpot that one of the top concerns for them was: find contact details easy. Nearly a third of users said they place a high premium on a brand’s “About” page. Those responses may come as a surprise to you, especially since those aspects of your site probably aren’t what you pay the most attention to.
The point is, you want your website to be clean, fresh, and authentic for a modern audience. An easy way to do that is to avoid all the pitfalls that have given other companies low marks for crappy sites. Below are some of the most common faux pas on websites and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Failure to create a content migration plan.
Maybe you are planning to build a new website. A complete overhaul may make sense for some companies wanting a rebrand, but it’s important to stay on top of links so that nothing is left behind during the move. You can make this easier by ensuring you have a comprehensive content migration plan in place.
Rick Bodey, CMO and partner at digital marketing agency Ezzey, is blunt about the importance of protecting your best content. As Bodey explains, “Content is king and Google is blind. Every piece of content on your website needs to be evaluated and migrated or removed altogether. The main reason people see a huge, sometimes temporary, drop in traffic is that their core content has changed and Google is trying to figure out where to get them back online.”
To start the process, create a spreadsheet of all your current web pages and find out which ones are getting the most traffic. Then work with your website designer to move those pages seamlessly when your new site goes live. This way you have less chance of a big drop in traffic.
Error 2: Not prioritizing website maintenance.
Regardless of whether you are embarking on an extensive facelift of your website, you need to maintain your website. It’s not a “set it and forget it” part of your toolkit. Rather, your website should be constantly growing and evolving, especially if you update it with new blog posts or product pages.
Routine maintenance can also help you identify issues like the dreaded slow loading page. How slow is too slow? Business.com reports that most consumers doesn’t hang for more than three seconds when viewing sites on their devices. That’s why you want to improve your page loading speed so that you have the best chance of making a strong first impression.
As part of maintaining your website, Casey Rowland, VP of marketing for Newfold Digital, recommends looking for broken links. While the process may sound difficult, Rowland explains that it is quite simple. “Finding broken links is actually easier than you might think,” he writes. “There are many free tools out there that automatically check websites for broken links, such as Google Search Console (which offers plenty of other useful features to boot).” In other words, there’s no reason to have a site full of 404 errors if these simple tools exist to keep your website in tip-top shape.
Mistake 3: Using Facebook instead of a website.
Do you have the idea that your Facebook business page can act as your business website? You are not alone, but you are in the minority. A survey by Top Design Firms shows that 27% of the organizations do not have a site.
This may seem like a cost-effective way to save money, but you will lose money in the long run. Why? Your Facebook page gets SEO power for Facebook, not your business. Sure, you might be able to get some traffic, but you’ll have to work extra hard for smaller results. Moreover, you do not have all the advantages that a website offers. These include the ability to have a blog, run your ecommerce business your way, and take visitors through pre-planned trips designed to turn them into customers or customers.
Unless you have all the stuff you can handle, make sure you have a URL. Then find someone who can help you design a site. Alternatively, you may feel comfortable making a very simple one yourself. Either way, you’re better off with a website that’s unique to your business.
Error 4: Not checking your site on different devices.
Today, most consumers use an omnichannel approach to discovering, researching and supporting brands. McKinsey figures show that a third of buyers do omnichannel shopping regularly routes. And the younger the generation of your target audience, the more likely they will use multiple devices, channels, and platforms before giving you their financial or personal information.
You have probably walked an omnichannel path yourself. Maybe you saw an ad for a product while watching your favorite peacock show. You typed the product name into your phone and did some research. Then you forgot everything when your show started again. The next day you remembered the product again and decided to jump on your desktop to see the site you were looking at on mobile. But what happens if the site seems clunky or looks odd? Suddenly you are less enchanted and more irritated.
Your website should look good in all browsers, no matter what. Do some due diligence and get all your pages across devices. If you have hundreds of pages, start with the best performing ones first, because that’s where you get the most attention. Knowing what others see is essential so that you can resolve any issues before they derail your brand image.
The website you reveal to the public acts as your digital storefront, for better or for worse. Make sure it’s always for the better by keeping it up to date and making sure your content is easily digestible across multiple devices. Your customers will thank you, and your business can rest easy knowing that the website is performing at peak performance.