Like it or not, our world of technology continues to accelerate. It’s not that things just change rapidly – they are changing faster and faster. Witness how often Apple releases new versions of its Iphone. So it should come as no surprise that website technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace as well. Your website may well be the single most important marketing tool you have so it may be a good idea to give it a check up from time to time. Here are the top 5 reasons to upgrade your site:
1. Mobile Compatibility
Recent statistics indicate mobile internet traffic (smartphones, tablets) accounts for around 25% of all internet traffic globally and continues to grow at double digit rates. In the US, mobile usage is even higher – who doesn’t have a smartphone or tablet? Mobile users often have slow connections so it is important to provide them with a fast and easy to use web experience. If your site was not designed with mobile in mind, chances are that the user has to do a lot of zooming in and out or worse, some features (like Flash) may not work at all. Mobile users have notoriously short attention spans so if your site isn’t cutting it, they will go somewhere else (like your competitors).
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is the latest design technique that addresses this issue. Basically, a site is designed to work on any size screen from the smallest smartphone to giant TV monitors. The site layout adapts based on the amount of screen space available. Some control elements may be changed to accommodate the “touch” behaviors on mobile platforms.
Take a look at your site on a smartphone. If it’s hard to use, you may be due for an upgrade.
2. Modern Look
If your site is more than a few years old, you may be running the risk of looking outdated. Since the website is such an important part of your marketing efforts, it’s important to project to your customers and potential clients that you are up to date and on top of the latest trends and technology. An old, outdated website may not give that impression.
Just as important is what Google thinks of old sites. In a nutshell, if Google doesn’t see any change in the website for several years, they begin to wonder if the site (and business) are still active. A site upgrade is a great to tell Google “Yeah – we’re still here!”.
Performance refers mostly to how quickly the pages on the site load. This is important for two main reasons: the first is that web surfers have always been impatient, but with the increase in mobile traffic, you now have to deal with users with slow connections and limited data plans. A user in a hurry may not want to wait for your site to load and it can leave a bad impression on your potential clients.
The second reason has to do with our old friend Google. Simply put, Google prefers sites that load fast as this is part of the user experience they provide their users. So all else being equal, Google will rank the faster loading site higher than the slow poke. If your site is a little sluggish, it may be time to pick up the pace!
4. Social Media
Google’s latest update to its search algorithm (the formula they use to rank sites) has dramatically shifted importance to social media “signals”. Keywords and inbound links to your site still matter, just not as much. And if you are found to be “keyword stuffing” in your content or meta-tags, you may very well be penalized. Google has gotten much better at understanding the nature of the content on your site as well as what is being said on social media.
One of the most successful strategies to achieve ranking is to add a blog on your site and post links to the blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. This is a great way of providing fresh content on your site and establishing yourself as an expert in your field while getting some buzz going on social media. You may feel that you don’t have time for blogging, but your competitors might – and they may well pull ahead of you in Google rankings, stealing your prospective clients!
The web is where you compete for business, customers and clients. If you’re still paying for Yellow Pages, stop. It’s not worth it. You and your competitors are fighting for those who are searching for your product or service on the internet. A lot of those are on Google (and the other search engines) but more and more of your potential clients are looking on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Yelp. Think of it this way: if you are already doing well on Google, your competitors are looking for ways to rank above you and they won’t quit until they do. If you are not doing so well on Google, well, what are you waiting for?
The beauty of a new website is that it provides a great Return on Investment for marketing your business and may well be the best investment you can make.