Is Your Website Up to Date? Here's Why It Needs to Be
Just as you’d perform routine maintenance on any large asset - a car, a home, a share portfolio, your website should be treated with the same consistency of care. Why spend time and money ensuring your site is engaging and easy to navigate if you neglect it once it’s up and running?
We live in the digital world, so your business should be always striving to portray its best-self online to gain trust and ongoing validation from your audience. If it all sounds too overwhelming you can always start with the basics.
Things are slightly different if you are looking to go live on your new website. If so, make sure you have all the essentials covered with our FREE Website Launch Checklist.
However, if you already have an existing online presence, here are a few things you want to add as part of your website routine maintenance.
Update your website’s security
Security, especially if you run an eCommerce site, should be your highest priority. A website security breach could break trust with customers and also send them to a competitor. Ignoring security updates allows potential threats to grow that may compromise your visitors’ personal information. It could cost you brand credibility but also hefty costs while you do damage control. Keeping up with the latest in web security is one step you can take but you should be thinking about it right down to your website’s roots.
Build your website on a secure platform
The CMS (Content Management System) you use to create your website can actually have a significant impact on your site’s security. This framework is integral to the safety of the information gathered by your website and can help or hinder you significantly when you go about implementing the necessary safety measures. Old versions of your CMS can leave your business wide open to attack, as hackers have longer to figure out the flaws, pulling at loose threads until the hole is big enough to jump right in.
The WordPress platform, however, removes a lot of the stress of potential vulnerability. It’s not only one of the safest CMS platforms to build on, it also makes it easy for you to update. WordPress is constantly working to improve the security and functionality of their platform and send out notifications to users when updates become available, so you can be sure your site is operating on the latest version with the fewest weaknesses.
Ensure your web host values security
There are hundreds of web hosting services available on the internet, so how do you know which is the best? You can start by looking at their security policies. By choosing a hosting company that places a priority on the security of the sites they host, you automatically reduce your risk of cyber-attack. Just as the CMS can have an affect on your site’s security, so too can its back-end configuration. You web hosting provider should be prepared for any possible security breaches and have a plan ready to protect your site against them.
Before deciding, you should also check how often they backup the data on your website. The best web hosts will do it daily so that you have a recent copy to backup form should you find your site infiltrated to the point of crashing.
Update your website content
The next update on your list should be your content. They say that content is king and, as such, yours should be fresh and not duplicated. Get customers relying on you to provide relevant, useful information through blogs or other updates. This not only builds trust, it also helps your visibility on Google, increasing your rank and natural exposure.
A website that has content with a copyright from a decade ago and no blog posts since we lost Michael Jackson in 2009 doesn’t really scream “relevant”. How are your visitors to know if the information is still valid, or even if your business still exists? Outdated content isn’t inspiring to consumers. In fact, it damages your credibility. Keep your content up to date so users know how and where to find you and what products or services they can expect you to provide.
Domain authority is another reason to keep your content flowing. Domain authority is a factor measured by search engines to determine how useful your site is on your given field. Well-researched, valuable content will always provide you with a higher domain authority and Google will always rank websites with more authority higher in the search results.
Keeping your SEO keywords fresh is also important in order to be found by the right people. If your business has moved from one location to the next, or opened a new store, make sure you have content on your website to back that up. Likewise, if you have a new product or service offering. Don’t leave it to the consumer to search for new information about your business, make it easy for them to find! SEO can be tricky to navigate as Google's algorithm is constantly changing, if you want a long term strategy that generates consistent traffic, have a chat with our online solutions advisors.
Updating your website’s design
An integral component of the marketing for your business should be the design and user experience of your website; however, it’s often neglected. If you’re driving traffic to your site through online marketing, your website will likely be your primary conversion tool. In the ‘now’ era, difficult navigation is an instant turn off to consumers and, in the world of digital, what is functional now, may be regarded as outdated in a year’s time. It’s important to stay on top of design and UX trends to make it as simple as possible for consumers to find the information they need.
Make sure your site is responsive on mobile devices
Mobile is dominating when it comes to web traffic sources, which means that the majority of visitors are now accessing your site using smartphones and tablets. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re likely losing a lot of traffic. Apply a responsive design and see your conversions rise.
Design for your target market
When it comes to design for UX the key really is simplicity. Lay out the needs of your customers. If you don’t think your customers need a particular function, don’t include it. However, your target market is likely to evolve over time, so it’s important to frequently reassess your design to ensure your site appeals to current visitors.
What to action
- Check the security of your CMS and your web hosting provider and make sure all systems are updated.
- Put together a strategy to add quality content to your site regularly.
- Identify any keywords you’re currently not targeting or details on your site that are incorrect and add the necessary content.
- Update your site to be mobile-friendly.
- Reassess your website design. Do you need all the features you currently have? Do you need more? Is it easy enough for the consumer to navigate? Does it suit your target market?
- Assess with a FREE Website Health Checker at Webcentral.
Don’t let your website get stale. With these 6 easy action points, you can find out whether or not your website needs updating.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, let our professionals do it for you with our FREE Website Health Checker today.