Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Wait Until Your Website is Performing Poorly to Redesign or Refresh It
The most cost effective way to fix problems is to avoid them in the first place. Many businesses assume that the work stops after you launch your new website. A stagnant site, however, can actually be worse than having no digital presence at all. On the other hand, some companies think that if their company is doing well, the website doesn’t matter anyway.
Until one day, you’re outranked on search engine results by your competitors, and they’re taking new business that otherwise would have been yours had you planned for it. Ruh-roh.
Here’s why it’s a terrible idea for your company to wait until your website is performing poorly to do something about it:
Your Search Engine Rankings Will Slip
Google uses several factors when ranking websites on the first page of search engine results. The world of the internet is constantly evolving and shifting. If your website falls behind the technological curve, it can take a lot of time, resources, and money to get back to the top of search results.
Though Google’s rankings algorithm is composed of several things, here are a few of the key factors you need to know:
- Domain Authority – The amount of time you’ve owned your URL plays a big role in Google’s ranking algorithm. The longer you’ve had your domain, the more ‘established’ you are in the eyes of the tech giant.
- Relevancy – Google’s entire purpose of being is providing information that is most useful and relevant to the user’s search query. Think about it: if they delivered irrelevant search results like ‘restaurants in Bangkok’ and your search was ‘restaurants in Australia’ — you’d get pretty frustrated easily and might even abandon Google altogether after a few more extraneous search results.
- Mobile-Friendliness – Yeah, over 84% of American users are using multi-platforms, from desktop to mobile. It’s important that your site provides a seamless experience, no matter what size of screen the user is operating. If it doesn’t, you can bet Google will ding you for it. If you’re not sure if your site is optimized for mobile, run your URL through Google’s free test.
- Digital Presence – C’mon. You had to have known this was coming. The interactions, shares, and engagements of your web pages like blogs and links from other sites directing users to your website, all play a factor in how Google ranks you. The more links from other sources that direct users to your website, the more clout you’ll get with Google.
- Session Times – How long people are staying on your site tells Google if your site is keeping people on there or chasing them away. Alternatively, if people aren’t staying on your site very long, it signals to Google that your site isn’t providing a positive user experience.
Keep Your Website Fresh
One of the best ways to stay on the top of Google’s ‘nice’ list is to keep your website’s content fresh. Adding a blog that is valuable to your users is a great way to answer questions, provide helpful information, and deliver in-depth knowledge relevant to queries that users are typing into Google’s search bar.
Listen to the questions your customers ask. Administer surveys to find out what their problems or needs are. Think about how your blog can provide value to your customers. Then, you can build out an effective content marketing strategy that drives real results.
Review Your Website Consistently
Make sure you carve out time to review your site to ensure it’s working properly. Is it working properly? Are the links still functioning? Are there any dead areas of the site or 404 errors? There are also free tools, like Broken Link Check, available to check for broken links and redirects. It’s totally worth the minute or two.
Yes, functionality is important — but when was the last time you asked yourself what else your customers want to see from your website? After all, aren’t they the ones who visit your site? By listening to your customers’ needs, you’ll be able to identify ways to make their lives easier. And naturally, if your site makes their lives easier, they’ll continue to come back, and spend more time on it.
We’ve developed a handy Web Design Personas Toolkit to help you align your website’s structure and navigation with your customer needs to provide an unforgettable online experience. Trust us, when you build a site for your customers, it’ll drive the results you’re looking for.
No, Digital Marketing Won’t Save Your Site’s Performance
It’s important to understand that digital marketing (social media, pay-per-click advertising, etc.) are all ways to drive traffic to your website — but it’s your website’s job to convert. Your ads could be incredibly catchy, with stunning creative and punchy copy, but what good does more website traffic do if your website is actually chasing people away?
Start with building or optimizing your website. Find out how real users are using it. Hold a small user-test group. Ask them to perform specific tasks, and see how long it takes them to get there. Where are their pain points? How many clicks does it take to get there? What would they find useful? Ask for feedback. This will be a great way to find out how you can improve your site’s features, functionality, and overall look and feel.