Why it’s Important to Update Your Website – and Ways to Do It on a Budget
Before we dive into why it’s so important to give your website a little refresh regularly, let’s take a look at why your website is so vital to your business.
Regardless of whether you sell online or not, the internet is where the vast majority of your potential customer pool will look for you. That means your website is the first interaction many people will have with your business – and you want to make sure you are leaving a great, lasting impression. Not convinced? According to a study of online media habits, 97% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses, and “near me” searches have surged over 500% on Google.
Chances are, if someone needs a product or service like the one you offer, they are going to be visiting your website first. With the stiff competition out there, the quality of what you are presenting will matter – a lot.
Regularly updating your website might sound about as fun as a weeklong round of spring cleaning, but just as you sometimes need to get the clutter out of your home, your website also needs to be maintained.
Businesses should revamp their websites every few years. That might sound like a lot but think about it; if you keep a brick-and-mortar shop, you probably invest a significant amount of time and money in maintaining your storefront and keeping your displays and inventory fresh. Your website is no different.
Website Refresh on a Budget
Fortunately, not all updates to your website need to cost a fortune. If the functionality of your website is working for you, you might be able to refresh your current website for less than you might think. Here are a few updates that can provide a significant impact without the big spending.
Update Your Products and Services
If it has been a while since you last updated your website, odds are you’ve added, modified, or changed some of your products or services. And if you haven’t, now can be a good time to check out what your competitors are doing, review your inventory, and make adjustments to your product listings.
Featuring new items and top sellers is an excellent way to grab consumer attention and help increase online conversions. For service-based businesses, regularly updating your website to highlight seasonal offerings or new promotions can help significantly boost sales.
Freshen up Your Content
Content is critical to your search engine rankings, and the SEO goalpost is constantly moving. Five years ago, what may have been an effective SEO strategy might no longer be drawing in the same kind of traffic or landing your business as high on SERPs as it once did.
SEO is not a one-and-done solution; it requires continual, ongoing effort. One way to ensure your content doesn’t go stale is with a blog. Regular blog posts can impact your ranking in several ways. Users will come to know you as a trusted source for reliable information and visit your site more often. Google search algorithms also love regularly updated content, and the more you post, the more keywords you can use, allowing you to cast a wider internet search net.
Add Some New Visuals
Maybe the only things that change faster than technology are trends. According to multiple surveys on the topic, your website has under two seconds to make a first impression. If the visuals and graphics on your website are years old, they may not be resonating with your consumers.
Busy pages crammed with everything but the kitchen sink are getting replaced with simple, streamlined, minimalist design. This not only makes it easier for users to take in information and find what they are looking for quickly, but less clunky pages will also load faster across all devices – which is very important when the majority of your traffic will be coming from handheld devices.
There has also been a swift shift in the type of visuals that users are looking to consume. Static images are increasingly being replaced with videos, live streams, GIFs, and memes. That’s not to say you need to replace all your stock images with bite-sized videos, but incorporating both could give you a ranking boost, particularly with younger users.
Clear Out Old Code
Technology is always adapting, looking to become better, faster, and lighter. Two years might not seem like a long time, but 2-year-old themes, cluttered UIs, and heavy image and video files could be putting a massive drag on your website’s loading speed.
Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not something that most online browsers have a lot of. An ideal load time for users today is between 1 and 2 seconds, and according to Google, 53% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. What’s more, website loading speed is a confirmed Google ranking factor; if your site is lacking, it could be hitting you twice as hard on SERPs.
If you have found your bounce rate is on the rise, load times could be the culprit. Updating your website’s technology stack can help address high bounce rates, improve your Google ranking, and improve user experience.
Website Redesign Versus Refresh
So, your website needs some TLC; the question is, does it need a little or a lot? For websites that are functionally ok, a website refresh is a great, inexpensive way to improve upon an existing structure.
However, other times, a little lipstick isn’t going to be enough to give your website the speed, performance capabilities, and features it needs to impress users and rank with search engines. In these cases, your business site may benefit more from a complete overhaul.
If you want more information on a website refresh or a website redesign, the team at Nirvana would be more than happy to walk you through the process. We offer bespoke web development services for projects of all sizes, with invaluable insight, years of experience, and unbeatable pricing.