business advice

When is it Time for a Website Refresh?

When is it Time for a Website Refresh?

You’ve heard the old adage… You have 6 seconds to convince a website visitor that your website is the website they’ve been searching for – before they hit that back button.

So keeping your website up-to-date is no longer a matter of preference, it’s a matter of survival.

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your website, it might be a good idea to consider updating the elements on your website like the content, the design, adding new content, or completely overhauling your website as part of a major redesign.

Does your website need a refresh?  Keep reading to find out!

So What’s a Refresh?  

A business changes as it grows.  The same is true with your website.  As you create your website, make sure it reflects the business it represents.  

Your website's design will become outdated over time, that’s just how it goes. What was popular 2 or 3 years ago, can feel painfully outdated now (remember keyword clouds?)  So refreshing the design is necessary to remain competitive.

Does Your Website Need a Refresh?

If your website has been up for a while, it may be a challenge to know when it’s time to update it.  But here are some signs it’s time.  

  • The design of your site is not appealing anymore
  • Conversions are low
  • Nothing is interesting or exciting on your website
  • Ineffective communication with website visitors
  • Leads aren't coming in like they did before
  • Bounce rates are high

Recognize any of these?  If so it may be time to make some minor updates or revamp your entire website. It just depends on your situation.  

Here are 7 ways you can refresh your website

  1. The Basics

Let’s start with the basics.  The look and feel of your website can be dramatically updated simply by choosing a more modern font set to revamp its overall look. Even small changes can significantly impact transforming an old site into something new and impressive.  Google fonts are free and offer many great options.

  1. Consider a redesign – when you need more than the basics

Your website plays a big part in the identity of your business.  The way your website looks will have a big impact on the way your visitors feel when they land on your website.  What will their first impression be?  Are they going to want to do business with you?  You are not doing yourself any favors by still using outdated stock graphics and imagery.  

Your brand's identity is shaped by elements like layout, fonts, colors, etc. To keep your website looking crisp, determine which sections have aged gracefully and which areas need improvement.  

  • Replace your outdated images & graphics with a mix of professionally taken photos of your staff and business along with some carefully curated high end stock images.
  • Choose a simple, clean font will make your site look sleek and modern. For example, Google Fonts offers many free typefaces.
  • An updated color palette can also improve the experience of your visitors.
  1. Improve Your Communication

We’ve talked about the 6 seconds you have to grab your visitors' attention and keep them on your website so it’s not a surprise that there's little time for you to get your message across.

Regardless of what you sell, the customer is primarily interested in how you will help them solve their problem. It's always about them, whatever you say.  So make sure visitors can find the content they are looking for without a lot of clicking around. 

Speaking of communication it’s a good idea to sprinkle in a variety of compelling and relevant CTAs on your site.  Believe it or not, your visitors are not mind readers so you need to tell them how they take the next step.  CTAs provide various options for the visitor to take action, such as:

  • “Call Now”
  • “Book Your Appointment Today”
  • "Join Now by clicking here,"
  • “Get started Today”
  • “Connect with us Today”
  • “Get your free ______ today”
  • “Signup today and get ________ “
  • And don’t forget about social sharing buttons.

The most important thing is that your CTA’s should be well-designed and strategically placed in areas where clients can easily see them. 

Pro tip: Make sure that your CTA’s contrast well with the rest of your design but don’t get blend into the rest of your content.  CTA’s are most effective when they look like buttons.

  1. Improve Your User Experience

 You must design your website so that the customer can navigate through it quickly. Your site will attract more visitors if it is easy to navigate. Just a few changes to your menu and checking that every link works can make a massive difference in the overall user experience.

  • Your navigation consists of links connecting your website's pages. Carefully examine all your website pages and make sure they are still relevant and organized.
  • Test your links.  Make sure that they don't lead to 404 Error (Page Not Found). This makes your website appear not maintained and sloppy. Take a look at all the links on your site, including internal and external, and ensure they're taking your visitors where you want them to go.
  1. Analyze Your Website Content – And See Where You Stand

It's not only about looks when it comes to refreshing a website. Your site must be considered current.  Ensuring that what you are saying is valid, helpful, and readable to your visitors. So how can you determine whether your content is new, high-quality, and up-to-date?

By conducting a content audit.

A content audit is intended to assess which links get indexed by search engines, which need to be refreshed and no longer exist. Here are some basic steps you need to follow:

  • Compile all your databases and sitemaps. The sitemap is a document that lists your site's pages, videos, and other files along with their relationships. Data from your website is organized into your website's internal database.
  • Your site's URLs are indexed by web crawlers who collect content throughout the Internet. An algorithm can be applied to web crawler data to find relevant links in response to specific search terms and keywords. We recommend using Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Screaming Frog for crawling website content.
  • Content auditing can go beyond essentials: You can use titles, descriptions, and word count as primary criteria for content auditing. All of your content entries should contain these elements. 
  • Check organic search, conversions, publish date, time-on-site, page views, load speed, and mobile responsiveness, too.
  • The number of conversions divided by unique visits is the conversion rate. By measuring this metric, you can determine if your website traffic is profitable 
  • Time-on-site is pretty self-explanatory: it's the amount of time your visitors spend on each of your pages. Content audits can benefit from this metric since you get a clear idea of the performance of your online content.
  • A page-per-visit measurement indicates how much content is viewed per visit. In most cases, it is presented as an average, which is calculated by dividing the total number of visitors by the total number of page views.
  • The slower your page loads, the fewer pages search engines can crawl, affecting your search engine rankings 
  • Take a good thorough look at your content: Identity what content no longer reflects your current business and goals and delete it. Do you need to rewrite or update anything? Is there anything that needs some attention?

Note: It is essential to perform two separate content audits if your website has Desktop and Mobile versions as their codebases are different.

  1. Competitor Analysis

You should also examine how your competitors' sites can be improved while evaluating the same areas where yours could be better. Are they doing anything new on their website that is working? Is their website more responsive than yours? Have they made updates to their website recently?

Aside from seeing what your competitors' websites look like, it would help if you also figured out which websites link to them. Is it possible to obtain links from these same websites, or can you get links from other high-ranking websites? This is authority backlinking 101 & makes a huge impact on your rankings.

  1. Make Sure Applications Are Maintained

Now that you have updated your contact information, added some fresh content, and checked for broken links, make sure that all of your web apps are functioning properly. For your tech to keep pace with your business growth, it must adapt and grow along with it.

App management practices include testing and debugging software, enhancing technology and site functionality, updating and maintaining existing security protocols, maintaining new browser versions, creating and maintaining 3rd party integrations, and more. It is very important to maintain your website's modules, code, plugins, and integrations to avoid various issues.

Honorary Mention: A Mobile-Responsive Website

This one is obvious and goes without saying.  But nobody is surprised when I say smartphones are the most popular way people access the web.  And a lot of them never use anything other than their phone so to say mobile responsiveness is important would be an understatement. 

Plus Google favors mobile web-optimized websites in its search rankings and penalizes those that aren't.

In conclusion, keep it simple. Think marathon, not a race.

A website refresh can be as extensive as you want to make it… Just like any renovation.  Although we’ve covered many small changes you can make to your website some will make a much bigger impact than others.  But do not underestimate the end result. 

So what now?  evaluate your needs and make a plan of attack – and then get started on it.  There’s no time like right now.

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