The world of business is a funny thing. Before the internet era, a company’s audience was that of surrounding regions. Following events of access to better transportation devices, industries created various markets and individual businesses formed their focus encompassing a target audience(s) within said markets. Now, with roughly 4.6 billion people having access to the internet, the amount of potential traffic to a website can be overwhelming; essentially anyone, anywhere can stumble across a website or social media page. But the internet is a living entity – it’s constantly changing – either you keep up, or get left in the past.
The widening of options with the Internet has shown its benefits as well as its downsides. Businesses have the potential to create additional options and reach out to a wider audience but with a plethora of transactions online and low barriers to entry, market competition has only increased. The amount of choices can be daunting for consumers so make their choice easier by showing off your great business on a functional and appealing website.
It’s no question anymore whether a business should have an online presence or not. Consumers are instinctively searching in their browsers for what they need. Having a website not only lets people know an enterprise exists, it also helps legitimize a business and provides easy access to information about it. So if a website isn’t being updated regularly, it’s becoming less relevant and better options are taking it’s place in search results.
Are you staying relevant and restructuring your website periodically?
Why is Updating Necessary?
Our experience has shown that revamping a website should typically begin at the three or four year mark of its lifetime and should go live (public) no later than the five year point. If a website is older than half a decade, it’s time. Here’s why…
- As stated before, the internet is always changing, meaning websites get old quickly. If a website is outdated, it can decrease the load speed. Studies show a consumer’s attention span is about eight seconds. Don’t let a chunk of those eight seconds be a blank loading screen. Slower load speed correlates with a higher bounce rate, creating a hole in the business’ conversion funnel where potential customers leave.
- An aged functionality can confuse users and cause suspicion to whether the business is genuine or even still in operation.
- Aesthetics and content are important for user experience, meaning both of these things should be regularly updated. Part of a brand is the appearance. If a company isn’t keeping up with their front end appearance, consumers will question how well their business is functioning behind the scenes (shipping, customer service, product quality, etc.). People are making decisions quickly based on first impressions. This emphasis of appearance and branding extend to business’ store-fronts and websites as well, not just products.
- The competition is likely updating their website.
How often a website needs to be updated depends on how competitive the industry is – the higher the level of competition, the more often a website requires updating. Nevertheless, the five year point is a good rule of thumb for those in less competitive industries.
How to Revamp
When the time comes to start thinking about the next update, the first step is to do your research. This may be done by you or your web designer. Search through websites of the competition and similar industries. Take note of what you would enjoy as a consumer, what looks good and works for the overall experience, and what would work better than what you currently have for your clientele. What can you do better than the competition? What gaps do they have that your website can fill? Ensure to account for mobile throughout this process as to not damage any UX (user experience). This comparison process requires soft skills such as determining what appeals to a certain audience or whether a color scheme actually works well and what features are useful or just overwhelming. Many business owners won’t be able to decide on a new web design single-handedly. Those who aren’t able can hire someone who is up to date in web design, marketing and that industry’s market. (We have a lot of experience at Logical personalizing what is needed for a website’s success and developing it, if you would like assistance.)
After the new layout is designed, a valuable practice is to double check that the redesign works by confirming the remodel passes user usability prior to publishing. A new website won’t do any good if the new changes don’t match users’ needs or preferences. When the new design goes live, use analytics and metrics frequently to evaluate it as time progresses.
On average, it can take about six months to a year to revamp a website. This is why it needs to start being considered near the three to four year point to take effect by the fifth year.
A business that is relevant to the competition and consumers, ends up being a successful one. If a business is not in the mindset of either of the aforementioned parties, it is destined to fail. Competitors should be keeping an eye on how your business is performing. Consumers should consider your company as a contender during the browsing and decision-making process.
There are many ways to stay relevant in an industry – one is keeping up appearances and revamping the company’s website. Users need a congruent experience – a website that is just as flawless and updated as the internal configuration of a company accomplishes this. Match the website perspective to the content and products sold; if products are held to a higher standard, then it should be no different for a website.
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