To most shoppers, an out-dated website is an immediate turnoff. Here, founder at digital marketing agency Grizzly, Jamie Fitzhenry, reveals ten criteria for small business owners when assessing their site.
Ever wondered why you’re not getting many sales inquiries or orders through your website? Have you ever considered the reason they’re not converting is that your website needs an update?
With so much product discovery taking place online, your website is often the first port of call for your customers, offering the best chance of your brand making a good first impression.
There is an overwhelming number of potential customers who are doing initial research on mobile. Research has shown that customers who enter a non-mobile optimised site don’t come back 60 per cent of the time, and usually turn to a competitor’s website.
Plus, those customers who leave a non-responsive website are less likely to recommend that site to friends. If your website does not look good on mobile – if it looks zoomed out when you visit it on a smartphone – it is not optimised, and can lead to a substantial number of lost sales.
For some, determining whether a design is too old isn’t easy, but when it comes to websites there are certain characteristics that can be big giveaways.
For example, if you still have a visitor counter on your site, grainy or oddly-sized graphics, or a non-mobile responsive site, then your website is probably in need of an update. A good rule of thumb is to update your website every two or three years.
Gimmicky and overused fonts – think Comic Sans, Papyrus and “handwritten” fonts – are a dead giveaway that your website hasn’t been updated in a while.
Look for web-safe fonts when updating your site, and always include one or two similar backups in your CSS stylesheet. Also, get rid of animations that cause your text to blink or scroll in,out, up and down, as this causes your site to become slow.
The industry standard for loading time is about two to three seconds, so if your website takes longer to load, it’s time to look at factors causing it to load slowly.
Some of these factors include bad HTML, the images are too big, or the hosting site is bad. Having a faster loading time is imperative, as customers are more likely to abandon your site if it takes too long to load.
Too many Flash modules
Google Chrome, one of the most popular web browsers, announced it would stop supporting Adobe Flash. If the majority of your website’s viewers are using Chrome, the last thing you want them to see is a bunch of empty, unsupported Flash modules. Start phasing out Flash modules immediately if your site uses them.
If your visitors encounter a 404 error or Page Not Found message too many times on your website, they are more likely to abandon your site altogether, which increases your bounce rate. When it has a bounce rate of 60 per cent or above, your website needs an update.
While you’re auditing your website for broken pages, you should also check for old content that is no longer relevant to your business. If your last blog post was from three or four years ago, that tells your visitors that you’re not paying much attention to your website. Consider revamping your content strategy, which will assist with SEO rankings.
Your search engine rankings are poor
This can be tricky, as Google seems to update their search algorithm twice a year. If your rankings have dropped, it’s time to evaluate your website for archaic search engine techniques, like keyword stuffing, and start adopting newer ones. Generating new content helps with this.
Outdated and inaccurate info
Simply put, if you no longer work with a certain client or no longer sell a certain product, you should update your website to reflect that information. This maintains trust between you and your customers. Also, make sure your copy is free of any spelling or grammatical errors.
Little or no social media integration
Having social media share buttons is industry standard at this point. Some businesses feel this is unnecessary, citing excuses like “my industry isn’t social.” Use social media integration anyway. At this stage, not seeing share buttons on sites is strange.
Missed our ten top free digital marketing tools for your startup? Catch up with our business development piece here.
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