When was the last time you hit the refresh button on your website? If you haven’t put effort into an upgrade since late 2019, you may be sabotaging your company’s success.
About 2.5 years is the longest you should go without improving and modernizing your site, according to some digital marketing experts. Depending on your industry and competition, you may want to revisit your website even more frequently.
In most cases, this just makes sense. Consumer behaviors change rapidly and without warning, which means your audience may want and expect a different user experience today than they did a year ago. For instance, 62% of people reported to HubSpot that a main concern for them was being able to find contact information easily. Almost one-third of users said they put a high premium on a brand’s “About” page. Those responses might come as a surprise to you, especially because those aspects of your site probably aren’t where you put most of your focus.
The point is that you want your website to be clean, fresh, and authentic for modern audiences. A simple way to do that is to avoid all the pitfalls that have earned other companies low marks for lousy sites. Below are some of the most prevalent website faux pas and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Neglecting to Create a Content Migration Plan.
Maybe you’re planning to build a new website. A complete overhaul can make sense for some businesses seeking to rebrand, but it’s important to stay on top of links so that nothing is left behind in the move. You can make this easier by ensuring you have a comprehensive content migration plan in place.
Rick Bodey, CMO and partner at digital marketing agency Ezzey, is blunt when talking about the importance of protecting your best content. As Bodey explains, “Content is king, and Google is blind. Every piece of content on your website must be evaluated and migrated or removed altogether. The number one reason people see a huge, sometimes temporary, drop in traffic is that their core content has changed and Google is trying to figure out where they should be online all over again.”
To begin the process, create a spreadsheet with all your current webpages and find out which ones are earning the most traffic. Then, work with your website designer to seamlessly move those pages over when your new site goes live. This way, you’ll be less likely to see a major fall-off in traffic.
Mistake 2: Not Prioritizing Website Maintenance.
Regardless of whether you’re going to embark on a comprehensive website face-lift, you need to maintain your website. It’s not a “set it and forget it” part of your toolkit. On the contrary, your website should be continuously growing and evolving, particularly if you’re updating it with new blog posts or product pages.
Routine maintenance can also help you identify problems like the dreaded slow-loading page. How slow is too slow? Business.com reports that most consumers won’t stick around longer than three seconds when viewing sites on their devices. Consequently, you want to improve your page loading speed so that you have the best chance of making a strong first impression.
As part of your website maintenance, Casey Rowland, VP of marketing for Newfold Digital, recommends looking for broken links. Though the process might sound hard, Rowland explains that it’s quite simple. “Finding broken links is actually easier than you might think,” he writes. “There are a lot of free tools available that automatically check websites for broken links, such as Google Search Console (which offers plenty of other useful features to boot).” In other words, there’s no reason to have a site filled with 404 errors when these simple tools exist to help your website remain in premier condition.
Mistake 3: Using Facebook in Place of a Website.
Have you been coasting on the idea that your Facebook business page can act as your corporate website? You’re not alone, but you’re in the minority. A survey from Top Design Firms shows that 27% of organizations don’t have a site.
This may seem like a cost-effective way to save cash, but it’s losing you money in the long run. Why? Your Facebook page gets SEO power for Facebook, not for your business. Sure, you might be able to get some traffic, but you have to work extra hard for smaller results. Plus, you don’t have all the benefits that a website affords. These include the ability to have a blog, run your e-commerce business your way, and shepherd visitors through pre-planned journeys designed to turn them into customers or clients.
Unless you have all the business you can handle, get yourself a URL. Then, find someone who can help you design a site. Alternatively, you may feel comfortable creating a very basic one yourself. Either way, you will be better off with a website unique to your business.
Mistake 4: Not Checking Your Site on a Variety of Devices.
Today, most consumers take an omnichannel approach to discovering, investigating, and supporting brands. McKinsey numbers show that one-third of buyers routinely engage in omnichannel shopping routes. And the younger your target market’s generation, the more likely they’ll be to use multiple devices, channels, and platforms before giving you their financial or personal information.
You probably have taken an omnichannel path yourself. Perhaps you saw an advertisement for a product while watching your favorite Peacock show. You typed the product name into your phone and did a little digging. Then, you forgot about everything when your show came back on. The next day, you remembered the product again and decided to jump on your desktop to see the site you were looking at on mobile. But what happens if the site seems clunky or looks strange? Suddenly, you’re less enchanted and more annoyed.
Your website needs to look good on all browsers, no matter what. Conduct some due diligence and pull up all your pages on a variety of devices. If you have hundreds of pages, start with your highest-performing ones first because they’re the ones getting you the most eyeballs. Knowing what others are seeing is essential so that you can fix any issues before they derail your brand image.
The website you reveal to the public acts as your digital storefront, for better or for worse. Just make sure it’s always for the better by keeping it up-to-date and ensuring your content is easily digestible across multiple devices. Your consumers will thank you, and your business can rest easy knowing its website is performing at the top of its game.