Do you need a new website?
Website technology changes at the speed of light – when did you last update your website? Here are some signs that it might be time:
-if visits to your site are declining. The one thing that might change faster yet could be Search Engine “rules”. Many website templates now include built-in tools that help you to maximize your visibility to search engines. At a minimum, you might be able to add one of these tools as a widget to your existing template.
-if your products/services or the focus of your business has changed. If your business is evolving and you find your self changing focus or direction, make sure your website is reflective of the new direction.
-if your website is not representative of the culture of your organization. Branding is not just your logo. Everything about the look, feel, images and content of your website should be representative of your brand and corporate culture. Especially businesses that rely on referrals for their business need a website that accurately represents them. Your website is the first place a referral will go to confirm what they’ve been told.
-if you are not using a recognized host, people may have trouble finding you. You may have seen commercials on TV for FREE Website design from web.com. A website must be hosted somewhere (well-known reputable providers include places where you would purchase your domain name like GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com, etc.) The “free” website design does not include hosting, and of course, web.com would like you to use their hosting services. When web.com (or sometimes other private designers) host your site, your url will not be www.abccompany.com – it will be www.web.com/abccompany or something similar; this makes it harder for search engines to find your content. Use a reputable well-known host.
–if you are not currently using a website template. There are very few small- mid-size companies that can’t find a template that will suit their needs. Custom web design is expensive and in most cases, unnecessary. (And some unscrupulous designers will contract for a custom site…and then just use template).
–if your website template is obsolete. All template designers are not created equal. The more the designers provide updates and upgrades, the more current your template will remain. These updates often include functionality improvements, new widgets or other tools that improve your site.
-if you cannot edit your website yourself. Search engines love change. If you need to go back to your designer every time you want to change something, that’s not fair. You should be able to edit your own content, images, blog posts or news, etc. You may need a designer for major structural changes, but you should have access to edit your own site. If you’re not comfortable doing this, make sure you have a WordPress site and you’ll be able to hire any number of contractors on a limited basis to edit your website at a much lower cost than using the designer.
–if your site is not mobile-friendly. The technical term for this is “responsive” – sites that offer an optimal viewing experience over a variety of devices: pc, mac, tablet, smartphone. Some estimates report that as many as 78% of people in the U.S. access websites through their smartphones or tablets. If your site is not responsive, your information will not be viewed accurately on mobile devices. Most current templates are responsive.
-if your cousin/nephew/child designed your site so that you could save money. If your cousin/nephew/child is a professional web designer…nevermind! But for the most part, non-professionals may not be aware of the latest developments and options, and rarely design sites from a marketing perspective. Hire a professional.
Your website is the primary place where people go for information on your company, products or services. Regard your website as the high-priority marketing necessity that it is, using a reputable, knowledgeable professional to construct it. Much of our business is re-designing websites or updating content; I’m always disappointed to find that there are many people willing to take advantage of business professionals who (appropriately) know their own business but not-so-much about web design.
A completely new template will not always be necessary, but be sure to update your website at a minimum of every few years – SO much will change in that timeframe. Put your best virtual foot forward: provide your customers and prospects with an accurate portrayal of your business as well as an informative experience by working with a professional to update your company website!