You put in a lot of hard work and effort into building your website and you finally got it published. Then you spent time tweaking and adjusting it and now it’s working like a fine Swiss watch.
Or is it?
Don’t let your website become criminally out of date
It’s easy to forget about your website once you have it up and running. Especially if you have a brick-n-mortar store that seems to take up all of our time and energy. But if you have an outdated website, it could be robbing you of new, and even repeat, business.
But there’s no need to panic. Most websites don’t need a complete overhaul. Mostly, what they need is a little maintenance to keep them in good standing with the web surfing community.
The crime — website negligence
When you take a look at your website it probably looks just fine to you. If nothing’s changed since you published it — that’s a crime. Or at least it should be.
The world wide web is a dark and cruel place, and your website needs your attention and guidance in order to grow big and strong, and hold its own in organic search results.
Leaving your website to fend for itself is like leaving a child to raise itself — nothing good can come of it.
In order to avoid having your website rob you of business like a cat burglar in the dead of night, make sure to schedule regular intervals to check:
The usual suspects — easy to find pieces of content that can rob you of business
- Social media icons – Having a social media icon for a platform that no longer exists (e.g. Google+), or that you’re no longer active on, is a dead give away that your website is being ignored.
- Broken links – Nothing is more frustrating to a potential customer than clicking on a link in a website and instead of finding the latest fall fashions, landing on an error code, or worse, not having anything happen at all.
- Wrong business hours – If you have a brick-n-mortar location, be sure that your hours of operation on your website are always up to date. This includes holiday hours and emergency closures. Nothing is worse than making a special trip to a store only to find that it’s closed when the website says it’s open.
- Old Menu – If you’re a restaurant owner, you probably already know how important it is to have your menu online. For people with allergies, it’s imperative to know if there’s anything on the menu that they can eat before making plans to visit a new restaurant. Getting to a restaurant and finding that the menu has changed and that they don’t have anything that fits your dietary restrictions can ruin an evening out.
The cat burglars — sneaky culprits that you don’t instantly recognize as potential business slayers
- Outdated imagery – If your images are flaunting colors from the ’80s, 1960s neon, or your employee profile pictures have them sporting crimped hair, skinny ties, or shirts that belong on “That ‘70s Show” and you’re not a retro-chic business, then you definitely need to update your look.
- Old reviews – If you’ve posted customer reviews on your website and the last one is from three years ago, it gives the impression that either you’ve gone out of business or that you haven’t gotten a good review in the last three years.
- Out of date event calendars – It’s great if you hold events periodically, just make sure that your website isn’t still showing dates for events that have already passed. If you have an annual event, be sure to update it on your calendar as soon as the event is over each year.
- Old themes – If you’ve been using the same theme on your website and it no longer fits your brand, doesn’t seem to flow right, or just plain looks old and worn like a favorite t-shirt that’s more like a rag than a shirt, it’s time to get a new one.
- Last years’ fonts – Just like bouffants and bellbottoms, some fonts go out of style. So check your font style and formatting to make sure it still looks as good as it did when you first published. And if it’s not being read correctly by mobile devices, it’s time to switch it up.
Backend bullies — everything that’s not easily seen by your visitors but can definitely affect their experience on your website
- Outdated plugins – If you use plugins on your website, there’s nothing funny about a plugin that stops working, so make sure that they’re up to date and working properly.
- Un-friendlies – I’m not talking about the grumpy old guy who lives in the haunted house on the corner. I’m talking about websites that don’t play well with mobile devices. Over half of all web traffic is from mobile devices, so be sure that your website can be viewed and navigated properly — no matter what device it’s being accessed with.
- Not a safe zone – If your website is still wearing the old HTTP, then it’s definitely time to upgrade to the secure HTTPS. The “S” lets visitors know that your website is secure and it’s safe to use. Google believes that it’s so important that it now lists HTTPS sites over those that are HTTP, and they even have an entire article in their help center on Securing your site with HTTPS. I recommend you check it out.
TIP: If you’re going to make a drastic change to your website, like changing themes, logos or completely rebuilding it, make sure to announce it in advance. That way your current customers are prepared for something new and can share in the excitement.
Police your site to keep outdated content at bay
Just like life, the world wide web is a fluid, growing entity and your website needs to be the same lest it end up at the bottom of search results like a lone sock that’s been shoved to the back of the dresser drawer.
Be sure to set, and stick to, a schedule to police your website for the criminal elements that can lead a website into a life of criminally bad performance.
With a few regular updates here and there, you can be acquitted of website negligence and your website can remain a respectable member of the world wide web, as well as stay out of search engine purgatory.