How is your website working for you? Is it driving customers to your door? Is it selling products for you business? Is it ranking well on search engines?
If you answered no to any, most and in particular all of these questions, you are probably due to give you site a bit of a digital tune-up.
Why Doesn’t My Site Work Well Anymore?
Most websites start to lose their shine after a little while. This is usually due to a lack of upkeep, but can be caused by lots of other factors, as well. Sometimes it is just a need to update the look and feel of your site. Just like the fashion world, websites go through trends and styles. If your site is outdated looking, it is like showing up for today’s big meeting dressed in your Member’s Only jacket or tie-dyed t-shirt (yes, I know I just showed my age, but you get the idea). Here are some reasons your site may need to be updated.
Style, Technology & Functionality
Like fashion, you may think that your website will come back in “style” if you wait long enough, but this is not likely to happen. The trends change as much for technology advancements as they do for appearance. Often, it is more about the fact that your site is running on outdated tech or does not offer the functionality that customers have come to expect in the sites they visit. This is changing daily and without keeping on top of your site’s “core” you will start to lose rankings and business.
Before the Internet, security for most businesses meant a good lock on the door, an alarm system, and maybe a safe. Set the combination for the safe, shut the door and lock it and you were pretty secure. You never had to upgrade the safe to keep it secure.
Today, your website will get more vulnerable to attack, the longer it sits. If the code behind the scenes is not kept up to date and a security plugin is not installed and monitored, your site is just a ticking time-bomb. A large portions of today’s website run on a content management system, such as WordPress. WordPress alone powers over 30% of all websites and that number is growing. With these CMS sites come site core code, theme code, plugins, web server scripts, etc. All of these have to be updated and maintained, to keep you site safe and secure.
User Experience (UX) & User Interface (UI)
These terms basically refer to how your site visitors perceive and interact with your website. Difficult to find information, poor navigation, broken links, and slow loading pages all contribute to a bad experience for your visitors. This will cause them to leave your site shortly after they arrive (bounce) and it has a bad effect on your site ranking.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), put simply, is a set of techniques used to provide search engines with the information they need to know about your site and determine how it will rank . Some of this is very technical and some of it is just part of a good site design. Some of it happens on-site or on-page and some of it happens off-site.
SEO is one of the keys to getting your site to rank well. Let’s face it, if your site does not show up well in the search results, your traffic to your site will suffer.
What Can I Do to Make My Site Work Better?
There are a number of things you can do to improve your website and how it performs. Some are fairly easy and some require a bit more effort.
The first thing you need to do, is find out where the problems are. There are several free site audit tools online for you to test your site with. Simply enter your domain name and get the report. This will show you some of the basic issues affecting your site’s performance. From this list, you can start checking off the items as you get them fixed.
Update All of Your Site’s Core, Plugins & Themes
If you site has been sitting for a while, without any updates, you likely have some code that is out of date. In fact, most WordPress sites will need plugins updated and other site maintenance performed a few times a month.
Updating these scripts will go a long way toward making your site more secure and it will probably make it run more smoothly, as well.
Make Sure Your Site Is Using a Secure Certificate
Starting a few years ago, there was a push to make all websites use encryption, by installing a secure certificate. It is simply safer for everyone, if the site is encrypted.
If your website runs with the “https” protocol and not the old “http” version, you are probably good to go. That extra (s) on the end makes a lot of difference. It lets the web browser know that your site is secure and using encryption.
Otherwise, many web browsers will give your visitors a security warning when they try to visit. Most of them will not continue to your site. This is bad for business and it will also affect your SEO efforts.
Edit, Change and Optimize Your Images
Sometimes, simply changing out old photos will give a site a completely new look and feel. While you’re doing that, make sure your images are optimized for size and content. Having an image that is 1000 pixels wide that only need to be 300 pixels wide to display on the page, will add load time to your web page. Slow loading sites don’t rank as well as those that load quickly.
If you performed a site audit in the steps above, you likely got some good SEO tips, as well. However, a complete SEO Audit will require a more in depth approach. There are several key components that will not be discovered in a normal site audit. This is usually best left to someone with the experience to handle it properly.
Sometimes, the best step is to start over from scratch. A fresh website design, if done well, will pretty much solve all of the problems listed above and give you a shiny new site to show for your efforts. If it has been a while since your site was designed, this might be a good option for your business to consider.
As I write this, our entire planet is in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of us are having to operate remotely, close our physical locations or operate at reduced capacity. With everyone staying home more, it is imperative that our websites operate at maximum performance.
If you are like most people, all of this may be above your head. You probably know you need help, but don’t know where to start. We are here to help!
Contact us today about our website performance audits and health checks. We can help you find the solutions you need to get your site running at peak performance.