In 1995, Clifford Stoll wrote an article in Newsweek where he stated that all the hype about the Internet was essentially a fad. Talk about a swing and miss. Granted, the Internet was still in its infancy. But twenty years later, the Internet is a crucial part of our lives and our reliance on it grows every year.
If you are doing business today, it’s imperative that you have an online presence. However, merely being online is not enough since the technologies we use are changing at such a rapid pace. These shifts can dramatically affect your business website, which is why you need to revisit your website every two to three years.
Why such a specific time frame? The lifecycle of the technologies used to build websites are approximately that long. Take Flash, for instance. After being used by nearly every website, it came crashing down a few years later. Why? Because it wasn’t a good fit for search engines and Apple refused to use it on their revolutionary tablet, the iPad.
But enough trend spotting. Let’s review some of the repercussions you might suffer if you don’t have a site that is up to date with the latest technologies.
Keep Up with SEO
If you don’t regularly update your business website to keep up with the latest SEO criteria, you could get left behind in the SEO game.
A perfect example is the huge shift earlier this year when Google changed its search algorithm to favor mobile-ready websites. “Mobilegeddon,” as everyone was calling it, caused a lot of websites to drop in Google’s rankings if their site wasn’t up to Google’s mobile standards. Nearly 50% of non-mobile-friendly websites dropped in rank after the update, according to the Wall Street Journal. If you were a part of that 50%, I’m sure you saw a decrease in traffic, which in turn has probably reduced the number of online leads you’re receiving.
If you’re not quite sure what the status of your website is in Google’s eyes, you can find out if Google views your website as mobile-friendly by using their online test.
While certainly the most dramatic Google algorithm update in recent memory, “Mobilegeddon” is just the latest in a line of major changes the search engine giant has made to the parameters that affect your site’s search rankings. Which means that if you don’t keep up with the latest trends yourself, you at least need to have someone on your side who does. If you don’t, your site will continue to suffer in search rankings, which, in turn, will lead to lost leads and potential revenue.
Avoid Becoming “That Site”
Users notice when you have an old site. Have you ever been to “that site” that has a copyright date, or a news item, from 2008? Is your site “that site?”
Making a good first impression online is critical to keeping your users engaged. Per HubSpot, You have less than 15 seconds to capture the imagination of your audience to keep them on your site. If your site looks stale or old, then visitors will very likely leave to find services or information they want elsewhere.
When was your site last redesigned? Was it developed to be mobile friendly? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then it’s been too long. You’ll want to take the necessary steps to get your site up to date so that visitors will have good experiences when they visit your site using a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. They’ll be able to enjoy a site built with their device of choice in mind and easily find the information they need.
Add a CMS to Edit Your Site’s Content
Almost all websites built today include a content management system (CMS), which lets you edit you’re your website with ease. If a site was built five or six years ago, it was likely built using HTML or an outdated CMS that’s difficult to use or, worse, crashes the site.
Consider the WordPress platform. In its infancy, WordPress was built for blogging. It’s still great for that, but it has matured substantially over the last few years so that it can be used for so much more than blogging, including building sophisticated functionality for industrial websites.
Ensure Your Business Website Is Secure
Maintaining and updating your website is paramount from a security standpoint. Even if your site is currently built on a reasonably secure, contemporary CMS platform, there are a lot of people out there who want to play games and hack into your website. Working at a B2B marketing agency with many clients who deal with sensitive customer information, I’ve often recommended web platforms strictly based on security criteria.
Change the Way You Do Business
Business requirements change periodically. Take e-commerce, for instance. Maybe a few years ago your customers weren’t interested in ordering online. Or, you just weren’t ready to fulfill online orders —perhaps your ERP systems couldn’t integrate directly with your website to track orders or stock statuses.
Today, these sorts of things can be done fairly easily. At Industrial Strength Marketing, we recently took a client’s antiquated quoting process from a static PDF to a full online, dynamic form. They generated more than $2 million–worth of online quotes in the first six months.
Furthermore, with the Internet of Things becoming a significant part of our everyday lives, the possibilities are endless for business. Technological advances will soon allow you to integrate your website with nearly any sort of machine, allowing people to dream up all sorts of crazy ideas.
For instance, who would have thought that you could order a product and have a drone deliver it right to your door within a few hours? Amazon did. And it looks like Amazon Prime Air just may happen some day soon.
Or, take CloudDDM. They have taken additive manufacturing to the next level by partnering with UPS. CloudDDM’s website allows their customers to order prototype parts online and receive them the next day in some cases. Leveraging their website and other available technologies, they are changing the way business is done in the additive manufacturing space.
Updating Your Business Website Is an Opportunity
Building a new website every two to three years can be a difficult undertaking for some businesses. For one, it can be expensive. And, let’s be honest, it can be painful. Often, there are multiple stakeholders involved, which can make it a long, drawn-out process.
But rather than seeing a new website as a necessary chore, try to view it as an opportunity to clarify where your business is and where you want to take it. Because today a business website shouldn’t be just an online billboard for your company. Rather, it should be an integral part of your business.
To help get you started building that new business website, here are 15 questions you should ask any web developer you consider working with.