As the digital era rumbles forward, most organisations have recognised that their website is a necessary cornerstone to marketing and client relationship building. As a new website is a significant investment, many expect it to last several years before the process must be repeated.
With technology and marketing tech developing so quickly, however, there is always “the next big web thing” (like another Google update) and, like new cars, it’s easy to feel like your new website may be, in some way, obsolete the day after it’s launched.
There are a few free resources that give you a quick and often cursory indication as to how your website is performing. These include Google Tests and the Firefox add-on SEO Doctor. As a general guide however, the list below outlines 5 sure-fire indicators that your site may be more of a business hindrance than a help.
1. Your site isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly.
Today consumers are using mobile phones in increasing numbers to conduct their research and make buying decisions online. They’re also adept at switching between devices throughout the buying cycle.
If your website isn’t responsive (screen layout changes to maximise the user experience depending on the device screen size) you could be providing a bad user and viewing experience which could lose you leads.
Perhaps, more importantly, Google’s last few updates have made it clear that their focus is on the mobile user experience and their algorithm now favours websites that present a “mobile friendly” experience. Yes, this means a non- mobile friendly website could easily be ranked lower than a mobile friendly one.
The bottom line: If you have to squint or “pinch and spread” your website when seen on a mobile phone, your site is at a disadvantage in attracting AND converting prospects to leads. For further details check out the article
2. Is your site secure?
It’s no secret that optimising your site for popular Search Engine ranking systems is crucial. Beyond using strategies to ensure your site ranks at the top for the keywords relevant to your business and services, your website also needs to be technically setup for search engine optimisation (SEO). One such setup feature is security.
Google recently announced that sites setup for HTTPS (basically a more secure option to HTTP) will rank better. Has your site been optimised?
Without going into technical details, sites that use the old HTTP set up will be found less and Google could even be serving users with a “Security Warning” before they can progress to your site.
While having the HTTPS security update to your site does not necessitate a complete redevelopment, it is a sign that your site is potentially behind the competition.
Bottom line: If your site’s url (as it appears in your browser’s url field above all websites) starts with http//… and not https// (as well as a closed lock symbol and/or the word “secure” in some browsers), your site needs attention to be competing.
3. Your user experience is turning people away.
As the population becomes busier, their expectations of a web experience are growing. Poor user experience on your website is one of the most significant marketing weaknesses for businesses. How long has it been since you had to wait while a site “loads”? User experiences are improving every day and your site may be turning customers off.
Of course different target markets and different site purposes will have a large bearing on your site’s performance, but there are some basic tenants of user experience that ALL sites should now be attending to.
Communication requires simplicity. Your content should be organised and easy to navigate (should be obvious and intuitive for your user) and devoid of any distractions that don’t contribute to the overall message you’re pushing. After all, you want to get people through the door, not confuse them and point them in the other direction.
Your site should also load quickly on all significant pages. Remember, more than 3-5 seconds and consumers will open something else.
Bottom line: If a common member of your target audience cannot get to what they want to find within 2-3 clicks or arriving within 1-4 seconds – your site may well need an overhaul to be delivering value to prospects. Learn more at Science of User Experience (UX).
4. Content Marketing is king, so where is yours?
With the internet choc-full of information, prospects can easily find products and services they are looking for. Making your site easy to find (attracting new visitors) and compelling (converting visitors to leads) is a mandatory and ongoing responsibility for modern organisations. Content Marketing or Inbound Marketing methodologies has become a full time specialisation in the Marketing field.
Regular and relevant content can help build traffic, create leads, generate sales and support your website’s ranking as a reliable reference on Google. If your website is missing a blog or if your current blog is outdated (or forgotten), reviewing your website and how it is used to drive your business is an urgent consideration.
Bottom Line: If your website content or organisation’s blog has not been updated for more than a month, it’s a sign you need to address your website as a business tool. If you want your website to drive customer acquisition and sales for your organisation, a website designed for the right content methodologies is now mandatory.
5. Irrelevent or bad backlinks
Optimising your site for Google’s ranking system is crucial. Beyond using strategies to ensure your site ranks at the top for the keywords relevant to your business and services, your website also needs several other off site features to be working well. These include backlinks.
It wasn’t so long ago that unscrupulous operators offering No 1 rankings on Google to everyone were using less than savoury tactics to try and work the Search Engine systems. This included the use of unrelavent backlinks (links from sites not related to your business) or “Link farms” (sites they generated with the sole purpose of creating the impression of large numbers of backlinks to their client’s sites.
As Google got wise to this and introduced better detection methods, sites with nefarious and irrelavent backlinks were penalised in search results or even blacklisted from the Search Engine altogether. This can have a dangerous effect on your organisation’s ability to compete in a digital world and to make matters worse – bad backlinks are invisible to the casual viewer.
Bottom line: If you are not sure of your site’s backlink status, have a professional agency/developer, check it out and report back to you. It may well be time to start afresh with a professional strategy. We have prepared this useful guide "25 website must-haves for driving traffic, leads and sales". Simply click on the image to receive your copy.
There are few more important strategies for your marketing than keeping your website competitive. It starts with a good website brief and continues after the site is launched. If your website is showing any of the signs above, there’s no better time to take action than now.