Many companies make the mistake of creating the perfect website for their business, just to let it sit there unattended for years. As long as it’s out there and not showing an error page, they’re satisfied. But that attitude could be costing you customers.
We’ve noticed that every three years customers come to us looking to refresh their website's visuals and content. It's like their websites have an expiration date and go through a death cycle. Sounds ominous, but bear with us - it’s a real thing. If you don’t keep up with the latest web trends, keep fresh content and stay compliant with the latest search engine trends you’re likely to fall off the face of the web.
So, what attributes to the three year website death cycle?
Internet trends move quickly, and in just three years your business website can go from impressive to “meh” for a couple of reasons:
Web design is constantly changing, and what may have been trending when you created your site three years ago could be considered obsolete at this point. If you want your company to seem like it’s still on top of the latest marketing trends, you need to be on top of your game design-wise as well. Customers will be able to spot if it’s been a few years since you last updated your website.
If you haven’t updated your content at all in the last three years, chances are it’s all old news. For example, if you boasted about your “23 years in business” three years ago, you have 26 years of experience now. You’re due for an update! We always suggest using timeless terminology since you probably aren’t in and out of your CMS every day.
If your website is out of date visually, we recommend two options:
For those whose content is good: If you have good bones to your website, a reskin can be applied over your existing content and structure. Essentially, it’s a facelift for your website - the hierarchy of content stays the same, but everything looks new and updated.
Reskin projects with Virteom are perfect for clients who want to take their website on one bite at a time. Address the immediate dissatisfaction of the aesthetics, and once that’s right – you can begin to update the content.
This option is slightly more dramatic than a reskin, and requires a complete replacement of your web design, content and structure. It’s ideal for companies who are looking to expand or rebrand and want to throw everything they currently have out the window. Even if your website has good bones but you still feel you could be doing more to keep up with the latest trends, an overhaul is your best option.
If your website is out of date, lacking information, and could use a complete overhaul we suggest a completely new design and discovery session. With Virteom this option allows you to understand who your customers are and create content and an aesthetic based on what they want vs. what you think they want.
Some companies let their websites fall into disarray because they don’t know who their web developers are. Even if they wanted to make an update, they wouldn’t know who to reach out to. If that’s the case, then what’s the point of having a business website if you can’t control your own messaging?
Entrusting your site to a web developer is a big decision. They essentially control what goes on your website, how it looks, the content and all the coding. Being unable to reach your developer means you can’t update new details about your business or even know if your website is still compliant with the best SEO practices and protocols.
For example, one of our customers just moved locations and could not get in contact with their developers to change their address on their website. Can you imagine how much business they may be missing because their website does not display the correct physical location?
You also need to keep up with the latest web practices. Back in October 2017 Google started calling for websites to get an SSL - if you’re using a web developer, do you know if your website has an SSL yet? Or even if you wanted to obtain one, do you know how to install it?
If the answer is “I don’t know”, then you need to get out fast! Either find another web developer with better communication, or start hosting your own site with an easy to use CMS.
Part of ensuring a high quality website experience for your customers is keeping them protected while they peruse your site. After three years, your site may be in need of some serious security updates. Hackers won’t wait for you to update your site and will use any chink in the armor they can to access your confidential or sensitive information.
Updating your site every three years allows you to take stock of your current security measures, and upgrade to the latest technology. Building trust with your clients includes making sure their information is safe. Once you update your website security, schedule regular checkups to monitor maintenance.
It’s no secret that search engines are constantly switching up their algorithms to keep websites on their toes. Once you think you may have certain SEO practice down, it can change just as quickly. When you created your website three years ago, you may have put all of those practices into place. Now, those practices are obsolete and could actually be hurting your web rankings.
By the same token, you could be missing out on some opportunities to improve your website’s SEO rankings with the latest best practices, such as:
Be sure to include meta tags, meta descriptions, keywords and alt tags on all of your pages. These are the things that will help search engine bots find and rank your website.
Just like text, images can help boost your SEO rankings if you optimize them correctly. To learn more about how to get the most from your website images, check out our blog post here.
Broken links are not a good look for any website. They make it seem like your references are outdated and are less likely to get picked up by search engine bots. Checking your links periodically allows you to replace, remove or update any that aren’t working correctly.
In the days of old - you know, 2014 - business websites boasted the benefits of their services and products in order to attract consumers. Now, their methods have changed. Companies are attracting more customers by focusing on what the customer needs or wants, then showing how their business could provide the solution. The latest marketing trend is knowing your customers and solving their problems.
The first step to this marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer - an exercise that many companies are still trying to perfect.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Virteom offers tools, like the buyer persona exercise, to help you understand who your buyers are. Essentially, this persona is “a fictional representation of your ideal customer”, gained through research that best identifies your target audience. Once you know your audience, you will be able to construct effective messaging that speaks directly to them.
To prevent your website from falling into the three year death cycle, schedule routine updates. This can be in the form of regular blogging, backing your website with social media and sending out email campaigns to drive traffic to your website. Once your followers are at your site, you can use other marketing tactics to convert viewers into customers or upsell your current clients.
It may sound like a lot of work to keep your website updated, but using a CRM or Marketing Automation tool can ease the process while generating more leads for your business.
Don’t let your website fall into the three year cycle death trap. Virteom can help you keep your business website updated and designed to convert more customers. Contact us today for a consultation!