Your website is your storefront to the world. According to Pew Research, 78 percent of consumers making a purchase first do online research —and that percentage is even higher as income and education increases.
Nielsen studies show that people often leave web pages within 10 – 20 seconds. For people to stay, they must feel that your site stacks up against your competition. They must feel that they can find what they want on your site, and find it easily. If your site looks disorganized or out of date, your customer is gone.
Here are 8 other reasons why an out-of-date website puts your business at a disadvantage:
1. Decreased site usability for visitors
- Let’s face it, design best practices and web technologies change all of the time. And sometimes businesses make changes to their older sites by simply patching and adding on. What inevitably happens is that once-clear navigational structure become difficult to use and labyrinth-like. Once-clear messages begin to compete with each other and crowd each other out. Too many images compete with the call to action that encourages a user to click. The result of not evaluating your website holistically and regularly, or not engaging a professional to do so for you, can result in a loss of credibility that causes an increase in a site’s bounce rate and therefore a decrease in quality traffic.
2. Decreased conversion rate from visitor to customer
- If your website message and the pathways through which you guide your users to your product are muddied, usually the conversion rate of your website, decreases. For those users who do stay on your website they may give up when they reach the point of making a decision.
3. Lower ranking in the search engines
- An older site probably does not incorporate current search engine optimization (SEO) practices, and so may be relegated to back pages by Google and other search engines. It used to be that web designers could achieve higher page rankings by “stuffing” them with prime keywords. But newer search engine algorithms actively penalize this kind of tactic. Google prefers a distinct set of SEO best practices that should be actively managed and this will help you rank higher in the search engines.
4. Doesn’t leverage social media
- The world loves social media. Seventy-one percent of all internet users use Facebook or other social media such as Pinterest or Twitter. Participating with these popular outlets helps you in two ways: a) it builds customer interaction with your business; b) it’s also an effective way to boost your SEO.
5. Static content doesn’t engage
- Search engines and social media are thirsty for up-to-date and evolving content. If you’re not regularly updating your site’s text and graphical content, the search engines lose interest and so will your social audience. One way sites add new content and stay high on search engine radar is to add a blog. Regular blog posts also are great for educating your customers, and keeping them up-to-date on what you offer.
6. Website redesign doesn’t accommodate different devices
- Since 2012, web designers have made great progress in making sites easier to use and consistent in appearance across a wide range of browser sizes / device types. Responsive design techniques lead to better usability, better site experience, and more conversions, be they in the form of direct sales, or in interaction with your business that leads to later sales. Twenty percent of all internet browsing is done from mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for these users, that market segment is lost to you.
7. May no longer reflect who you are
- For effective marketing, business sites must reflect substantive growth and evolution in their business, which results in changes in identity and brand.
8. Does not incorporate Google Analytics and so cannot monitor and analyze site traffic
- GA is one of the great free resources on the internet, and can be set up for any website. It will monitor your site traffic and much more, including analysis of your site’s strengths and weaknesses.
Does your site suffer from a high bounce rate from key pages? Low conversions? Consider if the reason may be outmoded content and design.
But consider well before beginning a wholesale site overhaul. A new site must be built carefully and skillfully, building on the shoulders of the old site, in order to be fully successful.