5 Reasons Why It’s Time for a New Website

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by Alex Morgan
by Alex Morgan
For many businesses, their website is the single most important element for attracting new customers. In many business sectors having a website means your business will be found and utilised by a new wave of customers. Sadly, for many businesses, it is their website that is significantly affecting their business growth.

We all happily service our cars every year to ensure it won’t break down or cause an accident. A website should be no different. While there are many reasons why it might be time for your website to be refreshed, here are the top 5 reasons.

1. It’s not visually appealing

In so many facets of the modern world, we are trying, as a society, to get across the idea that looks don’t matter. With websites, it’s very much a key factor. Have a browse through Google for local businesses near you and you’ll see some modern, stylish websites that immediately catch your eye and your interest. You’ll also see some old-fashioned and outdated websites that don’t capture your interest. With a website, you’ve got milliseconds to make an impression on someone. That very first snapshot of you and your business will be the defining thought the new visitor has. If they see a sleek, modern website they’ll think of your business as being relevant and interesting. If they see something else they will either assume your business is closed down or is unimpressive and not worthy of their time and money. I know that seems shallow and fickle, but that is the reality – looks matter, first impressions count. Have a look at your website with fresh eyes. Imagine you’ve never seen it before and try to sum up the business in a few words or emotions. If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s time for a change.

2. Is it secure and GDPR compliant?

What was the biggest business event of 2018? Probably the role out of the EU’s GDPR rules. While the new rules are confusing and, in many cases, often irrelevant to small businesses, there is so much that every business needs to address. If your website handles online payments or just simply gathers visitors email addresses, phone numbers or other bits of personal data, you need to be compliant. Does your website have a privacy policy? A cookie policy? How about cookie consent? If any of those things are lacking, action needs to be taken. GDPR compliance is one thing, but the overall security of your website is another key factor. Has your website been hacked or is it vulnerable to hacking? Has your IP address or domain name been blacklisted? Sadly in the modern world, every website is a target for hackers, so you need to be actively putting up barriers to them. While it is possible to retroactively fit security features to your website, sometimes its easier to rebuild it with security in mind. If you’re in any doubt about the security and/or compliance of your website, it’s vital you take action now.

3. It’s not loading quickly enough

I’ve already mentioned that looks matter with websites. But does your website have a chance to make a good impression?
Research indicates that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. How long does your website take? You can easily check using tools like GTMetrix.
If your website is taking over 3 seconds to fully load, you may be already losing out on over half of the website traffic you could be getting.
While it’s important to have a visually appealing website, it’s very important to have a site that loads quickly enough to be visually appealing!
If your website is taking too long to load it’s vitally important this is addressed soon, so you don’t lose out of all of those impatient visitors who won’t wait.

4. SEO & inconsistencies

If you own a website you will undoubtedly know about SEO (search engine optimisation). It’s the big flashing sign above your website that tells people what it is and what you do. If you own, for instance, a cafe in Exeter you need to be confident that when a local person or a tourist searches on Google for ‘cafe in Exeter’ your website will be featured somewhere in the results. The higher the better, of course. One of the main factors that affect your ability to be noticed on Google and be correctly placed is the quality of the information on your website. If you are a cafe in Exeter but only once mention the words ‘cafe’ or ‘Exeter’, then Google might not think this is an important point about your business. (Please note – using those terms 100 times on one page will have a much more damaging effect, though!) Another key consideration is the consistency of your content. If your cafe in Exeter also talks about Plymouth, Taunton and Barnstaple as it’s location, it will affect the ability for it to rank in local searches for Exeter. Also, if your phone number is written differently in three places it may not be correct on your Google search listing. SEO is important. Does your website appear in the most relevant and important searches? Is the content on your website consistent and correct? If not, it’s time for a revamp.

5. Is it fully mobile-friendly?

How many of the visitors to your website are looking at it on their smartphone or tablet? Recent research suggests that over half of all website traffic is done by a mobile device. So, theoretically, half of your website visitors are looking at your website on a phone. Therefore, you must ask yourself if your website works and looks good on a mobile phone. You’d be surprised how many small businesses do not have a mobile-friendly website. The importance of being mobile-friendly echoes what I’ve already mentioned about the visual appeal of your website, it’s loading time and the SEO of your website. If your content does not all responsively fit on a smartphone screen and needs to be scrolled through horizontally, people are going to be put off by your website, and therefore your business. Often websites that are not mobile-friendly take much longer to load for a mobile visitor. Half of your visitors might get a website that loads in under 3 seconds and a half will have to wait longer – assuming they do wait. Finally, Google will not rank highly any website that is not mobile-friendly. However good your content is and how hard you’re trying to make it appear in the rankings, if it’s not mobile-friendly, it’s not ranking

In summary

Going back to the analogy at the start – we know you need to service your car every year. We know it’s important to ensure it’s road-worthy to prevent break downs or accidents. Websites should not be treated any differently. If your business relies on its website you need to ensure it’s safe, secure, attractive and SEO/mobile-friendly.

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