One of the biggest problems that we see here at The Refinery is people with sites that haven’t been updated since they were first launched. This is somewhat of a “set it and forget it” mentality. You may be thinking that once you have your site up and running that there is no need to update it; however, that is just not the case. Web design, like all design, flows and changes with the times, and if you don’t want your site to look outdated – it is essential that you stay fresh with the trends.
Appeal to New Customers
Updating your site can help you connect with new customers and new types of people. Customers like to visit sites that feel current. In this way your website is a lot like your home or style of clothing. If you went years and years without updating these other things, then people could make assumptions about when your style originated. That isn’t to say that we are suggesting you chase trends and not look age-appropriate or industry-appropriate. It is crucial to maintain, stay fresh and appear current in the business world.
Websites are the same way. Many users can look at them and know right away that they have been neglected. Is this how you want your business to appear to people researching your products and services on the web?
Keep Things Clean and Well-Organized
Many websites are like closets. When people first move into a home they are methodical and well-organized about what makes the cut and goes into their closet, just as when they first design a website they are particular and careful about what gets added to each page. However, over time people develop clutter. They get random items that must be added to the closet, just as they get new links and categories that must be added to their web pages. Instead of carefully evaluating everything else and seeing if there is anything they can part with, the new items usually just get shoved in right next to the old ones.
Over time this can get incredibly messy and chaotic. Just as people need to occasionally clean out their closets so too do they need to occasionally clean out their web pages. Do you have new products and services that need more prominence? Are their links and categories that see little action and can be relocated to a less visible place? Doing so not only makes your page look better, it makes it easier for new visitors to navigate.
Reevaluate Your Focus
Just as some links and items on your homepage can become irrelevant or significantly less important over time, so too can entire sections and huge segments of your site. It is not at all uncommon for businesses to gradually evolve and change focus as they go. Your company may have begun by offering one service with a small focus in another, and completely shifted so that the once secondary service is now the primary source of business. Obviously these changes need to be represented on your site as well.
Make sure that your homepage accurately and clearly depicts the core of your business. You don’t want to give customers and visitors an incomplete or inaccurate impression about what you offer. Doing so will deter potential new business and frustrate or anger the customers the customers you currently have. Try to view your website with a fresh pair of eyes. If you were a first-time visitor to your site would you have a correct understanding of your best products and services?
Security and Accessibility
The internet and the web browsers that people use to access it are constantly changing. It is imperative that your website is properly configured to allow all the major, modern versions of each browser to correctly display it. Make sure that you are not missing out on an entire segment of the population that uses a specific browser or a specific version of that browser. Likewise, you must ensure that your site is still safe and secure and is not vulnerable to any new threats which may have developed since your last update.
In addition to these concerns you must also keep in mind the new and growing trend of mobile visitors. More and more people are surfing the net on smartphones or tablet devices. Will your website be properly displayed on these devices? Do you have a mobile version of the site that people can use? Does your site use a responsive web design that automatically adjusts for various screen sizes? These concerns are only going to get more pressing and harder to ignore with time.
We realize that many companies and businesses are indeed aware of the need to update their websites. This task may already been on their giant list of goals and objectives. However, without a clear plan and a firm commitment business as usual tends to take priority and web updates are often shifted to the back burner. Don’t let this happen to your site. Do yourself and your customers a favor and make sure that you have a great, high quality, up-to-date website!