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With 1 in 2 companies planning on increasing their budget for website development this year, it seems that marketers and the C-suite agree that a high-performing website is a critical ingredient for success. In fact, they agree by a wide margin: 87% of all marketers say their website is their most important marketing asset.
While it’s impossible to predict a website’s lifespan, industry experts have found that leading companies refresh their website every three years on average. This means that if your website was built before 2012, it’s probably time for an update.
But, how do you know when it’s really time to make changes to your website?
When it looks outdated
Here’s an easy test: pull up the websites of your three main competitors, and then look at yours. Pretend you know nothing about any of the companies. Just from the design, which one looks like the most appealing company?
The fact is, people judge books by their covers. If your website is outdated, ugly, or difficult to use, you are losing business opportunities. Period.
How to fix it:
You need a website refresh. It’s amazing what a makeover – a new layout, updated fonts and fresh images – can do for your site. A website refresh could be much more cost-effective, too; a typical makeover costs only 25-40% of what a full rebuild does.
Take the next step: Get a Website Redesign Quote
When the content doesn’t fit
Businesses change quickly. Maybe you’ve developed new services, hired new employees and served new markets since your website was built. With all that’s going on, it’s easy to forget that you need to communicate these changes to your customers and prospects.
We’ve found that most marketers don’t change their website content because it’s either too difficult, too time-consuming or too costly. Yet when you consider that the average ROI on a website is 12 times the initial investment, these arguments tend to lose ground quickly.
How to fix it:
If your site’s content problem is beyond just a simple re-write, you need a new website. This route is most effective when a website needs new messaging, new content and a new information structure. New content often also needs new imagery to go along. In this situation, it’s quicker and much more cost-effective to build a new website. Plus, you’ll get better results since your site will be done right from the very start.
Take the next step: Get a Website Development Quote
When it’s difficult to manage
Marketers rarely agree on anything, but regularly adding fresh content to your website is pretty much universally accepted among us all. Doubt me? A recent study confirmed that 40% of all marketers say that blogging on their website is the most important content marketing tactic of all. (Perspective: social media was second, with only 14% saying it was most important).
Customers love content. Google loves content. Prospects love content. Why then are so many websites out there sorely lacking fresh content? For many, the answer is it’s just too difficult to add or change content on their website.
How to fix it:
If you can’t add or change the content on your website, you may need a Content Management System (CMS). There is no single best CMS; picking the right one really depends on your needs. However, if you can use Microsoft Word, you can master most CMS platforms with ease.
Many CMS platforms can be installed into existing websites. Investing in a CMS installation will provide a positive return on investment in as little as six months if you write just one blog per week.
But what if you don’t want to manage all your site content? Then add a blog to your site – commonly disguised as a News section. You still can create all the fresh content you want; a blog install typically costs $200 to $800, depending on the capabilities and customization you desire.
Take the next step: Get a Quote to Add a Blog or CMS to Your Site
When your site isn’t found by search engines
The closer you get to being in the #1 spot in Google, the more traffic you’ll get to your site. The more traffic, the more leads and sales. I could keep going, but it’s clear that higher search rankings equal more money for your company.
Google has changed the SEO landscape in the past three years. As Google, which delivers 3 out of 4 searchers to their destinations, puts less value on link building and more emphasis on optimized content marketers must change their approach. This is why content creation is so critical.
There are three key factors to getting your site to page one:
How to fix it:
In some cases, sites can be salvaged and restructured for better search performance. You’ll need an analysis to show you which issues can be fixed and which ones cannot. Nearly every website can benefit from an SEO analysis.
If there are too many issues, you’ll need a new website.
Take the next step: Get a Free SEO Analysis
If it looks the same on a smartphone as it does on a desktop computer
Chances are good that a significant number of your website visits happen on a smartphone or tablet. It’s common knowledge that the mobile user will have different needs than someone viewing your site on a 19-inch display.
Creating a good mobile experience means satisfying the needs of the user by incorporating proper technology and coding practices, optimization and design.
How to fix it:
In some cases, a mobile-optimized version of your website can be added to your website. In other cases, it is far more effective (and costs less) to build a new site using a responsive design approach.
If your site is up-to-date and you just need a mobile site, don’t rebuild. Instead, add a mobile website.
If your site is outdated and you want a mobile site, rebuild your site from the ground up using responsive design.
Take the next step: Get a Quote for a Mobile Website