Your website is your primary tool for communicating with your customers. It’s a digital sounding board that enables you to entice people to buy your products, find out more about your services, or generate a brand image.
But as you know, nothing stands still in the world of technology for long, and your website is no different. Business owners are fighting competitive creep: every year the quality of competitors websites goes up, search engines tighten their rules, and you have to make sure that you don’t get left behind.
It’s no longer sufficient for small businesses to put up a website with their contact details and hope for the best: you need a strategy that enables you to compete on a level playing field with the other firms in your industry.
So how can you make your website fresh and in-line with current trends and SEO? Here are seven reasons to update your website in 2020.
Customer expectations have changed considerably over the past few years. People want more from a business website than merely a list of products, prices and contact details; they want content that helps them to make better decisions and assuages their concerns. But there’s a problem. Many business owners don’t believe that they can create useful content. In turn, their visitors don’t get helpful information, and Google doesn’t reward them with a higher rank in search results. To get on the same level as the competition in 2021, you need to be relevant to your users.
Data from the Institute of Directors suggests that there are over 7 million attacks per year on the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses. The good news is that the majority of these attacks fail. One of the ways to ensure that they do is to keep your site’s security up-to-date. The latest security features protect both you and your customers from malicious online actors.
According to data from Search Engine Journal, the first organic search result receives more than 33 per cent of clicks and between 70 and 80 per cent of users will ignore paid advertising. Because of this, small businesses need to focus on boosting SEO. But how can you increase your SEO by updating your website?
Experience has taught us which phrases are best at persuading customers to take action once they reach your website. Research shows that people don’t want to read boring words like “submit” or “enter” – they prefer words that suggest that they will get something in return, such as “reserve”, “book”, and even “get.” According to Unbounce, using the first person also helps. They found that phrasing CTAs as “get MY free trial” instead of “get YOUR free trial” boosted conversion rates by more than 90 per cent.
You need to perform website maintenance at least quarterly to ensure that your user experience remains satisfactory. If you don’t, you could lose business. Research firm Dynatrace investigated how long the average person was prepared to wait for a page to load before clicking back. For online retailers, the answer was less than three seconds, and that for every half-second, companies lost 10 per cent of customers. Your website, therefore, needs to be hosted on fast servers that can handle the traffic you expect to receive.
Your website is your primary mechanism for communicating your brand. And so if it doesn’t stand out, then you could be missing out on more business. Small companies are looking for ways to improve their brand image, including embedded videos, illustrations, animated GIFs (to explain products), and exciting new styles, like “maximalism.” They’re doing things that will help them meet customer needs and appear different from their competitors.
Updating old websites is notoriously tricky because they don’t always have the supporting functionality to make changes on the fly. Newer sites, hosted on platforms like WordPress, are easier to manage, especially for businesses looking to change layouts, add blog posts, or offer promotional content.
Choosing a platform that allows you to shift with the times so that when 2020 rolls around, it’s much easier for you to implement the updates suggested here.