You’ve got a website. It’s got your logo, your contact info, and a couple of great images. Maybe you even paid a professional to put it together. Now you set it and forget it, right?
Websites are kind of like gardens in that they require tending. You don’t have to be a master gardener, outside in the sun every day pruning this and repotting that. But if you want your website to work for your customers and your business, then you need to periodically do a little weeding and replanting.
Think about how often your phone or PC updates. That’s also how quickly things change on the web. If you don’t update your website for years at a time, then it’s likely when you do finally get around to looking at it, you won’t like what you find.
But don’t take our word for it. Here are four practical reasons you should update your website.
Repair And Update Security
Hackers are constantly uncovering vulnerabilities in commonly-used software and online services. That’s why companies release security patches so often; they’re trying to stay one step ahead of the risks and keep your data safe.
But if you’re not updating your site regularly, then you’re not getting these security patches, which leaves all kinds of vulnerabilities in place on your website. This means visitors to your site, your customers, and your website itself are left unprotected. The longer you wait to install security patches, the more widely-known these vulnerabilities become in hacker communities, increasing your odds of a security breach.
You might not think this is a big deal, but we’ve written before about the seriousness of data loss events for small businesses. Studies show that 60% of companies go out of business within six months of a large data loss incident; 72% of those companies will close within 24 months of the incident. Sadly, most of these events are avoidable.
Even if your website doesn’t store customer or sales data, your site can be hacked and held for ransom. Yes, you can simply ditch the old site and start anew, but then you lose whatever online presence you’ve built and you have to make sure that customers know which site is actually you. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is definitely true here.
Improve User Experience
Security isn’t the only reason to update old technology. Another reason is to improve the experience customers have on your site. As technology advances, you can update your site to change the way users interact with it, making it easier to use or faster to load.
One great example of this is responsive web design, which makes a website automatically adapt to display well on multiple devices and screen sizes. Just a few years ago, users expected to have to play around to make a website display well on their phone or tablet. But as smartphones have advanced, users now expect sites to adapt to these smaller screens for them. Many users will automatically navigate away from a website that is hard to use on mobile devices.
But an updated website is not only about the customer’s experience. It’s also about having a website that works for you. Updating your website can mean introducing additional automation or integration that saves you time or simplifies tasks. This could include linking your website with a point-of-sale tool that tracks inventory, adding a chatbot that can answer common customer questions, or setting up a form so that new customers who sign up are automatically added to your customer relationship manager (CRM) tool. The goal is to make your website do as much work as possible for you.
Increase SEO And Lead Generation
One step in updating your website is reviewing site content. Using metrics from free tools like Google Analytics, you can determine which pages users like and which they don’t care for. Reworking less popular pages, reducing the overall number of pages, and simplifying site structure can increase your site’s performance by making it more welcoming for users.
These changes can also make your site more likely to be seen by users. Most search engines reward websites that make regular updates. Their reasoning is that a site that changes often is likely to have the most accurate, relevant information, which is what searchers are looking for. Simply updating your site means ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and getting your website in front of more eyes.
Website redesigns are a great way to increase leads, too. Users are wary of sites that look outdated. If a site looks old or amateurish, this can lead users to wonder if a business is trustworthy. As we explained before, 84% of consumers say that having a website makes a business more reputable, but a site that looks like it’s possibly been abandoned might seem like a warning sign. Conversely, if your site looks fresh and exciting, it just might help you edge out your competition.
Ensure Your Site Reflects Who Your Business Is Now
Over time, businesses evolve as they respond to changes in markets and consumer preferences. They might amp up the work you do in one area that’s more profitable and ease away from less profitable products or services. As businesses change, it’s important that their branding changes, too.
Since your website is the heart of your branding, it needs to reflect who your business is today and what it offers consumers now—not who and what it was ten years ago when you built your website. If your website doesn’t accurately represent your business, then you’re going to be attracting the wrong customers and missing the right ones.
Updating your website can also be a great time to rebrand if your business is going through big transitions such as a name change. Updating your website and social media platforms can really get the point across that your business is evolving and help cement these new details in customers’ minds.
Updating Your Website Doesn’t Have To Be Hard
We’ve written before about the benefits of hiring a web developer. One additional benefit we didn’t mention is that a web developer will update your website for you! Often web developers will contact you to let you know when the software running your site is out of date or when new technology is available that might make your site run better. They can work around your schedule or implement changes in the background to update your website with as little inconvenience as possible.
If you’re ready to update your website, consider TracSoft. Our experienced team of web developers will deliver a mobile-ready, future-proof website that is both beautiful and functional. We’ve worked with industry-leaders and small startups, and we’ve served businesses in a number of different industries. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.