If you are not a developer, or you are a business person without much IT experience and have not read Part 1 of this article – click HERE. There are both technical reasons and business reasons why a website needs to be updated, and it is not as simple as making some simple rule like a website should be updated every 5 years.
This is Part 2 of a 2 part article, and in the first part we focused on Website basics and how to determine if and what to update on your website. For Part 2 of this article we are going to discuss some of the business and technical aspects of updating a website.
Key Factors to Consider when Getting Started
When considering website updates, most people focus on the aesthetic aspect of the design. This is because to some degree, it is the easiest to understand and solve on a relatively lower budget with little to no outsourcing. However, there are other key factors to consider when updating or redesigning your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of organically directing unpaid traffic to a website from search engine results. Nearly every competitor your business has will be engaging in tactics designed to help improve SEO. Neglecting SEO during website updates will mean that your competitors are likely to appear first in an online search for products or services similar to what your business is offering.
There are a couple of aspects of SEO that require some thought and research. This includes keywords and phrases, written content that will support the keywords and keeping the website design simple and intuitive for users and search engine crawlers.
Page speed, which differs from site speed, refers to how quickly a page on your website loads. Increased page speed directly correlates to more users staying on the website and high rates of conversion. If a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, users are more likely to abandon the website with no intention of returning, and report negative experiences to their family and friends.
Call to Action (CTAs)
A call to action is an instruction providing directions to users about what action the business wants them to take. Every website requires a call to action since even sites that are not selling a product or service need to clearly communicate what objectives they have for users. Such might include providing contact information, signing up to receive email updates, and volunteering funds or time. An effective call to action not only provides direction to website users, it will also give a website focus and help measure the success of whether the site is achieving its preset goals. CTA are used to convert inbound traffic into leads, and here are some other website tools that can help generate more leads.
Analytics and Webmaster Tools
The Google Search Engine is the main source of search traffic for most of the world, and therefore it is important to have the Google Search Engine bots find your site and index it easily. The other part of that is for you to be able to see what kind of traffic is getting to your site, and why are they coming to your site. This will help you tailor your content to increase traffic.
Google Webmaster Tools allows Google to communicate with webmasters. The main benefit is that it allows Google to contact the website owner on any issue that arises with the site such as infection with malware, which gives the site owner a chance to correct any issues before they come to the users’ attention.
Web analytics also allow for outside tracking of the website in order to communicate information to the owner, but in this case, the information has value whether any issues arise or not. Checking web analytics provides website owners with information about visitor behavior such as, how many users have visited a site and which pages they have visited.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
SSL is the technology responsible for creating an encrypted link between a server and a browser, making sure that everything passed between the two stays private and secure. When updating or redesigning a website, applying an SSL certificate will aid in keeping users who are engaging with the site safe and secure when purchasing a product, leaving a comment among others. An SSL certificate can be attached to the website’s domain and must be renewed annually.
What do you need to start and what should you expect with the process?
In order to keep your content desirable and maintain audience engagement with your website, you will have to consider regularly updating the site or redesigning it altogether. However, before embarking on the full-out lengthy and hefty website update which includes website redesign, consider whether a few adjustments could potentially bring your website to the next level.
Most businesses opt to outsource the process of updating and redesigning websites to web developers, whereas others have in-house web developers or use web builders to get the job done. Below are some strategies to assist you in updating your website.
Review your current content and design
At this stage, you are investigating what works well and what needs to be updated. This could mean conducting a thorough edit of your site, going through each page if possible and checking for issues such as, missing and outdated content, broken features, poor quality images, outdated information among others. This way, you are able to create new content and make a clear list of all the details that need to be changed or updated.
Remember, a good flow of content is the best way to get organic search traffic, so this is a good time to see what content you have on your site and its blog section. Look to make sure you have deep subject content filled with lots of keywords and phrases on all relevant subjects to your website.
Perform A/B Testing
Once you have made a few changes to your updated website, it is important to determine whether your site is as effective by using an A/B test. The technique involves creating two versions of your website and running a test on both of them against each other to collect stats on traffic and user engagement. This enables you to base your decisions on real time data and make changes to your site accordingly.
Gather Feedback from Target Audience
In addition to performing your own test, it is vital to know what your audience thinks about the website. When updating your website, it is wise to solicit direct feedback from your regular site visitors. Knowing what features and content your audience prefer and dislike, as well as what problems they encounter is valuable to the process of making changes.
Evaluate your Competitors Websites
There are dedicated tools that can help you research your competitors’ websites. For example, SimilarWeb displays traffic information for any site, and BuzzSumo lets you see which pieces of your competitors’ content were more successful. Alternatively, Ahrefs provides details on exactly what you need to do to outrank similar companies.
What should your development agency help you with?
For the more technical part of website updates, it is better to outsource a web development agency such as ScreamingBox. Web development agencies provide an array of services such as, Web design and development, Website updates and redesigns, custom mobile or web application development, Website maintenance and monitoring, Web analytics as well as accessibility services among others.
Technology continues to change marketing and is incredibly essential to keep your brand effective, with many consumers checking the website for more information as well as online reviews prior to purchasing the product or service. An updated website is a highly effective marketing tool for any business keen on achieving its goals.
Contact an expert from ScreamingBox to learn more about how to update your website today.