As technology and user behaviour changes, to stay ahead refreshing your website regularly is essential.
Industry best practice recommends a website refresh every 2-3 years. This enables a fresh look at your website content, performance and to maximise opportunities to make the most of newer technologies.
A refreshed website can also help keep up with search algorithm changes and seek to keep ahead of your competitors.
The first step when considering a refresh is to undertake a full website audit.
What is a website audit?
Your existing website should show you want to say and offers a window to your business. But is it doing it in the best way?
Consider the following quality checks:
How quickly does your website load?
It is estimated around 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 5 seconds to load. Studies have found that since the changes in behaviour and expectations since 2020, 90% of visitors who have a bad website experience will never return. Of that, around 44% will tell others of their bad experience therefore further impacting your website performance without any knowledge.
Such fall in traffic may be visible in website analytics reporting, but the broader understanding and trends leading to this poor performance only appear through more thorough auditing processes.
How easy is your website to navigate?
You’ve worked hard to get your information online but how easy is it for be seen and accessed. Though you or your team may look at your website every day, it is possible to miss how others may approach your website and what other visitor behaviour will be.
Consider a review of your analytics data. This can help illustrate not only where traffic is going, but the journey taken to get there. Also consider external review such as user experience consultants. Not only can their advice provide insight on your overall website navigation from an outside source but can help identify opportunities and considerations through their expertise as you approach your website refresh.
Does your website meet accessibility credentials?
Considerations for accessibility are also encouraged for website design and can mean significant impacts performance. The two forms of recognition to website accessibility are DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and W3C AA/ WCAG compliance. Both will identify if the website is usable and understandable for the majority of people with or without disabilities.
For many organisations, particularly those within the public sector, ensuring your website is DDA/W3CAA rated is essential to meet legislation requirements.
Additionally, by ensuring compliance there is greater opportunity to engage with a broader audience which can be particularly beneficial for e-commerce and service-based websites.
Reasons why you should refresh your website
As with any technology, things are ever changing and always awaiting the next new thing. The internet is ever changing too. The changes not only can bring more functionality opportunities to reach your audience and present your business, by refreshing your website you can also embrace opportunities to improve website performance, security, and its simplicity.
Simply “bolt on” approaches can be a quick fix but may mean damaging performance or creating complications that could be easily avoided for both the CMS user and website visitor overall.
Consider that ever important first impression. A website that looks “old” unless a retro or brand gimmick can look unprofessional and off-putting to visitors. Websites that appear clunky or “homemade” can lose authenticity and mis-trust from the visitor may occur which can mean losing sales or generating leads your business cannot afford.
Incorporating new design trends can help keep your website looking authentic, brings something new to returning or established visitors, can help attract new traffic and continue to look ahead of your competitors.
Statista in 2021 estimated that 54.4% of all website traffic will be generated by mobile devices. This is likely higher again for e-commerce sites meaning mobile considerations are essential. If your website isn’t clearly visible on a mobile or tablet device, you risk losing customers.
Some older platform technologies did not account for mobile optimisation so may mean much if not all your existing website cannot be viewed correctly or at all! Additionally, as mobile technology continues to evolve, further considerations are required to ensure your website supports both legacy and current devices for a more future-proof approach.
Plugin or pull the plug
Website design functionality and display is likely attributed to a range of plugins particularly for WordPress or similar CMS platforms. Most website will also include other integrations such as Google Analytics, social media, newsletter sign-up forms to name a few. All these and the technology behind them will change, end development therefore becoming obsolete or new plugins will be developed.
Older websites may struggle or be unable to adapt to the changes or lose major functions and performance as development cycles end. A refreshed website not only enables a fresh approach to integration but provides the opportunity to allow for growth and future adaptation as opportunities arise that may benefit your organisation.
Get faster, stronger
There never seems to be enough time. As many are seeking a quick answer or result, a slow website will result in a loss of performance and potentially business. Websites that can take considerable time to load risk a high bounce rate and can also impact your Google ranking. With a refreshed website and including new technologies can help to pages load faster and overall improve web performance.
Improved your search engine ranking
The dreaded algorithm. Not only is this a contentious issue for social media managers, but it can also be an added challenge for search engine marketing too. Through regular website updates, you can work to adapt to search engine changes and the ever-changing requirements.
Keep data safe
The importance of robust data protection continues to be high on the agenda and should be a priority for any business. Following the changes from the Data Protection Act and GDPR, your website and the data it has and access to it is also part of what any business must include in their considerations for data security compliance.
Risk of intrusion and hacking is highest against older or end of life supported software, online tools, and applications. Keeping this at the forefront illustrates quite easily the need to ensure you keep your website, hard work and data safe with update and upgrade programmes to keep safe.
Find out more
The Web Orchard can help you with your website development. From website & accessibility audits, web design, website development for a new or of an existing website, along with hosting and other digital marketing services to help you succeed online.
Get in touch today to discuss your needs and get a bespoke, competitive quote today.