by Rachel Cool | Featured Contributor
If you never update your website and it becomes stale, you run the risk of damaging your brand’s reputation. An outdated website tells visitors you are unprofessional, lack necessary resources, are behind the times and even that you aren’t capable of providing the best products and services.
You know maintaining an updated website is in your best interest, but how do you know when it’s time to update?
It Doesn’t Function Efficiently
The number-one sign that it’s time to update your site is that it isn’t functioning well. If links are broken, images aren’t appearing, things are sluggish or your users can’t accomplish what they need to, it’s time for an update.
These kinds of problems reflect poorly on your business, and something as simple as making sure things work right can make a huge difference to your market.
It has Become Hard to Navigate
Along the same lines, if you have added so much content, so many pages and a lot of features to your site, over time, it may become hard to navigate. If people can’t quickly find what they are looking for or find your site hard to get around, they will leave.
Making your site easier to navigate so people will use it and spend more time on it will increase your potential to generate leads, engage with your market and solidify your brand.
The Design is Outdated or doesn’t match your Brand
Your site’s design is also important. If the layout and design look dated, you run the risk of making your market think your entire business is outdated. If the colors, styles, copy and graphics don’t flow with your brand, your website won’t be a helpful part of your marketing strategy.
Remember, keeping things simple is key. Your site doesn’t need to be flashy to be current and white space can help your main messages stand out and keep your site clean and professional.
The Content Doesn’t Reflect your Current Business
As your business develops, so should your site’s copy. Read through your content to make sure it accurately reflects your business. Does it tell people what you can do for them? Does it highlight current products and services? Does it appeal to your current target market? If the answer to these questions is “no,” it’s time to give your content a makeover.
Before you start rewriting, create a site map that outlines what kind of content will be on each page, including what kinds of messages and calls to action you will use. If your copy is well written and strategic, it can be a powerful part of your marketing.
It can’t Support your Business
Your website should be able to support your business well. It should be informative enough to attract potential customers and help you generate leads and it should be robust enough to offer support to your current customers.
If your site no longer has the capacity to hold all the features, content and services you want to offer, it’s time for an update. This kind of update could be major, and could mean adding pages and features. Or, it could simply require you to reorganize your layout to make your site more efficient.
Your website should constantly evolve to attract your market, serve your customer base and support your business. If any of these signs describe your website, it could be time for an update, so your site will become more effective and help your business be more successful.
Rachel Cool has a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has experience working in public relations, journalism, Internet marketing and search engine optimization. She is a freelance writer and editor and teaches public relations writing and production at Brigham Young University.
Rachel’s passion is writing and she loves helping brands tell their stories, reach their markets and influence their audiences. She feels that a business’ copy, whether it is online or print, is an integral part of its marketing and communications strategies.
When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to cook and get lost in a mystery novel. She also likes to get competitive over a good card or board game, watch movies, fish and spend time outside.