5 Signs That You Need A New Website

This was posted on May 17th, 2019
You need a new website

There was a time when you would look at a website and think you were standing in the future.  It couldn’t get better.  You would never need a new website, because this did everything.  Alright, you couldn’t use the phone whilst you were looking at it.  And, you could watch a series of Game of Thrones whilst you waited for it to download anything.

These were the days before LimeWire.

Am I showing my age yet?

Since then our interactions with the internet have reached stratospheric proportions.  We can walk the earth and literally pluck the internet out of the sky.  Those telephone bricks we used to carry around with us have slimmed down, and we spend more time browsing the internet than we do phoning or texting.

So, if your website can be reached from a field, and a foreign country (and probably parts of outer space) surely it will never need renewing.

Will it?

How do you know when you need a new website?

1. My Nan runs faster than your website

Focus.  Are you paying attention?  According to Al Gomez I have your 8-second attention span to beat.  Microsoft said it, so it must be true.

Despite other people telling us that the 8 second attention span is a myth, what it signifies is still applicable.  We have become so reliant on an express delivery system of information and entertainment, that if it isn’t served up to us near-instantaneously, then we search elsewhere.  This is what technology has done to our lifestyle.

And it isn’t only the user that has grown impatient.  Speed affects your rankings with Google.  The biggest search engine will favour the faster websites.  In short, a slow website is seriously damaging to your brand.  It might just be time to admit you need a new website.

Online Technology Evolved

2. Simple website edits are costing too much

When websites were first conceived you would have needed a degree in programming, or to have been fluent in HTML just so you could add a single page to your website.  Way before online technology evolved, it seemed that only horrifically qualified, enigmatic hermits were able to create anything.

Needless to say, things have got a whole lot easier.

To do basic changes to your website in the twenty-first century, there are content management systems that enables anyone to make changes.  If you are having to hard code new content, then you need a new website.

Google is your friend

3.  Google has you listed…somewhere…perhaps

Google is good.  Google is your friend.  Without a shadow of a doubt it is the most used search engine on the internet.  In fact, its name has become the verb synonymous with using a search engine.  We don’t just search.  We google. 

That’s how important it is.

So, if your website is not ranking very highly on Google, then your website is going to need a complete overhaul.  Your SEO is important.  Moreover, if your content is optimised and you are still having the same problem, then it is a nice early sign that you need a new website.

SEO is a sensitive and delicate animal to try and appease.  An out-dated website is unlikely to have the stamina to satiate its voracious appetite.

You need a new website slow

4. It looks rubbish on mobile

By this point in the twenty-first century you would expect this point to be so moot and redundant that we wouldn’t still be writing about it.  However, there are still websites out there that are not optimised for the mobile experience. 

Look at your own site on a mobile.  If just looking at it makes you feel nauseous, brings on a fluid rush of vertigo, or pains you in some way then you need a new website.  Remember the eight second attention span, but also remember the user experience.

If your user has to continually attempt to resize your website on their phone, you need a new one.  If a cassette game on a Commodore 64 loads quicker than your website does on mobile, you need a new one.

Glittering Unicorn

5. It simply looks old and battered

Sometimes the best way to judge whether or not you need a new website, is to just look at it.  Is this a product you are proud of?  I mean, it might be like that bloated sofa in your sitting room.  It just about does its job, and you love the familiarity of it.  But then, if you were to bring someone new to the house you would throw a massive blanket over it. 

It may just be that it no longer fits your brand.  Perhaps, as your industry has evolved, your company has had to move away from the branding your website presents.  There are many reasons why you now cringe at your homepage.  That’s fine, nothing was built to last forever.

Trust yourself, trust your instincts.  Back yourself, and your instincts up with a bit of research.  However, you know your position within your industry better than anyone.

Wrapping up

It is a shame that websites weren’t built to last forever.  We will always need to update or rebuild.  That goes for everyone, whether you are a global conglomerate, or a local business for local people.

But redesigning and building a new website is an exciting time.  It means you can play with your brand, look at new ideas, see what is popular in the industry.  You can bring your brand marching into the twenty-first century with a glittering unicorn of a website.  Believe me, if it improves your user’s experience, it is worth the expense.

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Is your website reaching the locals?

This was posted on May 7th, 2019

Is your website reaching the localsIt doesn’t hurt to dream big.  Imagining everyone from Xanadu to the Outer Hebrides browsing through your site isn’t ridiculous.  It’s positive.  And, it’s completely natural.  We all imagine what would happen when our babies learn to fly.  But, in your fantasies of a global takeover, is your website reaching the local area?

There is an almost amusing irony here.  Despite the wonderful worldwide web’s reaching capabilities, marketing to your next-door neighbour seems to be a challenge.

For some businesses this isn’t necessarily a problem, but there are a lot of businesses that would benefit greatly from a presence in their local area.  It might not benefit a plumber from Peckham to have a rampant Rwandan audience for example.  In fact, websites that represent bricks and mortar stores, businesses with limited delivery area, or tradespersons need to be geared towards serving their immediate locale.

So, how do you ensure your website is reaching the locals?

 

All great adventures begin with SEO

We are all aware of SEO.  It doesn’t need a canned introduction.  We know that if we want to be found on the internet, whether it be by Google or Bing, then SEO is paramount to success.  However, it might shock you at how often there are problems.  Even basic geotagging in the metadata is often over looked.

As Joshua Hardwick eloquently points out, “there are two distinct sets of search results” when someone performs a local search on Google.  There are the organic results.  But, above them, there are also the “snack pack” results.  Don’t know what I mean? 

Then search: “restaurants near me”.

Restaurants near me

The top section.  That’s your snack pack.  Those attractive pictures, next to all those stars, and a map pointing straight at you.  Why wouldn’t you want to be there?  Saying that, since 40% of clicks actually go to the organic results, why wouldn’t you want to be there either?

If you are unable to properly optimise your site for SEO then outsource.  It is worth the money. 

 

Local business proud institution

Landmarks and local trust marks

Having a page saying “Hey I am from Northampton” isn’t enough to sell yourself to the local area.  Many local businesses are proud institutions in a community they adore.  These are the people that would easily become an advocate for you local brand.  So it is best to start speaking their language.

By that I don’t suggest entire paragraphs in Irvine Welsh style phonetics and every sentence ending with “y’know wha’ I mean?’  Use the website to celebrate parts of the community that they will recognise.  Local landmarks, or heroes draw a lot of traffic to websites.

Use names and logos that mean something to the people of your local area.

 

Create local content for local people

Similar to the previous point, your content needs to be localised.   Writing in superb English with all the participles un-dangled, and your commas all Oxford-ed is lovely and all; but it doesn’t say local.  It is an argument I have made before.  It is important that you are speaking your customers language.

If you happen to slip into mild local slang, that isn’t going to do you any harm.  Be aware, however, that if your website is written for a slightly wider area than just your town, it is best not to make the language indiscernible from gibberish.

 

Let the community decide

I wonder what would happen if, when I had finished my website, I went on Facebook and wrote something this:

“Hey y’all, just finished my website!  Anyone fancy looking at it.  I want it to have a local feel.”

Prediction.  Loads of people will leave thumbs-up or hearts, a few people will share, and a good many people will comment.  

You see, people like to be helpful.  At least in the public forum, and especially when you have offered them the opportunity to give criticism and feedback.  The bonus of this is, you have instantly attracted people to your website and begun to appeal to your local area.

And immediately they will feel part of it too.

 

Where a business is based

Wrapping up

As the introduction alludes, this might not be entirely appropriate for your eCommerce conglomerate that has aeroplanes humming on the landing strips ready.  It might not even be applicable if you are sending products via email, in the form of voucher or software.  But it doesn’t hurt to think about your local area.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of people do care about where a business is from.  I, for one, am asked all the time.  Sometimes it is just for customers to try and find some common ground whilst they are talking to us, let us know that “oh yeah – I drove through it once”.  

For small businesses they probably feel more connected to their local area, and your focus on the “local” may just increase your website enquiries.

 

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