If you have a business – large or small – there is a very high chance you have a website. It could be the main source of your business – where your customers buy your products, make appointments or learn more about what separates you from your competitors. It is a big deal. Your website could be the most important tool your business has for success. A good website offers amazing ROI. If done well, it is the gateway for most of your new business. Nancy looks at a website as an ‘anchor’ for all your information and the one go-to place where prospective and current customers can go for information on your business or organization.
Knowing when and why you need to update your site is equally important. There’s a pretty good chance you don’t spend much time on your own site and it probably needs some love. On the 32nd PR Maven® Podcast episode, Nancy spoke to one of her Marshall Plan® clients, Emily Roy from the City of Saco. We worked with Emily on the City’s municipal branding and new website, including creating a new logo and tagline (Friendly by Nature). Municipalities often overlook their branding and one of Marshall Communications’ favorite projects is helping brush off the dust and look at the community in a new way and new website is a great way to help with municipal branding. Emily discussed the redesign of the Saco’s website and Nancy said that using your site analytics is like having a built-in focus group – what do people like? Why are they going to certain pages?
But how do you know it’s time to update your site? First, the age of your site is critical. If it’s more than a couple of years old, it is probably a good time to review the content, paying special attention to the pages that are the most visited. You want to make sure the information is up to date and that everything is working well – the images load quickly, any videos you have play the way they should, and that any forms you have function correctly.
Sidebar: Static sites aren’t good for SEO – it’s always a good idea to add or edit content to keep your site ranking well in searches. This is why blogs are so popular – they are a great way to add SEO content on a regular basis. By editing your site content annually, you keep the search spiders coming to your site. Google uses its impressive algorithm to decide whether or not your content is worthy of “serving up” to people searching so you want to invite them back regularly.
If your website is older than five years, it may be time for a complete redesign. You can review your website analytics and see what’s working and what isn’t. If you have a page that you think should be getting more traffic than it is – investigate. Ask your employees and customers for their feedback. Why do they think that page isn’t drawing traffic? How could it be improved? Find what is working on the popular pages and see if you can incorporate those elements on lower-traffic pages.
The look of modern sites has changed, as well. Websites from even only eight years ago can look very dated. Common website-building platforms like WordPress have changed by leaps and bounds. The functionality of a site that you can create yourself has gone from pretty simple to professional. Ask a millennial or Gen Z in your life what they think about your site. Even if they aren’t in your customer base now, they will be soon enough and their opinion matters.
In addition to updating your content, change your images, as well. Make sure any headshots are current and high quality and that the header images look recent, as well. You can keep your favorite old photos on your site, but on the About Us or Our History pages.
Marshall Communications is redesigning our own site – so we are “walking the walk” and you can, too.