Resolve to Update Your Website

new-year

Hope you had a Happy New Year! As a smart business owner, you probably resolved to do everything in your power to increase business this year. One way you can do that is by taking a good, hard look at your business website and asking yourself: Is it time for a makeover?

Enlist some outside help—your friends, family, or even customers or members of your target market that you recruit and pay for their time—to click through your website and give you their feedback. Ask them (and yourself) these questions, and be prepared for honest answers:

Does the website look old-fashioned? You know what I mean. Do you ever go to a business website that still greets you with some message like “Waiting for Flash animation to load” or “10% complete”? It probably makes you think the site hasn’t been updated since the Internet first began.

Does the website have broken links, misspellings or coupons/promotions from three years ago? If so, you’re just being lazy and not checking your website often enough. Update it with the correct information, fix the links and get a proofreader to go over your site.

Does the site take forever to load? Using Flash is one culprit here, but images that are too big can also slow your site down. Consumers are more impatient than ever, and if your site takes more than a few seconds to load they might not stick around.

Is the site easy to navigate? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to navigation. Your site should be clear, concise and easy to use, so potential customers can quickly find their way around. Today’s sites are more streamlined than they were just a few years ago, so if your site has too many options, users may get confused. Make it easy for first-time visitors to perform various tasks, such as browsing products, checking out or finding directions to your business.

Does the site have plenty of calls to action? Too many business websites fail to ask users to take action. “Shop Now,” “Check Out,” “Call Now,” “Contact Us,” “Sign Up”—the actions you want people to take may vary depending on what products or service you sell, but at least one such clearly marked button urging action should be on every page of your website. Adding a call to action in the text is also a good idea.

Are the graphics current? Outdated stock photos featuring yesterday’s styles, or fonts or colors that smack of yesterday’s design trends are warning signs that put customers on alert that your business is behind the times. Think white background with red and blue font.

Is the site mobile-friendly? Mobile Internet usage is becoming more popular among customers of all ages, and this trend will only grow as smartphones and tablets become more prevalent. Make sure your website loads quickly and is easy to use on all types of mobile devices, or you might be driving customers away. This is called responsive design.

When it’s time for a website update, Coastal Web Services can help. Contact us at 410-420-9390.

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