If your website is more than 2-years old, there’s a good chance it’s already out-of-date. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you spent, how much work you put in, or what technology you used to develop your old site; if it’s more than a few years old, it’s probably in need of a tune-up.
The Reasons Why:
Mobile traffic represents more than 25% of all internet traffic and it is predicted that mobile traffic will exceed desktop traffic by 2014. When people use mobile search to help make a decision they are…
- 30% More Likely to Visit A Retailer Website
- 57% More Likely to Visit A Store
- 51% More Likely to Make A Purchase
- 39% More Likely to Call a Business
In addition to the increase in mobile traffic and its importance to business, mainstream Responsive Website Development is a relatively recent development. Often abbreviated to RWD, Responsive Web Development is an approach aimed at creating sites that optimize the viewing experience independent of the device a guest uses. This is not creating a separate mobile site. RWD is one site that adjusts automatically based on the devise a guest uses.
Evaluate Your Website
To help illustrate our point we’ve put together a simple 5-point survey checklist. Follow these steps and within 10 minutes you will have a good idea if your site needs to be updated.
Test for Mobile Responsive Design: Open your website in a desk top browser. Using your cursor left click on the side of your window and while holding the button down, move your mouse to shrink the width. As you decrease the width of the browser does your website automatically change its display? Or does it simply get smaller or show a scroll bar at the bottom? If you view your website with a smart phone can you touch the telephone number and call? If your website does not automatically adjust as you shrink the browser window, or if it does not allow for touch to call, it’s probably not going to perform well for mobile devises.
Test for Flash: If you have moving slideshows or moving animations on your website, right click on the animation and look to see if you see “About Adobe Flash.” So far the iPhone and the iPad do not support flash. If your website uses flash, that content will not be visible to most people who use Apple’s iPhone or iPad.
Test for Open Source CMS: Can you log into your website and make changes to page content? If you can, is the content management system WordPress, Joomla or Drupal? If your website does not allow you to easily make edits, add functionality or make new pages, you’re missing out on critical site functionality.
Test for Social Media Integration: Does your website have a blog or news page? When you post a new article to your blog, events or news pages, can guests easily share these articles or posts to their Social Media pages? If you do not have blog or news page, and guests cannot easily share your content, you’re missing essential marketing functionality.
Test for Search Engine Optimization: When you look at the title that shows up in top of the browser window, does that description change on each page, or is it the same? If you hover your mouse over images in your site do they show an tool tip explanation of the image? If your site shows the same title for each page and if images are not showing alternative text your site is not properly optimized for search engines.
What if my website is out-of-date?
Well, the bad news is that if your site fails even one of these tests you’re going to want to get it updated. Why? Because your competing against a tidal wave of shiny new competitive sites that are benefiting from the new advances in code. And if your site is not playing on a level field with the competition, you better get prepared to lose market share.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to get your site upgraded.
Next Steps for Upgrading Your Website
Talk to your existing web development team or find a firm that you trust.
Ask About Responsive Web Design Options and Experience
Responsive Design Benefits:
- Cost savings: No need to create an additional mobile friendly site.
- Future Proofing: Mobile traffic is increasing and more devices will be available.
- Ranking: Keeping all your traffic on one site boosts search engine visibility.
Ask About Open Source CMS like WordPress
A CMS (Content Management System) is a software platform that allows you to edit the content on your site without the assistance of a web developer. It also allows for a variety of other features.
WordPress is the most popular, easy-to-use, stable, and highly respected CMS platform on the market. Sixty percent of the top one-million sites use WordPress.
WordPress is Open Source, so there are no fees to purchase or use the software, and because of its popularity there is a large community of developers who can work on your site.
Ask About Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Integration
Once your website is built in the WordPress CMS, both Social Media integration and Search Engine Optimization become easier.
Search Engine Optimization Best Practices supported by WordPress CMS:
- Title Tags - The most important attribute on the page.
- Meta Descriptions - Additional descriptive information supporting the title.
- Meta Keywords - Behind-the-scenes information helpful to search engines.
- Image Alt Tags - Describing images helps people and computers that cannot see them.
- Header Tags - Telling search engines what’s the most important text on the page.
- Visitor Facing Sitemap - Helping guests to navigate your site quickly and easily.
- XML Sitemap - Helping search engines to navigate your site quickly and easily.
If your website is more than a few years old, there’s a good chance your site is out-of-date and it’s not difficult to test your site to see if it needs an upgrade. Most good sites today are built to be responsive, adjusting automatically to the device a guest is using. Responsive design is important. Responsive sites save you money because they avoid the expense of creating a separate mobile site, and mobile traffic drives business. Using an open source CMS like WordPress makes editing your site easy, and also supports Social Media integration and Search Engine Optimization best practice.