Two questions. I’m not going all fashionista on you but is your website on trend for this season’s new look? Or does it need a makeover because it’s a bit winter 2013, or summer 2010, a bit old hat?
More seriously, the question you should really ask yourself about your website is this: Is your “it will do for now” website actually bad for business? Not because you have to have all the latest whizz-bang widgets but because it is out of kilter with your customers’ expectations…
Chuck out the chintz
In the same way that fashion magazines advise you to chuck out old clothes you haven’t worn for two years, so you should look at your website – design and content – at least every couple of years and edit what you see there. Whether you decide you need a whole site redesign or you just need to edit and update your content, there are certain key things to bear in mind when you’re auditing your own site.
Gimme five! Here are five good reasons to make sure your website is up to date…
- You need to make sure it matches up with your competitors. Because if it looks out of step with what other websites are offering their users, it’s off-putting and bad for business. If one accommodation website, for example, offers a page listing helpful free extras like bike lock-up, WiFi and high-chairs and on a rival website you have to click a PDF to read this in the small print, which one is more user friendly?
- We expect to see loads of photos of what you’re offering, probably giving us the chance to scroll through them. We don’t expect antiquated tiny images that each open in a separate window or, worse, virtually no images at all. We may even expect to see a quick video (not a five-minute documentary though).
- We expect you to spell out the details for us on a web page not a PDF. Don’t give us floor plans as PDFs and please don’t give us directions as a PDF either – surely that’s important enough to warrant a page of explanation and a map? Maybe even some sat-nav instructions…
- We expect to be able to share content easily and follow what you’re up to. We may want to check out your Facebook page or Twitter feed (where are those links?). We may want to email a piece of content to a friend. We may even want to sign up for your email newsletter for tips and special offers (what do you mean you hadn’t thought of that…?!).
- We expect to be able to use your website easily on our mobile phone. Yes, that’s right. We may be lagging behind the US, where more than 50% of all web traffic is now via mobile or tablet (not desktop), but we’re not far off. Don’t give us a site with tiny links that our finger is, frankly, too fat to click on. Give us a responsive (mobile-friendly) site with nice big buttons to click and a website that loads quickly (make sure it’s not slowed up by huge images and video files when it loads on a mobile).