Is it time to update your website?

Website Strengths

(and weaknesses)

How do you know if it's time (or past time) to update your website?

Start with a few questions...

  • When was your site last updated?

    Online behavior is evolving rapidly with technology and a focus on User Experience. Are you offering your uses an online environment that delivers the content and experience they expect?

  • Is your website responsive?

    Did you know that there are 3.7 billion unique smartphone users? More than 60% of all web traffic is from mobile phones! (Statista)

  • How long does your site take to load?

    53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. For every one second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12% (Google, 2018)

  • What does your analytics report tell you about your demographic and site traffic?

    "Website analytics provide you with the actual reports and analytics on how your site visitors behave once on your website; who they are by their age, gender, location, etc.; how they landed on your site (traffic source); the most popular content on your site; your total conversions; and so on. With this information in hand, you can plan fully informed business strategies and grow your business faster." Monster Insights 2019

Your website is the first line of communication with current and potential customers, it's the first "hand shake" and first impression that you make. What does your website say about you?

In a 2017 study done by Episerver of over 1,100 consumers, they found that 92% of consumers visiting a retailer's website for the first time did not intend to make a purchase. Why?

Consumers are more informed than ever before! In the study by Episerver, they found that 45% were searching for a product or service, while 25% of users were comparing prices and features, and about 10% were looking for store details.

"The content customers see and the experiences they have while interacting with a brand online are crucial to shaping their purchasing behavior, said James Norwood, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategy at Episerver. "While not every consumer visiting a brand's website is there to make a purchase, brands must consider how the experience of their websites -- from navigation to checkout -- supports engagement."

Defining User Experience is a somewhat ambitious undertaking, as it applies to so many facets of product and service development. The User Experience Professionals Association defines it as follows: "User experience work is based on designing products and services with the people who will use the product or service in-mind (users). This practice of focusing on the users is sometimes more specifically called user-centered design (UCD). In UCD work the focus is on the users through the planning, design and development of a product."

User Experience is shaping the way that website users navigate, shop and communicate online. When considering whether it's time to update your website, consider the human experience, and if your users are getting everything they expect from your online experience.


10 things to help assess your "website's health"

Let's face it, there is a lot of competition online for just about any product, service or piece of information. If your website isn't delivering a fresh experience, with easy to find, relevant content, it may be time for an update. Long gone are the days that just having a website was enough. How can you assure that you're putting your best foot forward when a new or returning user visits your website? How can you stand out from the competiton?

Below are 10 checkpoints to help you assess your website's overall health:

  1. Fresh Content

    Is your content the latest and greatest? Would you consider it "evergreen"? New and relevant content not only loads your website with keywords that will help prospective users find you, it will also encourage previous users to come back.

    Benefits of fresh content:

    • Improves SEO – Google is indexing based on content, not meta tags
    • Creates a much more relevant experience to users
    • Shows your users that you're at the top of your game, all the time

  2. Technology

    This is an issue that is almost guarenteed to affect your users. "Old school" doesn't cut it when we're talking about web technologies. The Internet and digital world is constantly changing and evolving. Web standards shift each year, dictating new tools and technologies for building a good website. Your potential clients’ preferences and tastes shift even faster. What was trendy yesterday, may not be tomorrow. If you want your business to succeed, you need to be agile with your approach and website.

    Are you on the most up-to-date of your platforms? If you're using WordPress, chances are, there's been an update to the version, theme and/or plugins you're using. Keeping up to date ensures that you're not susceptible to security hacks, browser or script incompatibility, or a host of other issues. Outdated code can slow down load times and the way your site renders on different browsers.

  3. Be Memorable - Are you Standing Out?

    With the use of templated websites and platforms, there's a good chance that your website looks a lot like everyone else's in your sector. A new, fresh look can help you stand out and let prospective customers know that you're at the top of your game, even when your competition isn't.

  4. Brand Consistency

    Remember that your website promotes you 24/7! Does it reflect your brand? Your passion? Your drive to be the best in your field? If your site looks dated and uninspired, what is that saying about your brand?

    This is a tough one because a brand is a personal journey. Remember that your brand is a couple of things:

    • It is NOT created for an audience of 1. Your brand should appeal to your greater target audience. Leave your personal preferences for color and type for your birthday invitations. Your brand speaks to your users, not you.
    • It is always evolving with your business and the needs of your users. While you assess your website every year or so, take the opportunity to assess your brand as well.
    • It is NOT just a logo. Your brand is how you frame all of your communication to your users in every medium. It is the tone of voice that you use. Are you friendly? Corporate? Quirky? Make sure every aspect of your brand is working for you.

  5. Load Time

    Your site should be loading in about 5 seconds or less. Not sure how quickly your site loads? Use tools like Web Page Test and Pingdom to see where you stand.

    There are several reasons why your website may be slow to load, here are a few of the most common:

    • Large images that haven't been properly optimized
    • Old, heavy code from outdated platforms
    • Underpowered hosting

    Want more information about load times? Check out MachMetrics where they break down speed expectations for devices, average page size, and lots of other great information!

  6. Bounce Rates

    Bounce rate is one of the most important aspects to understanding if your site is preforming well. Bounce rate is when a user leaves your site after landing on a single page and leaving without clicking on any other page or content. A high bounce rate generally indicates that the information the user received is not what they expected and they've left without exploring any additional pages.

    An average bounce rate is generally around 50%, give or take. If your bounce rate climbs above 60%, you've got a problem. It could indicate that the marketing or media that drives traffic isn't connecting with the correct target audience. Or it could point to an issue with the overall look and feel of the website, navigation or content.

    Spend some time with Google Analytics to start tracking your bounce rate. More to come on analytics!

  7. Security

    The reality is, any website, wheather it's old or new, can be hacked. Hackers spend their lives trying to break into our online environments in order to glean financial information, or an opportunity to hold your data hostage.

    Older websites, using older technology are at a much higher risk of being hacked. Take advantage of the new and improved services available and put your users, and yourself at ease that your information is protected by the latest and greatest methods. Google reCaptcha is on their 3rd version! Check it out!

    If you'd like more information on ways to protect your website, read some great guidelines here.

  8. SEO

    SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the content on your website that gets you ranked high on Google. Sure, there are other search engines, but if you're not ranking well on Google, you're missing out on valuable site traffic.

    Here's the tricky part, Google changes their SEO algorythyms pretty frequently, so it can be difficult to keep up. The good news is that there are some tried and true ways that will cover your basic needs.

    • Let's start with content, content, content! New content that focuses on keywords, specific to your industry, is the best way to boost your SEO ranking. Google indexes sites pretty often, so new content that keeps up with trending key words will help keep you at the top of the list!
    • Tagging your content properly will also help with SEO. Certain tags, like the title of your pages, and the h1 tag on each page should focus on keyword rich content as these are valued highly by Google.
    • Blogging creates an opportunity to provide new, and keyword rich content that will drive traffic to your site. It's also a great way to start a backlinking network. When you link to other websites relevant to your business, chances are, they may backlink to you, sending engaged users to your website.

  9. Mobile

    This seems like a no brainer, but a site that renders on mobile devices is a game changer. A good responsive website will respond to any device, based on screen width, not device detection. It provides you the flexibility to hide certain content that may not translate well in a mobile experience, or take too long to load. Most mobile experiences accomodate for smaller images for mobile, so you're not chewing up all of your data loading large, desktop formatted images.

    With more than 60% of web traffic now coming from mobile phones, and growing, your online mobile experience is just as important, maybe more important, than your desktop website experience. It's very likely that the first interaction a new user will have with your website will be on a mobile device.

  10. CTA - Call to Action

    A clear call to action is often overlooked because it's really the last step in a website experience. It's the directive that all users really want, that tells them what you would like them to do next! Offer your users opportunities to discover more relevant content. Provide them with an easy way to connect with you at every stage of their journey. If you're offering a product or a service, make the path from home page to checkout easy and intuitive with clear CTAs.


Updating your Toolbelt

If you're ready to up your game and assess how your website stacks up against your competitors, you'll need a few tools in your belt.

  1. Start with Google Analytics

    It's FREE, and it's easy to install. There are also a ton of tutorials available online. If analytics isn't your cup of tea, that's ok, most web developers have a decent handle on analytics to get you up and running, or can recommend a professional to work with.

  2. A/B Testing

    This allows you to run different content or formatting to assess what performs better. There are platforms out there that provide the ability to run A/B tests at the same time, serving up different content to random users. If a pricey platform with A/B capabilities isn't in the cards, consider running A/B content for 4-6 weeks or so, then swap out the content, comparing the runs. Take into consideration if your business is seasonal, as time of year may affect your overall site traffic.

  3. UX Tools

    If you're really serious about understanding your user's experiences and understanding roadblocks and opportunities, consider an online user feedback tool. These tools allow you to record all user sessions and play them back. They also provide heat maps on each page, allowing you to see where users are clicking and how many clicks each element receives. Most of these services offer free trials, so consider taking a deep dive into your user's experiences!




I hope you're inspired to set up an appointment with a web designer or development team to see how you can improve your website! Come up with a plan and budget that makes sense based on your goals and objectives for your business.

Happy clicking!

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