Is It Time to Update Your Website?

True story: The website for the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology was deployed in about 2000 and had not been updated significantly or redesigned until I was hired to do so in 2008. From 2005-2009 freshmen enrollment was fairly static. We deployed the new, updated website mid-2009 and the following year our enrollment jumped almost 30%!

Coincidence? Well…maybe. The website alone certainly didn’t account for the entire increase (which was consistent for 2011), but I’m confident it played a major role in that growth.

And this should serve as a lesson for any business or organization, whether a local small business or a government entity: a fresh, updated and up-to-date website is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s digital business climate.

Consider this: according to the results of a survey study released in January of this year, 70% of adults rarely or never use a phone book to find contact information. Instead over 60% of them turn to the internet.

Combine the above with the results of a 2008 survey study, which stated that when choosing which business to contact, 83% of potential clients and customers are influenced by the business’ website. And 74% of these people count the website as an influence on the final buying decision as well.

And that study is almost four years old. It’s surely increased by now.

Have I made my point? You not only need a website, you need and up-to-date website.

Not sure if you’re website is current enough or not? I’ve put together a few things to consider that might help you decide.

Does it keep up with the Jones’? Online competition is even more proliferate than the brick-and-mortar kind you face from local businesses. And even if your competition down the road has a lousy website, there’s a good chance 500 of your online competitors have great online presences. Consider the results of the study above—your website—not your store or business—is being measured against others. Make sure it is at least as good as those it is being measured against.

Is the technology out of date? I’m not talking about fancy graphics, animation or slideshows here. I’m talking about the technology driving your website. As web standards change and get updated, the code used to write your old website might not be supported anymore. When that happens the site falls apart: font sizes shift, graphics are broken, things are no longer aligned. Make sure that you or an expert goes through the code itself and verifies that it follows the most current web standards according to the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c.org)

Is it leaving money on the table? The final point—and to business owners the most important one— is to make sure your website is actually producing for you. Think of your site as a sales associate. What would you do if you hired someone, paid to have them trained on your product, and then they sat around and did nothing—didn’t greet customers, follow up on leads, or close sales? Of course you’d fire that person and get someone else to do the job. Your website is the exact same thing: it is an active member of your sales force that should be driving traffic and converting sales every time someone looks at it. If it’s not doing that, then it’s time to fire it and hire another one!

 

Word One Consulting
575-496-6807
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005