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14 Signs That Let You Know Your Website Needs a Refresh

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By Hector Cisneros

Today, the number of websites on the internet seems innumerable. Yet, how many are actually effective at producing business. The World Wide Web is the most dynamic business environment on the planet. It can be said that it evolves on a daily basis. However, few businesses update their web pages very often. In 1994 there were fewer than 3000 published websites. The web was so new that few businesses had heard of the internet. In a mere two decades, the number of websites has exploded to a quantity never foreseen.  The milestone of 1 billion websites was reached in 2016 and today there are 1.7 billion of them. Yet, it seems that only about 200 million are active. These, in my opinion, are the winners of the web. Why don’t businesses update their websites? Is it because they are following accounting practices where they depreciate the cost over a specific period? Or, is it because they are ignorant of the importance of the need to update their investment? In this episode of Working the Web to Win, I will explore the costs, benefits, and ways to maximize the return on your website investment. We will explain the current evolution of website ranking factors, traffic generation, and financial return. So, open your browsers and be ready to evaluate your websites as we decode how to get a real return on your website investment.

Over the last few years, we have written several articles about how to maximize the effectiveness of websites. Most of the business community perceives their websites as falling into one of three camps. One, it is used to provide information about the business. Number two, it is used as a marketing tool to promo or sell on the web and three, it is a communication platform to share timely content. The reality is most websites provide all three of these functions. The trick to making a website more effective is to begin the process by narrowing the focus of the website before the design process begins. In our prior article like Extreme Website Makeovers – Fixes That Boost Traffic, Conversions and Rankings, we discussed twelve elements that help build a website’s credibility. In our article called How to Make Google Your Best Friend, we discussed 12 on-page elements that need to be optimized if you want to score Google juice.

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Then, In our article called; “Are You Ready for the BIG Game?”, we talked about the importance of creating and implementing an effective strategy if you want to win at internet marketing. These three articles provide a great start if you're looking to get a broad understanding of what is necessary to achieve success online. However, the internet continues to evolve, and these articles don’t provide everything you need to know. In fact, even our first book called Working the Web to Win, couldn’t teach you everything you will ever need to know about internet marketing because the web constantly evolves. That is why we are working so hard to complete and publish Working the Web to Win 3.0.

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Many of our prior articles have provided the principles a business needs to fix a website once a flaw is recognized. They haven’t focused on what to look for to determine if your web property is way out of date.  Now let's look at the 14 reasons your website may need a refresh.

Reason #1. Ad Fatigue or Freshness - This is a common ongoing problem that affects all advertising regardless of the marketing venue. The principle of “FRESHNESS” is very important. It is often referred to by the question of “why advertising goes stale?” also known as, “Ad Fatigue.” If the focus of your website is marketing, over time, it will succumb to ad fatigue. So, our first reason to refresh your website is to deal with Ad Fatigue or website staleness. This is the same reason why stores like Walmart, rearrange their store merchandising. It keeps the experience fresh for the consumer. 

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Reason #2. Not long ago we wrote about the importance of being mobile friendly. In fact, we have written about this subject several times. Mainly because so many businesses seem to ignore the importance of having a website that will dynamically scale to fit on every digital device a person uses. In 1994, smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices did not exist. Today, more than 60 percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches.  If you’re not mobile friendly, your marketing efforts aren’t reaching even half of the potential audience. 

Reason #3. Your website has lots of visitors, but that traffic is not converting
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into business. This is an important sign that something is very wrong. However, it never ceases to amaze me that many businesses blame the internet for having bad traffic or say that the internet doesn’t work. What they should be doing instead is evaluating the effectiveness of the elements on their web pages by testing for the right keywords and content (contact info, verbiage, images, videos, sound files, call to action and compelling offer). This is a very common problem with businesses using AdWords or other pay per click engines. I am not saying there can’t be other issues in PPC marketing, because there definitely are, but the first place a business should look at when they have traffic and little conversion is to evaluate what is missing from their site.

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Reason #4. Your business has evolved.  In other words, you changed your focus, added new products or services, your business is moving in new directions, and now you want to sell things online. Your marketing should always reflect your business' focus. Otherwise, your online assets are not optimized to effectively produce positive results for your business. This can be fixed by adding new pages or building additional microsites (aka landing pages), but no matter how you address this issue, these updates must be done.  

Reason #5. Your web pages load too slow! You’ve run a Google speed test using Google Webmaster tools and discover your web pages are loading too slow. Web page loading speed is a strong ranking factor. Especially for the mobile web. If you found out your page loading speed is inadequate, most likely you have other issues as well. This problem is a good indicator that it’s time for a website refresh.

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Reason #6. You recently read (as of July 1st, 2018) that there is a new law called the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, policy). This law requires you to add information to your website that discloses how you use visitor’s information, what tracking methods you use and how you will communicate with visitors. It has to provide a way to let visitors know how their privacy is handled,  as well as how to remove their data from your company. There are stiff penalties for companies not complying with the GDPR policy. With all the concern about privacy, security and hacking that is going on, adding this information makes sense. I suggest you immediately remedy these issues and know that disclosing this information to your visitors usually adds credibility to your site. Not having this information adds suspicion to your corporate motives.

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Reason #7. You read about the sudden surge in ADA compliance lawsuits against businesses, so you test your website with a simple ADA compliance app and discover that your website fails, with the report showing more than a dozen ADA compliance violations! If your web designers never thought to tell you about ADA compliance, there is a good chance that they may have missed other compliance issues important to Google Search. This can include; being mobile friendly and other elements that add to the effectiveness of your website.

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Reason #8.  You discover your website is missing credibility elements. You have lots of short text testimonials, but zero video testimonials. Most visitors to a website view short text testimonials with skepticism. Your website should either have video testimonials from actual customers or scanned copies of actual testimonial letters or postcards. Anything short of these types of testimonials is just wasting space. If you're using a third-party rating system or have good ratings on your social sites, they can be an asset if they are listed as well. You should continue to add these with links back to the actual ratings as they occur. This requires that you update your website on a regular basis.

Reason #9. You discover you have a complicated navigation system on your website. A customer complains that they could not find what they were looking for on your website. You have a lot of cascading menu items and no focused pages. On top of that, your top categories have no pages; only subsidiary drop-down pages. This means your website will not rank for your main category items. Fix this by simplifying the navigation menu or by adding landing pages for each category.

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Reason #10. You discover your website has few or no social sites because a customer asks if they can connect with you on social media and were surprised at what they found. Not having your social media sites prominently listed on your web pages is a big mistake. This is a high-ranking factor item and for many, not seeing social listings is like not being in the yellow pages in the 1980’s. Adding the links is the easy part of this fix. This update will not only require you to make sure you are in the top 4 social sites; it requires regular participation in social media as well.
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Reason #11. You discover your website is missing a blog when a customer asks to read your articles. Blogging is a great way to build credibility (assuming you do quality and relevant work). It also provides regular fresh content and gives visitors a reason to return and consume that content. If it is a Blogger blog, you also get Google juice and it also provides excellent fodder for your social sites. By itself, a good blog can be a great traffic generator.

Reason #12. You discover that your website has wasted a lot of valuable space above the fold. This is because it was designed with a big widescreen generic industry image on the home page that takes up about 75% of the above the fold space. In some cases, you may find this image is not scalable and makes your web page less mobile-friendly. A better use of the space above the fold is to use a smaller image or banner and to make sure you have a testimonial video above the fold along with easy to find contact information and a compelling offer. This fix may require a complete rebuild of this page. If you are using a template, you may have to start over with a complete refresh.

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Reason #13. You notice that your copyright date on your website is more than three years old. You look up the date of purchase in accounting, and you notice your website has been fully depreciated. A lot happens on the internet in three years, and in many cases, a lot of change may have occurred in your business. It's time to re-evaluate your web properties and see what has changed, what may be missing, what is working and what is not doing very well. In most cases, you can get a free evaluation. The real challenge is finding a knowledgeable company that understands online marketing and has the skill to fulfill your needs. This is when you must take the time to vet your vendors by talking to their clients and looking at their work. Their plan also needs to make sense for your business. You need to understand what they will do for you and what they promise to deliver as results. Ask yourself what will you gain if they succeed and what will happen if they fail?

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Reason #14. You have never had your web presence evaluated. Many business owners, after talking to someone at Working the Web to Win, discover they have never had a website analysis created.  Granted, this is our way of trying to open your eyes to the importance of getting this report at least once every three years.  Our website analysis is a free service that provides a look at all of these issues and more. For example, it looks at how well you're using organic search elements beyond your metadata. This includes how you are using (or lacking) the social nets, videos, blogs, and directory listings. It compares your top three competitors to your efforts to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. Finally, it looks at what needs to be done to become more effective by providing a list of high-traffic keywords and phrases, content and marketing venues relevant to your business. It even provides you with what your investment costs would be, the elements needed and their available guarantees. Just fill out the form below.

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Some of the best things you can do to stay current are; to make sure you create and publish a blog on a regular basis and attach it to your website. Create social media sites and add their links to your web pages along with engaging in social media posts. Make sure you display genuine video or written testimonials. The written ones must be actual letters or postcards.  Don’t forget to list your positive social media ratings as well. Any page you want customers to land on and then take some specific action requires a compelling offer, easy to find contact information (including your social sites) and address a single subject. Your web pages need to be focused, easy to navigate, provide trust elements above the fold and make it a no-brainer for them to take the next step. This requires regular evaluation.  

I hope that this article has opened your eyes to the importance of regularly evaluating your web properties to keep them fresh, up to date and appealing to visitors. Websites should be dynamic both in scale and content. Web properties need to evolve with your business, with the needs of customers and prospects, in order to meet the changing environment of the web itself. Also, there is the ongoing problem of ad fatigue (in this case website staleness). This is no different than needing to change your newspaper, radio or TV ad because it has gotten old and stale.

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No longer are websites secondary to brick and mortar stores. Many brick and mortar stores have gone the way of the dinosaur because they took too long to evolve. If you ask most businesses the question – “What is the value of the internet for your business?” You usually get something like a four out of five. However, many of these same businesses don’t invest in maintaining and refreshing their web properties on a regular basis. If you want to join the 200 million websites that are winners on the World Wide Web, you will have to add to your marketing budget the ongoing labor cost needed to keep your web properties current. The consequences of not keeping up means you are falling behind and this leaves ample room for your competitors to win the day.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours. Carpe diem!

This article provides more than a dozen you can determine if it’s time to refresh or replace your current website. Lots of details are provided along with the answers needed to fix the current problems with your web properties. This article also provides many links to resources that can provide the reader with methods and tips that will improve the management of their web property updates and upgrades, thus improving their return on investment.
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If you feel your business hasn’t found the net profit on the Internet, we can help with guaranteed services that produce positive results, or you don’t pay. We also make sure that your websites are secure. If you would like to see your websites rank higher, you can contact us at by dialing 904-410-2091. We are very good at cost-effectively creating tangible online results for our clients. We also provide 27 different digital products to help businesses get their message out. If you’re ready to take your web results to the next level, simply fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog, and we will provide you with a free marketing analysis which will show you how to get better results. Our claim to fame is that we are one of a few companies that actually provide real guarantees at a fair price.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links on the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject. If you have a related useful comment or opinion about this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

1 comment:

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