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It's time to let your Website Evolve - What it has to Have to Win on the Web

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Flickr

In the history of business, no medium has evolved as fast as the Internet.  When I created my first website in 1993, websites were only changed when your business changed. These changes usually had to do with adding employees, address, or phone number changes. Typically a website's content would slowly change over a number of years. This was often related to advancements in HTML or if the business evolved. This usually meant every 3 to 5 years a major refresh would be implemented. Today, however, there are many evolutionary forces at play. Not only do you need to keep up with the changes to your business, but you also need to contend with the rapid evolution of the web as well. These factors include changes associated with social media, customer/prospect sentiment, web access platforms, customer data protection, and WC3/ADA compliance, just to name a few. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will address the ever-changing evolution of the World Wide Web and how this affects the need for your web property to get refreshed, upgraded, and evolved. So, tell your friends and associated to read and share this article and also to tune into the BTR and YouTube show as we tackle the subject of whether it's time for your website to evolve.

We have talked about the what, why, when, and how of web site redesign and updating in past articles. The main differences between our prior blogs and today's are the evolutionary speed and the new evolutionary forces at play compared to just a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, these articles are still excellent resources to read before executing a refresh or upgrade so I do recommend checking them out. Here are a few examples of our prior articles that I highly recommend reading.

Now before I get into all the factors that affect whether or not a website needs to be upgraded or refreshed, let's define a website. A website is an address on the web that contains content of any kind. Using this definition, any web page or group of pages is designated a website. This includes Nexus websites (regular multipage sites), eCommerce sites, landing pages, any of the social media channels, blogs, and ezines, along with any of the WebTV, Internet Radio, Podcast, and video channels available. This also includes message boards, email portals, gaming sites, and the like. In essence, any page you can interact with is a website or a page associated with a website. This is why we normally use the generic term web properties instead of the most often used term websites.

Courtesy of Flickr

Today, there are many small businesses that only use social media pages as their website. There are people that only have a blog, podcast, and video media channels as their primary web properties. There is nothing wrong with this. It just exemplifies my point that our conversation needs to be about web properties and not old school web pages.

So, why do we need to refresh or update a web-property anyway? There are three main reasons why a web-property needs to be changed. The first and most common is the business has changed in some way.  You have new products or services. You changed personnel, location, phone numbers, etc... The business has evolved, and the web property needs to reflect the evolution of the business. The second type of upgrade usually includes technical evolutionary forces. HTML has changed, your website is not mobile-friendly, or your website is producing a lot of bounced visitors or it's just not showing up in Organic Search. The third reason has to do more with customer/prospect sentiment or the website owner is trying to meet search algorithm criteria. It's true that many of the updates can overlap each other, and it's not always clear which factor prompted the upgrade or refresh to take place. However, today,  the rapid evolution of the web itself is always part of the impetus. 

Now, let's look at the many evolutionary forces at play for any web property on the world wide web today.

  • HTML Changes - If you haven't refreshed or updated your website to HTML 5, it's time for a change. HTML 5 provides many advantages over its predecessors, including better video support, and dynamic formatting of the web pages to match the accessing platform. You can often view your page source code to determine which version of HTML you are using, (if you're using W3C standard coding).
  • Dynamic/Mobile-friendly- It's possible to be using HTML 5 and not be mobile-friendly. 65 to 80 percent of all web traffic is mobile today, so if your site isn't mobile-friendly, you are missing out on the bulk of the possible web traffic. The best way to determine this is to look at the site on a smartphone and determine its practical usability.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  • The HTTPS Certificate - Trust is one of those intangible factors that has a hand in every transaction that takes place on the web. Having an HTTPS certification certificate raises the trust factor for any web property. If you currently don't have an HTTPS certificate, you need to get one for your main site. Many web properties like social, video channels, and blog sites come with HTTPS built-in. It's easy to tell because HTTPS will be part of the  URL address.
  • Not Converting Visitors - If your websites are not converting visitors into prospects or customers, it's because it's missing the top five critical credibility building elements that are needed about the fold.  
  • Adding Multimedia - If your web property isn't utilizing multimedia elements you're missing out on the benefits that multimedia provides. Many studies show that adding multimedia elements (pictures, videos, audio files, etc...) makes a difference in bounce rates and conversions. Not have multimedia elements makes your web property text-heavy and somewhat boring, Multimedia elements add a visual appeal, excitement, and stickiness.
  • Web Page Load Time - Faster load speeds for images and videos is key. It's important to check to make sure your multimedia files load quickly. These types of files can be tested using Google webmaster tools and can be altered so that they load faster. For example, a high-resolution picture can be converted to a lower resolution and reduced size to make it load faster. In a similar way, an HD video can be converted to a lower resolution so that it will load and start playing sooner. Better still, you can use video embed codes instead of uploading a video directly onto your site.  Speed is extremely important today as most web surfers don't show much patience when it comes to slow performing web pages.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  • Changing Content - When was the last time you changed any information on your website? Probably a better question is "do you want to give visitors a reason to come back and visit your website? If you haven't changed anything on your website in 3 years, you're already two years behind the curve.
  • Adding a Blog - The easiest way to add useful content that draws new visitors (and keep prior visitors coming back) is to add a blog to your web property. In fact, your blog could be your primary web property. A blog can do most anything that a "regular" website can. More importantly, it has useful information that gives visitors a reason to come back and new visitors a reason to explore your content.
  • Chasing the Social Nets - In case you haven't noticed, social media is a high ranking factor. If your site is omitting your social links you're hurting your ranking. On top of that, it's important to be active and backed linked on the top four or five social sites to all of your web properties since these cross-links are also high ranking factors.
  • Customer/Prospect Sentiment - Customers like and dislike change over time. What's hot today is old hat tomorrow. It's important to stay abreast of trends and the latest professional designs so that your site does begin to look like it was created in the 1990s. I recommend refreshing your look and feel at least once every 3 to 5 years.
  • Ad Fatigue - All types of marketing have the Achilles heel of ad fatigue! If your marketing pages begin to get stale, they won't produce sales. If you notice that your visitor's rate drops, and or your conversion diminishes, take a hard look and decide if the site just looks and feels stale!
    Courtesy of Flickr
  • Rules Changes - The World Wide Web Consortium recently instituted changes with respect as to what constitutes ADA compliance. Also, the EU passed laws (GDPR) that now govern how a visitor's data can be used. Not complying with new regulations usually leads to lower-ranking, unhappy visitors or to outright law suites. It pays to follow the rules.
  • Algorithm Changes - Search algorithms are changing all the time. In many cases, AI algorithms are changed on the fly as they adjust to search trends and web traffic patterns. This is not a simple thing to monitor, but it does have to be taken into account. If you're running any kind of per click ads, they should be monitored weekly if not daily. This is also true for organic search positions of any kind. If you turn a blind eye to these market trends your marketing will go blind and your sales will look like a beggar's alms bowl.
  • Webmaster Keeping Google Happy - If you have a webmaster, they should be using Google webmaster tools to monitor the status of your web properties. These tools are free and can help you find many deficiencies, 
  • Word Press Plugins - If you have a WordPress site, it needs regular maintenance, otherwise, it becomes vulnerable to hacking and in many cases, your plugin apps cease to function. Ignoring this maintenance is a fast track to problems if not disaster.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the old days (the 1990's), you could build a website and not make any changes until your business changed. Today, business changes are the tail that wags the dog as the World Wide Web dictates the bulk of the upgrades and refreshes that need to be implemented on modern business websites. Most businesses follow the idea that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The problem with this statement is that most businesses don't know what constitutes broken! A simple search for any phrase will bring up a list of websites that are both good and bad. 

The bad websites are the 70% that are not mobile-friendly because they were designed using an early version of HTML or other languages. Many web sites suffer from accounting restrictions where the owner is trying to amortize their expenditures over a five year period. Both of these are big mistakes. If you find your website has three or more of the above-listed problems, your website is due for a change, either a refresh or upgrade. A refresh is primarily a "look and feel" change, where an upgrade is often a wholesale change. 

If you would like a third party's opinion on the status of your web properties, we would be happy to help. We provide a FREE web presence analysis for companies so that they can make wise decisions on digital marketing expenditures. Most of the potential clients that come to us have never seen a web presence analysis and are amazed at the FREE 4-page report we provide. It's how we show that we are different from our competition. If you would like to get your FREE web presence analysis created, call us at 904-712-9355 or fill out the form below and we will send you a one-page worksheet to fill out to start the process, no-pressure, just useful information.  In the world of digital marketing, good analytical information is hard to find. We are here to make that process easy. We are betting you will be impressed by the analysis report. It's up to you. Do you want the process to be hard by staying in the dark, or by getting some honest help? I promise you our report will be useful fair and an honest portrayal of what your actual situation currently is. I hope to hear from you soon.

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

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This article provides more than a dozen ways to determine if your web property (i.e. Web pages) needs a refresh or upgrade. The list of evolutionary forces that force web property updates is growing and the pace of the need for updates and upgrades is growing ever shorter. By reading this article, you will have a good understanding of where your web properties stand. We also provide a FREE analysis to help you make wise decisions The article further provides details on many different analog and digital touch marketing methods that can be used, and it includes a formula for success that any company can use and succeed with. Lastly, this article also provides links to many other articles including a link to the BlogTalkRadio show that goes with this article.

If you feel your business hasn’t found the profits it expected 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 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 call me at 904-712-9355. I will email you the Free Web presence analysis worksheet for you to fill out. It only takes a few days for us to create the Free 4 page report for business. No hard sell, just useful information. An informed prospect is more likely to make wise choices which is why we don't sell, we help businesses find solutions. 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 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 the 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” and the co-author along with his business partner Carl Weiss of their hit book also called “Working the Web to Win.”

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