12 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Website

Sirius-Media_2004_water_400

Sirius-Media.com in 2004.

Every business has to start somewhere.

You get going with what you can afford and, unless you’re a startup with angel investors, you make do until there’s some money actually coming in. Once business starts rolling along, it’s easy to forget about the website that got you launched.

Often, your first website is pretty basic. Maybe there wasn’t a budget to put it together, or a design student did it for peanuts, or a free website builder was used. Your site works, and may even look okay, but traffic has stalled. It’s time for a change.

It’s time to consider a new website if…

  1. It’s been more than 3 years since you redesigned.
  2. Your website uses Flash animations. Adobe’s animation darling is quickly becoming a faded flower.
  3. The site is difficult to maintain, which results in outdated, missing, or incorrect content. Out of date content detracts from your search ranking.
  4. It’s not friendly to mobile devices such as tablets or smart phones.
  5. Your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate. This is a feature modern browsers require and it’s a help with search optimization, too.
  6. Website doesn’t match current marketing campaigns. Branding consistency is so important. If your site doesn’t showcase your new logo, use your colors or displays an old tagline, then it’s working against you, 24/7.
  7. You’re not collecting new email contacts for marketing. Take advantage of email marketing by growing your email list.
  8. Feeling insecure? Hacking and malware attacks are omnipresent. If your site is running the latest security package, it’s vulnerable to the bad guys.
  9. Social share buttons are missing, or connections to your social media pages are absent.
  10. Your content is out of date. Google looks for content that has been updated or is new. Adding video, slideshows or podcasts are great ways to increase online engagement and dynamically tell your business’s story.
  11. Business contact info, hours or location is hard to find, or the contact page is missing. Hidden contact information is lost business. Make sure your phone, email, office location and business hours are clear and easy to find.
  12. Site traffic is not being measured with Google Analytics. It’s free, easy to install and a must for monitoring any website health.

Recently, the venerable community blog Metafilter redesigned after getting feedback from Google that their decade old site design made the content look out of date and unreliable. Website design can affect not just your branding, but also the perception of reliability, and search engine visibility. Even Google likes to see something new now and then.

Sirius-Media.com in 2008If your website meets 3 or more of the above criteria, it’s time to consider an upgrade.

Sirius Media is an expert in guiding clients through the upgrade process. We know what is working for businesses like yours, can recommend restyles that work on all devices, provide graphic design services, advise on SEO decisions, and install the analytics tools to monitor your site and measure success.

With a fresh new website built on the popular and robust WordPress platform, you’ll be able to easily take over site updates while being ready to do site improvements and upgrades in the future.

Take your business website to the next level. Get Sirius today!

Contact Sirius Media Today

 

 

 

 

Writing Website Content

MP910216414When beginning a web project, often coming up with the written copy is one of the hardest parts. Clients often tell me “I know what I want to say, but am not sure where to begin”. I often feel the same way. Here are 10 tips to crafting better website content.

  1. Begin with a content outline. Decide what the main elements of your copy are, what info goes where.  Then get word counts from your web designer and be sure to use them.
  2. Start with the big questions. For a bio, tell readers who you are, what brought you to where you are now, what are your passions. Do share quirky and pertinent details that are memorable. Don’t share quirky not pertinent details that will only distract.
  3. Answer the searches. How will people ask Google for your product or services? Convey the information you want to share by answering the searches made to find you. Do some searches yourself to see how results vary by framing the question differently.
  4. Do include details. Instead of saying “We sell widgets”, try “We carry wooden wide load widgets for on greased gizmos and green gadgets”. Every detail provides more clues to lead the web visitor through your website. And it also provides more ‘Google juice‘ to enhance your site ranking.
  5. Use the active voice. Imagine yourself in a conversation with the web visitor. Be engaging, answer questions you know they’ll ask, and invite exploration by cross-linking to other content within your website.
  6. Break it up — Readers scan quickly when reading online. It’s actually good to use sentence fragment subheads, bulleted lists and one-sentence paragraphs. Sprinkled liberally with calls to action. (See what I did there?)
  7. Headlines and subheads must use descriptive keywords. Web readers scan quickly, so need to know exactly what you’re talking about before they’ll actually read your content. As Jakob Nielsen advises, use “links and category descriptions that explicitly describe” your products.
  8. Don’t use made up words or jargon. Remember search engines don’t understand clever innuendo or elegant wordplay. Do use terms likely to be used by your audience for searching.
  9. Have somebody else proofread all content. Do it before posting, then again after it’s on the website. Seeing content in action can change context, but always be sure copy is polished before giving it to your web designer. Edits take time, which costs money.
  10. Find a photo. Copy gets more attention if it has a photo or illustration to catch the eye and illustrate the concept. Use stock houses, your own photos, or public domain images to be sure you have legal copyright to use it. Do not just save images you like off the web. That is illegal and reputable web designers will not use them.

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