5 ways to know your site needs a makeover

colorado-springs-website-designer-outdated-websiteYour website may be outdated if:

You can’t update the content yourself

These days, most everyone wants to be able to update their own website. I have heard so many horror stories from clients who could not get their webmaster to return their calls, much less update their site. Or when they did, it took three months before the update was made — even simple text changes. A content management system (CMS) alleviates all those concerns. You’re in charge of your own website.

Another great thing about a CMS is that it keeps your content and your programming separated. The pages on your server contain the code and the database contains your content, which you control via the CMS. If you’ve ever updated your site yourself in Dreamweaver or Front Page you’ve no doubt accidentally deleted a closing tag to a snippet of programming and when you uploaded your page, the page did not display correctly (if at all). Panic sets in and it’s time to call your webmaster for help. And we all know how that typically turns out…so…why not put the responsibility and control in your own hands with a CMS?

If your site’s web pages end in .htm or .html, it’s time you updated your site so that the pages are created dynamically through the CMS. Search engines also prefer when your site keeps the content and programming separate. A CMS will help your search engines ranking!

It can’t be found in the search engines

Ranking well in the search engines is a tricky business. Getting ranked at all, in fact, is a tricky business. If your site is not ranking in the first 50 or so pages of Google, then something is seriously amiss. Does your front page contain mostly graphics or Flash animations? (Hint: if you can’t highlight the text on your page with your mouse, then typically your text is actually a graphic or Flash-based). Search engines can’t index images, so you want your text to be actual text, and you want it to contain as many relevant keywords as possible. Does your Title Tag (what is shown at the top of your browser when you’re on your web page) only contain your company name? That won’t help you in the search engines.

It lacks social networking capabilities

Do you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, You Tube Channel, or a blog? Depending on the industry and target market, not everyone may need all the social media outlets, but it’s a good idea to participate in a few, as a vast majority of people turn to social media to do research and make buying decisions. If you have a Facebook page, your website should link to it and vice-versa. Embed slide shows and videos into your site and contain them on your own You Tube channel, so when people visit You Tube and do a search with your keywords, they can then click over to your website. Facebook allows instant dissemination of information. You don’t have to wait for someone to visit yor website to get the latest news; instead, you serve it up hot and fresh to their Facebook feeds. Same thing goes for a blog…add an RSS feed to your blog and your subscribers get your content updates immediately.

The graphic design features beveled button or flashing text

Ok, this is mostly a joke, but not really. Back in the 90s, when the internet was just a toddler, big flashing buttons and large beveled edges on graphics was the big thing. There are cycles in website design, and sadly, if your site features some design elements that were once popular but aren’t any more, your site is considered outdated, simply based on its design. Things to consider these days, as well, is whether your site looks good on mobile browsers, as so many people are using their smart phones to access the web. Have you looked at your website on a mobile device? Most mobile devices don’t play Flash-based animations. Does your website have Flash on it? You might be surprised to discover it simply does not show up on devices that do not support Flash technology.

Your copyright date is circa 1997

Again, a joke…but seriously, if your content was last updated during the first Bush presidency, then it’s time you did something to freshen up your site. If it’s been a while since your content has been updated, ask yourself why? No time? No one to do the work? A webmaster that won’t get on the ball? Your visitors are going to take one look at your outdated content (your last newsletter was dated 2002, perhaps?) and “run for the hills.” And by “run for the hills,” I mean click away from your site and head over to one of your competitors’ websites.

Your website content needs to be fresh! That’s where a blog comes in so handy — visitors see you have fresh material and are engaged with your website. Even a Latest News area in the sidebar shows that things are happening with your company. Your visitors don’t want to visit a stagnant website. What’s the point?

With a CMS, it’s not that hard to keep your site current. A good design, fresh content, social media interaction, good search engine practices, and a well-organized website all show that your company is current. Take a look at your website today and see if there’s room for improvement in the areas I stated above. And if you need help moving into the 21st century, email blue sky designs.