Update Your Website – you might be losing business!
by Dave Cottrell
Update your website. You might be losing a lot of business, due to an old, boring, and outdated website.
Have you ever wished you could slow down for a while, take a break, and just turn off the world? Great! Take a vacation!
In the real world of business, though, you can’t stay with the status quo – in other words – the way things are at present. In fact, if you tried to do that, even the status quo would pass you by!
This world is moving faster than ever in recorded history. Few people alive, today, realize just how amazing it was when the first astronauts landed on the moon! The work needed to get there was staggering! All the calculations were done by NASA scientists on their giant NASA blackboard… yes… in chalk! All the buttons and switches in the Apollo spacecraft were mechanical!
When we entered the computer age, the real computer age, where almost everybody has a computer in their office, the development of technology and the movement of information began to accelerate dramatically. The simple, handheld calculator had made everything move much faster than before, but when the personal computer or PC came out, look out! Technology took off at a dizzying speed.
Soon, people were sending Instant Messages, or IMs across the world via a new thing, called the Internet. Where once it cost a small fortune for a three minute phone call to someone on the other side of the world, it was now possible to talk endlessly via Text Messaging.
It wasn’t very long before smart people began to see the value of putting ads in front of all the people coming on the new Cyber world, and the website was born.
My first website was lime green and had a few lines of print on it. I was super proud of it (although my baby sister said it looked “very seventies”). Needless to say, it didn’t bring in much business…
But with Web technology came an astonishing explosion in information, collaboration, development and invention. The growth of new technology exploded, and today, shows no sign of slowing down, but actually continues to accelerate.
We now have text, multiple fonts, banner advertising, voice over internet, streaming video, full colour advertising, personalized advertising, social media, content management systems (CMS), Smartphones and Apps!
Did I mention Apps? They have become SO WILDLY POPULAR that many, if not most people, when they want to know or do something online today, especially with a smartphone, will look for an app. Is there an app for that?
Is your website lagging behind in the early twenty first century? Get with it. Update your website!
If you’re using WordPress as your CMS (why wouldn’t most people?), one of the simplest things you can do to update your website is to change your theme. Don’t worry if you’re NOT using WordPress; you can and should still update and modernize your theme, but it may not be as simple.
Changing your theme in WordPress is done with a simple click of a button. All that you need to do to make the change is to choose the new theme and activate it.
With that said, it’s always wise to back up your entire website, first. At the very least, back up all the content. It would be tragic to lose the good content you have created over the years.
Changing themes with a good CMS like WordPress changes the look of the entire site, instantly. In one click, you can go from 2012 (ancient history in the online world) to 2014, and look slick and polished. The search engines will absolutely love you. What they see, in an instant, is a whole lot of brand new, fresh content.
I recently updated www.classifiedadland.com and saw my traffic jump within hours. All that I did was activate a new WordPress theme, and voila!
One of the things that happens with WordPress and many other CMS and handcrafted websites is due to the speed at which the technology is being developed. The code that was perfect the day you created it quickly becomes old and sluggish as new code is developed to run across all hardware, browsers and operating systems. As everything updates, your website will become one of the slower sites, if you don’t update your website, and in fact, it could begin to cause errors and stalls as your site’s code becomes obsolete.
In other words, a lot of people may be TRYING to access your website, but giving up, because it takes too long to load (or maybe never loads on their device).
In fact, what finally prompted me to change themes was that parts of my website either would not load at all, or took so long to load that nobody could be bothered. Certain areas would even crash some browsers.
If you think that’s because I’m a bit careless and it would never happen to you, think again. I do a lot of testing when I put a site together, and come back to check it often in the beginning. I check each page on Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari and Opera, and also check them with my smartphone. They work when I put them up.
I also run good anti-malware software on my websites to make sure they stay clean and safe and don’t get junk installed on them.
Even with all these precautions, parts of my website were slowing down to a stop. Here’s another good reason to check and update your website, often: time after time my website was running fine, then some areas began to slow right down. Each time parts of my website slowed down, I painstakingly went through, found the problem, and repaired it. Then at a later date, something would be slowing in down, again. Widgets, apps, even themes, themselves, while very necessary in today’s world, can all develop glitches that slow a site down, as the internet develops around it.
When I changed themes completely, it brought my entire website up to the latest technology and coding. All the conflicts caused by changes over time were gone in an instant. Suddenly, my website loaded with no issues, and my traffic went way up.
When you update your website, simply changing your theme is not enough by itself, but it’s a good start. Many other things in your website should also be updated.
Update your content. Go back over your old content and edit it. Guess what happens when you edit old content: It becomes new content!
Check all your links and make sure they work properly. Links that go off site often die, as websites close down, or webmasters update their sites. Good, working links are very valuable.
If you are an affiliate marketer, make sure all the ads you feature on your website are still relevant and operating. Very few companies keep the same stock forever. You may be wasting very valuable space on something that no longer exists.
Get rid of outdated or non performing ads. This is similar to the above, but also applies to ads that have never received a click or that go to something so outdated that no one would buy it any more.
Remove ads and articles that are not relevant. You may have been advertising something on your site that has no place on your site. It may be something you found really interesting or exciting at the time, maybe something that has a phenomenal compensation plan, or maybe something you were certain at the time that everybody would want.
Maybe you’ve been trying to sell fancy lady’s perfume on a site about hunting and camping. That’s not necessarily the best use of your space. Consider creating another, completely different website if you want to sell the perfume and advertise canoes or backpacks in the space you just gained.
Take a load off your pages. While it may seem like a good idea to give people as many choices as possible when you get them on a page, that can be a big mistake. Unless you’re Amazon or some other huge company, make sure that your content is the main thing, always. Remember that it’s the content that brings people to your website in the first place. If you make the focus of your website the stuff you’re trying to sell, you will get buried under the massive weight of big, corporate advertising dollars.
Reread your own content. Is it saying what you want it to say? Does it interest you? Does it keep you on the page? If not, don’t be afraid to rewrite it and make it much, much better. After all, your own brain has been updated since you wrote it; it will probably be much more interesting and relevant today for today’s world than when you originally wrote it.
If you are using WordPress for your CMS, check your plugins. Plugins change rapidly, and often cross over. They are terrific tools that make your life and your visitors’ lives better. Yet they can conflict with one another and slow down your website if you’re not careful.
Jetpack, which comes built in with ever WordPress theme, adds more and more plugins to the total package, so check it often and remove plugins you don’t need. Keep the plugins you have up-to-date. Above all, keep your CMS up to date, whether it is WordPress or anything else.
Update you website, now! It will pay you to git ‘er done.