Every business and every website is different. Ultimately the performance of your site will dictate the life span. In most cases if you’ve had three or more years out of one, you have done pretty well, but I’ve seen some sites last a lot longer that still fit their purpose.
With technology changing though, especially in the portable device arena with tablets, mobile phones and ‘phablets‘ dominating traffic statistics, it’s pretty obvious where this article starts off.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re providing an annoying and cumbersome experience for over half of your audience. Average time spent on mobile devices now exceeds desktop computer use. Figures can vary quite a lot between industries (clothing retail for example can be skewed towards mobile, industrial services towards desktop) but more than half is the best guess now for mobile use.
It’s true that conversions are still higher on desktops, with more research being done on mobiles, then the final purchase decision being made from a desktop.
Add to that, Google has come out and said that it would start giving preference to sites that are mobile friendly in search results. This was predicted to be the apocalypse for website owners rankings. It wasn’t, but it’s still considered the best thing you can do right now if you haven’t already.
Websites with large images are pretty much standard these days. They provide a great visual impact. A lot of businesses resort to using stock photography from sites such as Shutterstock due to a lack of resources or fear of being photographed themselves. Customers are pretty clued up these days and can spot when an image is clearly purchased. Tell-tale signs are overly americanised, generic scenes with no actual relevance or crazily good looking people looking crazily perfect.
Invest in a professional photographer. It is absolutely well worth it. We crave real content, real people. We want to see the faces of the business and the actual use/purpose of your offering. If you’re investing into the build of your website, and then the marketing, a photographer in my opinion provides the greatest benefit/cost ratio of all.
Site speed is critical not only to the experience your users have on your website, but to your Google rankings also. If your site is slow to load because it’s been poorly designed, or your web host is struggling, it can have a detrimental effect on your business. Every second to load your page is costing you money.
There are a lot of tests online to monitor the performance of your site such as Pingdom and GT Metrix. The only downside to these are your site will be tested from the US so they don’t give accurate time measurements due to the delay in connection between the US and Australia. They do give you some good insights into what you can do to improve your site’s performance though.
If you’re looking at your analytics account and wondering, ‘why isn’t anyone coming to my site?’ It’s time to rethink the strategy. Your site has to be able to be found. It’s like you’ve just printed a bunch of flyers and left them at your own front door expecting people to find them. Your site needs to be structured and planned to target relevant keywords for your industry, but also keywords that actually generate traffic. There is absolutely zero point in being ranked number one for a term that has next to no searches per month.
Content creation should be a part of your marketing strategy also. Google and your customers want value. If you haven’t got a blog, you need one.
Maybe you have the traffic, but nothing is eventuating. If you haven’t defined a goal or conversion target and built the site accordingly, what do you expect your site to actually do? Gone are the days when all you needed to do was just have a website. Everyone has a website. Define what it is you want, whether that be online sales, phone enquiries, email enquiries, downloads, etc. and gear your site towards that. It sounds simple, but so many business websites just don’t have a clear focus on what the customer should do.
Hopefully if any of these signs have resonated with you, you’re already considering how you could build your next website better. I personally love the challenge of reworking a website to get the most out of it. I’ve previously said “don’t get caught prioritising pretty over purpose” which I try to get across to all of my clients and it’s so true. Set some targets for the next site you build and discover the difference.