New Year, new website?

Have you thought about investing in a new website for the new year? Three key reasons why now is the right time to act!

I know what some of you might be thinking – A guy that runs a web design business telling me that I need a new website…that’s original. Admittedly, I am biased but, that doesn’t make the following paragraphs any less true. I started Upspark Digital as I saw there was a real opportunity for businesses within the fireplace industry to move their business forward using superior web services. The pace of change in business and online is increasing rapidly and there’s no doubt the pandemic has further accelerated these changes. There’s no doubt in my mind that the businesses that are going to thrive in the 2020s are the ones who adapt best and make the most of the digital world we now live in.

However. I don’t want this article to come off as tone deaf as I realise all of our businesses have faced some ups and downs over the last year. But, with some light at the end of the tunnel, for those who can afford to invest money in their business, I’m going to outline three key reasons why I think now is the right time to invest in a new website:

1). More than any other time before, people will judge your business on the standard of your website

Judging website credibility

Simply getting by with your old website or no website at all is becoming a greater risk to your business.  As the weeks, months and years roll on, the internet continues to become more and more central to people’s lives. Google has become the fountain of knowledge and visiting websites and social media is increasingly how we judge people and their businesses.

Before lifting the phone, before emailing you, most people will look at your website and make a judgement about whether you are the right business for them. A research study by Brightlocal found that 92% of people used a business’s website to choose who to use locally.

Due to the Pandemic, more people are at home than at any other time in history. This has meant access to the internet and the role of the business website has taken on even greater importance to people searching for solutions to their problems, and with the increasing role of online shopping in our lives, people expect a certain standard from the websites they visit. Less and less consumers are willing to forgive you for having a poor website (or a poorer website than your competition).

2). You could be losing your rankings on search engine results

As you read this, Google is cracking down on businesses that aren’t user friendly and who don’t follow their latest guidelines. 

Google is a business that makes it money based on how well a user gets the results they want from their search query. Therefore, Google wants its users to visit websites that provide good experiences where the layout and design are intuitive and the information easily accessible, especially on mobile. 

There’s a whole bunch of stuff that goes into how Google uses its computers to work out who is visible on page 1 of search results and who isn’t but what we can say is that Google rewards businesses that follow its guidelines and punishes those that don’t by downgrading their search ranking.

Every few months Google releases changes to its computer programming that impacts how the ranking works. Slowly but surely, it is making it harder for business websites to rank that aren’t user friendly. 

At the very least your website should:

  • Be mobile Friendly – i.e. have a different design and layout that is easy to navigate for mobile users.
  • Be SSL Secured – Your website should have the little padlock or say ‘Secure’ on the left-hand side of the address bar on your web browser
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  • Be Search Engine Friendly – e.g. using keywords in headers and using meta tags
  • Load in under 3 seconds 

3). Your website might not represent your business anymore

When I’m talking to people in the industry about their websites and why they’re looking to update it, quite often they mention that their business has changed or evolved and that their website simply doesn’t do a good job at representing their business anymore.

Most often, the business has expanded, becoming more professional. The business owners want their website to reflect this and show the business in the best possible light. Basically, begin to build a better-known brand in their community.

But there are also other times when your website might not reflect your business anymore: 

  • You have changed what you sell
  • Added new products or services to your business
  • Added or removed people involved in the business
  • Expanded the area you serve or relocated
  • Gained a stronger local reputation and want to represent this on your website

Final thoughts

I know from speaking to a number of you that you often neglect your website. I get it though, you work really hard during the day and the last thing you want to do when you come home is think about some techy stuff that frankly you can’t be bothered with. But (and it’s a big but) the internet is not going away and neglecting your website will make your business suffer in the long term. Putting a few hours aside to sort out your online presence now will reap benefits quickly and for years to come. Take a few hours to find and chat to a reliable business that can do the techy stuff for you so you can get back to doing the things you love without neglecting something you know is important. 

If you’ve struggled or are struggling to find a business you can trust, that sold you a dream and didn’t deliver, I hear you! I’ve been there myself, I built Upspark Digital to be the very solution I wish I had been able to find a few years ago. To see video case studies on how we improved the businesses of a couple of our clients click here.

I hope you found the article interesting and there was at least a couple of takeaways from it. As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated or if you want to talk to me about how we can help with your website you can use the contact form on our website here.

All the best,

Chris

Chris R Boyd

Managing Director, Upspark Digital

Ps. You can also take our two minute online scorecard to discover how good your website is at representing your business in a way that makes people want to do business with you.

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