A website redesign isn’t something that needs to be done every year. However, if your website looks like it (or actually was) built in 1998 using Geocities (which is now only available in Japan), then a website redesign and update is well over due. Here’s how to stop your website from partying like it’s 1999 and bring it into the 21st century:
Upgrade Your Backend – I’m currently working with a non-profit that’s using version 2.6.1 of WordPress (latest version is 3.3.2). Sure, it still works and gets the job done, but the old version lacks a lot of the capabilities found in the latest version, such as social sharing, SEO plugins, and fresh design themes. By upgrading your backend, whatever that might be, your website will be able to do all that it should in 2012.
Use Social Media – With over 700 million on Facebook alone, your customers are definitely on social media. If you don’t have a social media presence, and if you don’t showcase that presence on your website, to allow visitors to connect with your brand, then you are behind on the times. And by social media presence, we mean an active engagement with followers and timely responses to comments.
Update/Rewrite Your Content – Nothing screams 1998 more than web content that promotes events that are already over, products/services that don’t exist, or discusses topics that are yesterday’s news. Make sure to update your website content with your website itself, as well as create new content to reflect what’s going on today.
Consider SEO – Nowadays, people find your website through search engines. If your website isn’t set up to be found online, then it minus well be long gone like the 20th century. If your website cannot be found online, then your website isn’t doing anything to help to grow your business. Consider SEO to be more than just your on-page content, but also the page titles, urls, meta descriptions and the alt text of photos. All that optimization wasn’t around in 1998, but it’s vital today in making your website findable online.Overall, a website isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it type of project. If you set it and forgot about is in 2002, or earlier, then it’s time to bring it back out and add a few years to its life. No one wants to interact with a website that’s old-fashioned and outdated. It’s not necessarily about being shiny and new. It’s about keeping up with a rapidly changing online world.