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Jeff Felton, Solutions Advisors Group, Vice President of Digital Marketing Services, contends that web designs have a shelf life of three to five years. We did a little digging and confirmed that he’s right. According to a survey by Blue Fountain Media, 81% of internet users think less of a business if the website is not updated, and 39% would think twice about using a product or service if the website is not fresh, user friendly and current. We found there are at least 11 signs it is time to consider a new website!
- Your objectives have changed. What was the purpose of your website when you launched it? Increased occupancy? Name recognition? Introducing a new or expanding community? Even if your site is beautifully designed, if it doesn’t match your current company brand, it may need a redesign to ensure your mission and values shine through. Documenting the journey your site visitor might take can help you see your website in an entirely new light.
- You can’t navigate your website easily on a mobile phone. Having a mobile-friendly or responsive website design also affects other factors. More than 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Google search favors websites that look good on smart phones and other mobile devices. Google began indexing websites based on their mobile version, not their desktop version. More than 290 million people have smartphones, so it is very likely that a prospect will visit your site only on their phone. If visitors cannot find what they need quickly and easily on your mobile website it’s a clear sign it’s time to update.
- It wasn’t built using WordPress. Every marketer doesn’t need to be a website expert, but with a WordPress website, you have a chance! If your website uses the WordPress platform, you or your team can add events, update pricing or incentives, change team pages within minutes, or add other updates to keep the site fresh and keep users returning to your site. It should be constantly evolving as Google craves new content.
- You’ve installed a lot of plugins. Most website platforms support the use of third-party plugins. However, the more plugins, the more opportunities there are for site performance issues. If you have more than five or six plugins installed, chances are your site’s performance is being affected. If you are nearing the dozen mark, your site is trying to be something it isn’t and it’s time for a website update.
- It’s no longer visually appealing. What may have been trendy when you first created your website could now be out of date or look poorly designed by today’s standards. If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful information, visitors will see you as an authority and expert. Likewise, if your site looks poorly designed or out-of-date, they may make the same assumptions about your organization. Outdated sites can seem unsafe or send negative trust signals. Compare your current site to your competition and update your website visuals if yours aren’t up to par. Large images, appealing colors, and open or flat design elements are the ‘new normal’ user experience. And be sure to check both computer and phone views of your website. Both should be appealing and easy to navigate.
- The navigation feels awkward. If your objectives have changed, there is a good chance the menu should change, too. Depending on when your website was created, there may be a greater number of navigation options available. Check the website yourself: How easy is it to find information and complete actions? If it seems difficult or confusing to a first-time user or takes more than two clicks, it’s time to upgrade.
- Speed is slow. If you are using video (you should be, if you aren’t), page load times can start to slow. If your website wasn’t built to support video content, you should move to a platform that works well with stand-alone video or integrates easily with YouTube. Slow loading could be caused by a variety of factors, including large images, underpowered hosting or an older, poorly performing theme. Take a look at the speed of your webpages with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If your score is below average, it could be worth a conversation with your web agency to figure out your next steps.
- Your SEO needs love. Search engine optimization (SEO) requirements change every few months or so it seems. If your website hasn’t been updated in a while, your ranking is probably not very high on search engines. Updating your website can be a great way to boost your search engine rank as you can take this time to add in keywords and phrases, as well as improve the organization of your content. And if you don’t have a blog yet, this is a perfect time to add one and update it with new content regularly to drive more traffic your way.
- Your website has been hacked. Security is a top priority for all businesses, but it is something that is often overlooked in the senior living industry. If your website is hacked and prospect or resident information is compromised, this could lead to a lack of trust that harms your community. If your site isn’t secure for all visitors, you need to invest in a new site sooner than later.
- Lead generation slows down. If you are driving prospects to your website, but they aren’t converting at the pace they used to, it could be time for a change. Maybe your content needs to be updated or your forms aren’t using best practices. A high bounce rate or low conversions could also signify that your users are disengaged. No matter how you are measuring, monthly metrics can help you determine the need for an update or entire new website.
- It doesn’t meet Google’s new Core Web Vitals criteria. What does that even mean? (link to write up on Core Web Vitals) Google announced that it will be adding page experience signals to how it ranks sites in the search engine results pages (SERPs), with the aim to allow websites to rank higher based on the quality of their user experience. The Core Web Vitals and existing metrics measured include things called First Input Delay (the time it takes for a page to become interactive) and Largest Contentful Paint (the time it takes for a page’s main content to load). If you have a site that isn’t meeting these Google-driven metrics, your user experience will be sub-par meaning your rankings and, subsequently, your traffic could suffer.
How many of the reasons above have been mentioned in your community’s marketing and sales meetings in the past year? If you answered more than a few, it’s time! With a little planning, a solid web platform and lots of great copy and images, your community’s website will be selling for you in no time!
Websites can be complicated, but they don’t need to be scary. In fact, updating or designing a new website we tackle together. At Solutions Advisors Group, our digital marketing team is here to develop digital strategies and supporting tactics that help you overcome any sales and marketing hurdles your community can possibly face. Contact us to learn how.