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Give Your Small Business a Big Impact with an Updated Website

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Is your website gaining you customers or losing them for you?

As a small-business owner, you face many hurdles large companies don’t face – limited budget, expertise, and time to devote to an upgrade, or complete redesign of your website. If your website is even just a few years old, it may not have the capability to reach your intended audience.

Consider this: your website has five seconds to grab the attention of potential customers. In the amount of time it takes to read this sentence, you could have lost a new client. However, there are several steps you can take to keep your website relevant.

Following are a number of strategies you can adopt to make your website work harder for you in today’s business environment:

The Mobile Revolution

smartphone-1184865_640Mobile technology has changed the way we use the Internet. Fifty percent of all traffic on the Internet now originates from a mobile device. Your website has to be accessible for every platform, whether it’s a PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Modern website design employs software known as responsive web design which identifies the screen size of the user device and automatically adjusts the graphics and text to the appropriate size.

Having a responsive website is critical for driving traffic to your site. Google has now started giving higher rankings to websites that can adapt to mobile devices. Some estimates have found that fewer than 20 percent of sites currently employ responsive design, which can give you an advantage over older sites.

Even the font on your site may need to be updated. Mobile devices have a lower resolution than computer monitors, so a sans-serif font like Arial is easier to read on a mobile device than a serif font like Times New Roman.

Consider it an Expense, not Expensive

In many cases, your website is your main marketing tool. Potential clients may not subscribe to a magazine you advertise in, but they all have a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Updating your website is just good business. Just like the rest of your business, it should be a part of your budget, like your electric bill, and office supplies.

Think of your website like your car. There are ongoing expenses, such as fuel, oil changes, and new tires. Then there are the big expenses – a new timing belt or transmission. Just like a car, your website needs constant attention. Sometimes it’s just refreshing the copy or adding new photos every month. Sometimes there are larger expenses like adding new capabilities. Just as you’ll eventually need to buy a new car, your website will eventually outlive its usefulness, so budget accordingly. Look at the monthly upkeep costs and then increase your monthly website budget so you’ll already have the funds to eventually overhaul your site.

Web experts have varying opinions on how often you should revamp your website. If you’ve been keeping your website continually updated then you probably don’t need a major overhaul, and your content should CONSTANTLY be updating, but generally speaking, you should plan on redoing key parts of your site every two- three years to make sure that it’s got the latest user preferences and features up-to-date programming to keep your site running at optimal speeds.

Tweak it or Trash it

flat-1298035_640There’s a lot that goes on with a website behind the scenes. The programming employed by a site can influence its effectiveness in today’s marketplace. The question is whether you could, or should, try to adapt your existing site for current standards or develop a whole new site.

To decide which course to take, you should first assess your current site. You actually already have a focus group that can give you an honest critique of your current website – your clients. This approach takes little time, but even a short conversation with a client can help you gain a wealth of insight into your site’s effectiveness. They can tell you if your site meets their needs and what it may be lacking.

You’ll also want to look at your bounce rate – the number of people visiting your site without clicking on any links. A high bounce rate means your site is lacking something. A website consultant can help you narrow down the reason people don’t click through the links on your site. They’ll also be able to assess your website’s software to determine if it meets current standards.

Speed is also a really important thing on your website not only for consumers but search engines as well. Not sure if you’re site is up to par? Check out this little handy Google tool that will test the speed of your site for both mobile and desktop users: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

More than a Website

In today’s online environment, you don’t just need a website, you need a web presence. That means you need content on other sites on the Internet besides your own site. A key element for reaching more people is to include a blog section on your website.

A blog page allows you to consistently add new content on your site which can improve your search engine ranking by increasing the number of keywords on your site. For instance, a dentist may want to blog discussing sedation dentistry. If someone searches for the term “benefits of sedation dentistry,” the dentist has a greater likelihood of placing higher on the search engine results page.

Your blogs may also be featured on other websites creating what are known as backlinks to your site. Backlinks are another way search engines rank sites. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are also important tools to increase the reach of your website. You can use these tools to direct people to a recent blog you’ve posted or a new service you offer.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

So what’s your biggest hurdle in creating an effective site? Is it the time involved to consistently update your website? Perhaps you feel you don’t have the expertise to assess your site’s current effectiveness. Do you have the financial resources to fix any issues with your site?

Whether you decide to upgrade your site or start from scratch, you may still want to consult with Internet marketing experts. They can perform triage on your website and give you an expert assessment on the best course of action, because now more than ever, your business depends on it.

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