Is it time for a website refresh?

By on 08/18/2021

In a world where life moves faster than ever, it can be easy to get left behind. You buy a new computer, and a better one comes out the next day. Technology is changing all the time, especially when it comes to the Internet.

If you want to reach your customers, you need a website that performs. Today’s clientele has everything they could ever want at their fingertips. We order our favorite products or book travel at the click of a button from computers, tablets and phones.

So what does this mean for your business?

At Black Bear Design, we’re equipped to take your digital presence to the next level.

We sat down with Marc Hathorn, Director of IT & Web Development, to get the scoop on the latest in web functionality.

“A lot of times I see websites come across my desk that need to be redesigned,” he explains. “Sometimes it’s easy to tell. They need it because they’re old, plug-ins are outdated or there are conflicts with themes.”

If your theme isn’t supported anymore, suddenly you can’t make updates to clean up your site, and you can get stuck.

“You get to a critical point where your website will actually crash,” Marc says. “And once that happens, there’s nothing you can do.”

But there is something you can do to prevent it, and we happen to know a thing or two about that. For a website refresh, focus on the following.

Update your software and theme.

If your website starts running slow, or certain functions like slideshows or widgets stop working, you might want to think about a refresh. This could be as simple as updating a single plug-in, but as often as WordPress updates these days, general maintenance is key.

Prune your plug-ins.

The fewer, the better. Stick to 20 or less, and you won’t have to spend countless unnecessary hours turning off one at a time to diagnose a problem.

Make it mobile-friendly.

If your clients can’t easily access your site on their phones, you need a redesign. Half of the people searching online won’t look at anything else.

Keep up with the competition.

“If your competitors have great-looking websites, and yours looks like it’s from 1992, you’re not going to do well,” Marc says.

This is true both for design and function. Make sure you’re providing a great user experience with clear calls to action and the functionality your customers are looking for.

Your site should appear new and updated, but you don’t have to incorporate flashy videos or live chats just because that’s what everyone else is doing. Identify what works best for your target audience, and stay on top of Google’s algorithm requirements for higher SEO rankings so you don’t miss out on traffic or leads.

Check your content.

Your copy should be short and to the point. Most readers will gloss over a huge block of text, so keep your paragraphs brief, and break them up with headlines to help people find the tidbit they’re looking for.

For SEO purposes, make sure you’re hitting the key words that help your customers find you on the web. Consider ADA compliance by ensuring your content is readable with current software. Live text is good for SEO, but image files with text on them should be avoided because they can’t be read by screen readers and don’t help your website SEO.

Simplify your navigation.

Help your customers get where they want to go by maintaining a simple navigation with limited sub-menus and trimming down the number of pages on your site.

In the end, sometimes it’s easier to build a new website than to try and restructure. Whether you need a quick refresh or a total overhaul, our team at Black Bear is here to help.

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