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Why do some businesses not update their websites regularly?

Why do some businesses not update their websites regularly?

Many businesses have been up and running for a while now but one question that often crosses my mind is “Why don’t businesses update their websites regularly?  Why does their website feel ignored and forgotten?”  I am frequently reminded of this when faced with old, outdated sites that are filled with out-of-date content and broken links or are not mobile-friendly.

So putting pen to paper, I wrote a long list of reasons why I considered people may hate updating their sites (and by default neglecting the rest of their online presence).  I have gathered together what I hope are some interesting thoughts to give you a bit of a nudge in the right (or even different) direction if you know you are procrastinating on this very subject.

All businesses are having to make changes at the moment so this is absolutely the right time for you to have a look at your online presence and see what it says about your company.  This is also a perfect opportunity to review your general digital admin and ensure that all essential information is kept in one place.

Why do businesses not regularly update their websites? What are the Solutions?

Problem: No one in the business looks after the website – no one is interested, it’s not one person’s responsibility, it’s an addon to a job description, not integral.  No one has the inclination or technical know-how to update it. Out of sight, out of mind?

Solution: Is it time to nominate someone and make it their responsibility?  If you are a small business and, by default, this person is you, why not block out a regular period in their diary to review everything?

Problem: In a small business you are trying to do it all and the website updates get pushed to the bottom of the pile.  If you ignore it, you hope that it might go away.

Solution: Could this be outsourced or could you co-ordinate regularly with your designer?

Problem: Businesses don’t think of a website as an ongoing cost.  They think that once they’ve paid to create it, that’s it. They have not allowed an expense contingency in their budgeting to update the site regularly and they find it difficult to reconcile the value of doing this. They can’t see the harm an outdated site is doing to their business and how it makes them look.

Solution: Time to add a website update and maintenance to your company’s budgeting?

Problem: Not seeing the value in updating their website.  All that a business sees is an invoice, not the fact that their website content is current and reflects their business.  As they don’t regularly update their site, they don’t see the value of a good website and then don’t see the damage of a bad website.

Solution: Time to change their mindset and also spend some time studying Google Analytics?

Problem: Not looking at the longer-term picture. Why not? Because updating your website costs money and it’s easy to take the short-term gains and kick the website updates down the road even if this will affect business later on.  Time to rethink priorities?

Solution: Are you as a business focussing on short-term income rather than long-term investment?

Website Check List - Is your Information Up to Date?

To start your review, I’d first of all check the following:

Domain Name – who owns your domain name and where is it registered?  What are the login details and password? When is it renewed and how is it paid for?

Hosting Company – this is where your website is hosted (on their servers). What are the login details and who has access to this?

SSL – Does your website have an SSL certificate?  If you haven’t looked at your site for a while, it may be that you haven’t added one.  You can tell if you do have one by looking at your domain name in your browser and if there’s a locked padlock icon next to it, you do.  If you don’t it says “not secure”.  This is very prominent when someone is looking at your website on a mobile – probably not the message you want to send!

User-Experience – take some time to have a look at your website through the eyes of a new customer.  Can you find easily what you’re looking for and can you find the answers to those frequently asked questions?  Is your site too wordy, are there too many boring stock photos that haven’t been optimised ie, they are slowing the site down?

Up to Date – Is your site mobile-friendly as well?  Is the content up to date or is it starting to look like a forgotten, dusty old showroom?

A New Way of Working with your Website Designer?

Problem: When they designed the original site the Designer didn’t try to understand the business and this made it a painful process.  The resultant website didn’t then reflect the business and wasn’t fit for purpose.  The business is reluctant to spend further money and repeat this process.

Solution: It’s going to take a leap of faith to try again but before you engage a new designer, try and really get to know them – do they “get” your business, where you’re going and what you’re trying to achieve?  Are you on the same wavelength? Do they listen to you patiently and explain without jargon?

Problem: In website design, there can sometimes be too much jargon, it’s not easy to understand and can sometimes be difficult to make updates to the website which is why this is ignored.

Solution: Could you ask your designer for a couple of hours of tuition or some short Loom videos to explain how things work?

Problem: Sometimes designers finish the project and then “disappear”. 

Solution: You never know if this is going to happen but good practice is to get all the login and relevant information at the end of the project.

Problem:  As a designer is often freelance, they are often not viewed as integral to or part of the business.  Once the site has been designed and signed off, that is the end of the relationship. Why’s this and how can this be resolved in the future?  Has the time come to review how you work with your web designer? 

Solution: Would you have a better online presence if your web designer had more of a collaborative presence within your business?  How about both of you keeping in touch, regularly meeting (by Zoom at the moment) to update them on what’s happening?  You can discuss together how this can be reflected online and they can, for example, show you insights into how visitors are using your site which may differ from how you think people are viewing it!

Online & Digital Platforms - What Should You Know?

Whilst we are on the subject of updating your website, I though it would be a good idea to expand to your other digital platforms – it’s definitely worth doing an admin audit of them too!

Logins – Now is a good time to audit who has login access to your social media accounts, Facebook Business Manager and Google Ads Account.  How many ex-employees are still on that list or more alarmingly do you only have one person able to login to your various social media platforms and digital advertising? What would happen if you were logged out and do you have accessible recovery emails on your accounts?

Online Platforms – which social media platforms are you on?  Do you need to be on all of them or should you concentrate on the one where the majority of your customers are (and manage that one really well) and deactivate the others?

Google My Business – is this up to date.  Are your opening times correct?  Who has access to this? How often do they check it’s accurate and do they reply to reviews that you receive?

Biographies and Company Information –  are these current on your social media platforms?

Opening Times – are these correct on your social media and Google My Business?

And Finally ... A Photographic Review - Have an honest look!

Images – why not have a review of the images you’re posted and those on your website.  Are they in focus, straight and cropped nicely? Are they all the same size and shape?

Social Media Feeds – still photograph related …  are images or graphics being repeated on your grid or feed. Are they the correct size/ratio? What does your Instagram grid look like?  Try and aim to post something different each time otherwise it can quickly look spammy and messy.

Graphics – if you have some time, why not try out something like Canva.  They offer a basic free version so you can have a go making something more interesting for your social media feeds.

Linkedin – how’s your header image looking like on your LinkedIn profile.  If you’re still using the generic one and don’t know how to add a new header, then drop me a line and I can create something simple for you to add to your page!

Phone Camera – now’s the time to really try out the phone on your camera and see just how creative you can be.  Trying editing, cropping and filtering your photos and see how you can grow your portfolio.  Go and take photos and enjoy what you usually rush by!

Why do some businesses ignore their outdated websites?

Is there anything digital you'd like to ask about?

If you’d like to dicuss anything further, then why not get in touch and we can have a chat.

Google Analytics – I’m confused. Where do I Start?

Google Analytics – I’m confused. Where do I Start?

Data – one of my favourite subjects (but not loved by all)!  I know many people shy away from data analysis but as I keep reiterating, there’s no point creating lots of amazing content and fantastic blogs if you don’t know if anyone is looking at them, what’s working, what’s not working and which are the popular pages on your site..
There is so much information in a Google Analytics account so I have picked five basic metrics to start which over time will provide an interesting overview of your website (and e-commerce business).  When you login to your account, the first thing to do is to decide the time period you’d like to cover and adjust that accordingly (top right hand side of the screen). If you are more confident in Google Analytics, then how about creating a customised dashboard to keep all the regular data streams that are important to you in one spot?  This can be shared with others so they are kept fully informed and up to date.  If you just want to keep it simple then choose the metrics that are important to your business and keep a simple spreadsheet regularly updated.

Desktop, Tablet or Mobile?

How are the majority of visitors to your website viewing it?  If many are looking via a mobile then what does your website look like on that platform?  Is it mobile-friendly and are the images optimised so they are not slowing the site speed by taking ages to download?  If you have an e-commerce business and the majority of your customers are trying to buy via mobile or tablet – what’s their user experience like?

Google Analytics Menu: Audience / Mobile / Overview

Landing & Popular Pages

Have a look to see where your visitors are arriving at your site.  Which products are they really interested in and which blogs are being read. Which are your most popular pages?  Equally, have a look to see what the bounce rate is for each page.  It may be the most viewed page but it may have the highest bounce rate.

Google Analytics Menu: Behaviour / Site Content / Landing Pages

Exit Pages

Whilst looking at the bounce rate, it’s also really worth seeing on which pages your visitors are leaving your site.  Why do you think this is?  Have they found what they were looking for, say contact details, or did they get bored of not finding what they wanted and disappeared off to another site?  Does your navigation menu need amending?  Have you lost sight of why people are visiting your site?

Google Analytics Menu: Behaviour / Site Content / Exit Pages

Where are your Visitors coming from?

Find out how visitors are discovering your business through the source/medium option on the menu. Then, if you scroll down a little bit further under Search Console you can then see which searches are sending visitors to your site.  Do these match your keywords? 

Google Analytics Menu: Aquisition / All Traffic / Source/Medium

Demographics

Where are the people from who are looking at your site?  If many of them live on the other side of the world and you are a very local business then something isn’t’ right. You can even see which city people looking at your site are from – fascinating!

If your business is in a particularly competitive field or you need to expand your brand awareness, then this might be the time to have a think about your SEO, trying Google or Facebook Ads and even updating your Google My Business page to try and stimulate your local, relevant customers.

Google Analytics Menu: Audience / Geo / Location

I’m not sure where to start with my Google Analytics account?

Would you like to find out more about what we do?

If you’d like to dicuss anything further, then why not get in touch and we can have a chat.

Do I really need to be on Google My Business?

Do I really need to be on Google My Business?

It’s a noisy world out there on the internet and your fledgeling business may be struggling to be heard.  Whereas once upon a time all you needed was your website, and voilà, now you need to maximise your exposure in an increasingly overcrowded place.  Google My Business (GMB) makes your business more visible and easier to find

Google My Business can often be overlooked but it could be a good option for your business.  Whilst not everyone wants to publicise their company, for example when they work from home, for those who have an office or premises it is an excellent option.

How to set up Google My Business

Set up an account with Google and then head over to www.google.com/business to start filling out the information – what your company does, how to contact you, opening times and then add your logo and a few great photos.  In order to finish your profile, Google will need to verify that your business is where you say it is.  If you choose the postcard option, it will arrive in a couple of days and once verified you will go live.  Your business won’t be top of the search list straight away but at least you are out there now!

Helping your customers find you online

GMB is also very helpful when people are searching for a service “… near me” – as you will come up in the results.  If you’re not on GMB it will be your competitors that show up.

Keeping your business information up to date

GMB comes into its own on a mobile in the way it provides information to help your customers.  It shows your location (and provides directions) on a map, your telephone number (call option), when your busy times are and it provides a link to your website.   As well as providing normal opening and closing times you can also add holiday opening hours when necessary which will save someone a trip if you’re closed on a Bank Holiday.

Photographs

Often people will view your business on GMB before your website so make sure you have some really good quality photos to showcase … and keep them updated.

Reviews - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

One of the main features of GMB is that customers can leave reviews for you.  For Good Reviews, engage with your customers and thank them for taking the time to leave a review.

Then there are the Bad Reviews and you really need to think about how you are going to deal with these before they come in.  If it is a genuine complaint, acknowledge it, be polite and then try and take it offline to sort out any issues.  Don’t let it become heated or angry.

However, the other bad reviews occasionally come from trolls who have never been near your business and for one reason or another think they are being clever or smart by leaving a one-star review or some unpleasant comment.  To begin with, you can try and report this to Google but most of these “troll” reviews don’t breach their guidelines so Google won’t take them down.  If you can’t get the review removed, then politely call the troll out and ask for further clarification/facts but don’t get into a heated exchange with them – they’re looking for attention. 

Whilst it is incredibly frustrating and annoying that someone feels they can review your business unfairly or maliciously when you have worked so hard, most people looking at GMB can clearly see through this sort of negative behaviour.  Why not be proactive and ask your customers to leave a review for you.  Soon the negative one will be outnumbered.

It’s often a struggle to be heard amongst the clamouring noise of the internet.

Still have questions about Google My Business?

If you’d like to dicuss anything further, then why not get in touch and we can have a chat.