Is it time to upgrade your web site?

Paul Boag

How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your web site? Should you expect to have to upgrade your site regularly? This article gives you the answers.

How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your web site? You may be receiving recommendations to improve your site only months after it was initially launched. Can you really be expected to invest more money in your site so soon? The answer is probably not. However, it is important to understand that your web site is not a static entity that rarely changes. Like the Internet itself, your site should constantly expand and develop.

Why should I upgrade?

So why do I believe that your web site should be constantly developing? Surely once you have put your message out there that should be enough. Unfortunately things don’t work that way on the web.

Because brand loyalty is a thing of the past.

Unfortunately the very nature of the Internet is fast paced evolution. With millions of websites only a click away, the stakes are constantly being raised and somebody is always doing it bigger and better. Users are constantly expecting more and brand loyalty is a thing of the past. You constantly have to work to ensure your customers don’t click from you to your competition.

Because your site will appear neglected.

New possibilities on the web are emerging so rapidly that it is easy for your site to look out of date. Although it is not possible to keep up with every new innovation, you do need to keep up with the main trends. If you don’t, your site can appear to lack investment and that reflects badly on the perception of your company.

Because users behaviour changes

One of the consequences of the Internet being such a new medium is that users are still coming to grips with it. The way they navigate, read and interact with web sites is adapting to enable more efficient browsing. Users have come to anticipate navigation being found in a certain place. They have also grown to scan pages instead of reading them and to filter out unnecessary information such as advertising. It is important that your site takes into account these changing trends.

To ensure compatibility

Unfortunately a lot of mistakes were made in the early days of the web. A lot of web sites were developed without anticipating the rapid changes in technology. As a result the technologies employed were not always the best ones for the long term. In order to ensure that your web site can grow in the future it is necessary to upgrade now rather than later.

When to upgrade

So when do you upgrade? Below I provide a list of questions that should give you an indication of whether now is the time. If you find that the answer to many of these questions is yes then its probably time for you to improve your site.

  • Does your competition have functionality and features that you don’t have?
  • Does the design of your site look dated when compared to others?
  • Does your site fail to show new product lines or still feature out of date products?
  • Has your business model changed so that the content on your site is not relevant in many places?
  • Are users not staying on your site as long as they used to?
  • Are your visitors leaving after only a few pages?
  • Are the hits on your site failing because you are seeing less repeat traffic?
  • Are you seeing a drop in leads, contacts or sales through your web site?

Will I always be upgrading?

It can begin to feel like you are constantly making changes and improving your web site and to some extent that is how it should be at the moment. The Internet is still in its early stages and your web site has probably only been around a few years. People are still learning how best to use the web and the technology is still evolving.

However, it won’t be like this forever. As with any golden age, from the Industrial Revolution to the Renaissance, things will eventually slow down and equilibrium will be reached. Standards will be established and technology will develop less rapidly. Already many lessons have been learned and a longer term approach is being adopted.