Guest blogger: Guy Dilger
Regular Website Updates are Important for Brand Strategy and Google Ranking
By Guy Dilger, VP of Product and Marketing, Plain Green, LLC
In our digital-first world, websites are usually the first impression of an organization’s brand and introduction to a business’s products and services. Websites are a critical element of sales and marketing strategies. eCommerce Foundation reports 88 percent of consumers will research product information before they make a purchase online or at a retailer. In addition, B2B ecommerce sales are expected to outgrow B2C ecommerce sales by 2020, according to Ecommerce Platforms. With rapidly evolving technologies, new communications preferences and security threats popping up frequently, scheduling website updates should be routine for business operations. Reviewing and upgrading websites ensures organizations keep up with the latest design trends and security protocols. Here are the benefits of regular website updates:
Guard Against Hacking
Keeping your website software up-to-date will protect the site, your emails and other vulnerable assets from malicious hackers. Website content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, must keep up with advancing technologies. Website hosting companies must also be reviewed consistently.
Website Audits Allow Fine-Tuning of Content and Copy
With only seconds to capture visitors’ attention, your website must engage and convert quickly. In addition to eye-catching graphics, the keywords and headlines must pique interest for visitors to learn more. Regular website audits allow you to identify opportunities to refresh copy with trending topics, add testimonials and spotlight a customer challenge that you can solve.
Enhance Analytics and Calls to Action
Scheduling regular website audits opens the door to review analytics, as well as develop and strengthen calls to action. With Google Analytics you can learn what visitors are clicking on, and review page visits and length of visits. In addition, there are tools such as heat mapping, conversion tracking and user recordings to determine which sections of the site need improvement.
Monitor Bounce Rates
Even if your marketing strategy and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are performing well, bringing traffic to the website is ineffective if visitors leave immediately. People leave websites if the content and overall look and feel of the sites doesn’t meet their expectations. A high bounce rate means you’re losing leads and prospective customers. Bounce rates for business to business websites should be under 60 percent, according to Hinge Marketing, while business to consumer websites should be under 54 percent. Visitors should see something interesting when they land on your site. Post videos and infographics or offer a valuable piece of information to download, such as a checklist, how-to guide or answers to frequently asked questions.
Usability for Mobile Devices
Adoption of new technology also impacts website design. For example, the mandate to keep important information at the top of the website, or “above the fold,” is no longer required. With the dominance of mobile devices, visitors prefer to use their fingers to scroll down. Navigation has also shifted toward a preference for horizontal navigation. Visitors now look for a hamburger menu, the small icon consisting of three horizontal lines, to navigate websites. For smaller screens, a vertical menu is used with enough space between each item to accommodate finger tapping.
Lessen Loading Times
High speed internet connections and wi-fi access are now commonplace, and people have less patience for slow website loading times. In fact, Google is rewarding sites that load faster with better search result placement. Your website’s load times are impacted by image sizes, optimization of your website’s file system, page caching and your web hosting account. Businesses with many local clients who generate a lot of website traffic should avoid shared web hosting. Discuss options for speeding up your website with your web developer and designer.
Add Cool Apps and Integrations
By including new apps, plug-ins and integrations, you will immediately modernize your website. With new tools being developed regularly, consider adding apps that enhance communications and productivity and make your customers’ lives easier. Add an element of surprise and entertainment that will inspire people to revisit your website.
Voice search technology is impacting online searches. Optimize your content for voice search results by creating an FAQ page and embedding longtail keywords in your questions and responses. Include filler words, such as prepositions and conjunctions to make your content more conversational.
Brafton Marketing recommends “re-optimizing” existing blog posts and website content, because you retain your current web address structure and your page’s already-earned link equity and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) positioning. Re-optimizing means updating data with new stats; refreshing graphic images and expanding subtopics to improve the information on the page. Brafton advises B2B brands to consider long-form content, such as in-depth articles, guides and lists. These formats can be continuously re-optimized over time, because they typically need only minor adjustments to show up higher in SERPs.
Scheduling Website Update
Monthly website audits are recommended on security, SEO and content updates. These timely updates will assure the information is accurate and the website is a safe place for visitors to provide their contact information securely.
An annual website audit is usually sufficient to review usability, refreshing designs and other technology upgrades. Since websites are integral to branding, marketing and sales, regular updates will not only enhance your Google ranking, but help you reach your business goals.
Guy Dilger Vice President of Product and Marketing,
Plain Green Loans
With more than 12 years of experience designing groundbreaking marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and financial technology brands, Guy Dilger is known for generating engaging content and compelling concepts that resonate with targeted consumers. Prior to Plain Green, Dilger held senior positions within fintech and retail spaces, where he managed national marketing campaigns and customer-centric loyalty initiatives for Sears and Kmart. Previously, he was part of the management team at Limited Brands, where his marketing work in support of the Express brand included CRM, email, web-based programs and the redesign and relaunch of a private label credit card. Dilger has an MBA, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics, from Southern Methodist University.