It’s important to keep a website up to date to keep it relevant to the search engines and website visitors. As search engines crawl websites, new content (new files, updated date and time stamps and revised file sizes) prompt the search engine robots to re-index the site’s web pages and this in turn can bolster the search engine ranking positions for the site’s pages . Furthermore, as technology changes website aesthetics go out of style (think digital jean jackets).

Even businesses that are actively involved in online marketing and frequently updating their website eventually need a complete rework. These projects end up being great experiences for the web designers and clients. CeSI recently had the pleasure of working with Federal Way Custom Jewelers to rework their site.

The company is a locally owned custom jeweler that has been serving the Puget Sound for over 55 years. Back when their old website was implemented, the average computer monitor was significantly smaller and narrower. Originally, with much narrower screens (800 pixels wide) the bright purple background occupied much less of the screen and was hence a more subtle background. Modern screens however are widescreen displays. Even small laptops are 15 inch wide screens that can be 1600 pixels wide and desktop monitors can go upwards of 24 inches. On these newer displays the page content remained the same narrow width and the purple background filled the remaining space. As a result visitors to the old site design that had modern monitors were blasted with a purple background because it took up most of their screen. This rather literal eyesore became a problem. The jeweler’s image was intended to convey elegance, class and taste. Unfortunately a wall of bright purple did not accomplish this.

Today their site is completely different. First, the content has been widened to fill modern wide screens. Another improvement was done to the background; they chose a tasteful and more subdued background pattern. Now visitors can focus on the main content. Another thing that was done was applying a bit of a marketing touch to the site. The old site gave the visitors the option to find their own way throughout the site. Today their site is designed to draw visitors to the content that creates revenue. This was done by adding a call to action to each page. Their old site hoped that someone seeing their site would lead them to visit the store. The new version of the site has an appointment form that allows customers to interact with Federal Way Custom Jewelers directly through the website. The result of all these improvements is they now have a site that looks classy and drives sales.

Thinking of how your website could use a face lift? Below are six tips to keep your business website up to date.

  1. Widen the content frame
    Take a page out of Federal Way Custom Jeweler’s book and widen your website content. Screens are getting wider. If your site is designed for monitors that are only 800 pixels wide it might be time to upgrade. Not only does wider content have a newer look, but it allows you to get more page content above the fold.
  2. STOP YELLING
    Flashing red and neon banners do not get anyone to buy anything. The only thing this does is get visitors to close the window faster. Avoid using stop colors. Don’t use all caps. You can draw attention to important aspects of your site with brighter versions of your theme colors and proper link/button placement. The same goes for sounds and videos. If it bothers you on other websites, don’t put it on yours.
  3. Drive Sales
    If you created your website with the intention of making money, you need to remember to keep this the focus. This concept can get lost sometimes. Each page should have the focus of driving sales. If you don’t have this focus already, try adding a call to action to every page. This means that if you sell widgets on your site, you should link to the widget catalog from every page. Use action verbs in this call to action such as “buy” or “purchase”. Try to make the homepage focus on selling those widgets too. Think of it like a virtual billboard. You wouldn’t pay for a billboard that didn’t try to sell.
  4. Add content regularly
    Your website shouldn’t stay completely static. You want to provide reasons for people and search engines to visit and revisit your site. Make sure to keep contact information and any products current. A great tool for keeping websites current is a blog. Try adding a new blog post every few days. Fresh blog content keeps people and search engines coming back to your site. You can even get traffic for new keywords if you include those in your post content and titles.
  5. Check Browser Compatibility
    Internet protocol is constantly updating. If you can’t remember what year you last updated your website design, then it’s a good time to consider this. Taking your site out of tables, an old website build strategy, moving JavaScript or style from the code to separate files, cleaning up the code and verifying that the code is up to international web standards will help improve page load speed and help search engines get right to the content of your page. You can update the site’s code and keep your design or you can update the code and go for a modern look. Updating your website’s code doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. CeSI will often do this for new clients that find their code to be an obstacle.

If you’ve thought your company’s website could lose a few cobwebs consider these tips. These are easy ways to dramatically improve your site. After all, it is a lot easier to change your website than it is to throw away your favorite jean jacket (really, they are perfectly acceptable as pants, why not jackets?).