Keeping your business website up-to-date is important to preserve potential customers’ perception of your business.  Out-of-date website = outdated services (in their subconscious).

The regular tasks are things like ensuring the links all still work – that’s basic housekeeping, but there’s more to a website than being functional on a basic level.

First – it has to look good

When a new visitor lands, do they think “This looks smart,” or “Hmmm, it’s a bit dated, I wonder what their service is like?” 

Websites go through trends.  In the early days  it was all left-hand menus and long copy, then it was banner images and more white space, then it moved on to centralised columns and hamburger menus – and that’s just the major evolution, there are subtle changes in fashion year by year.  So which era is your website reflecting?

Second – it has to be easy to understand

Your website is not the place for cryptic copy.  Clear headlines that tell people what they get is essential.  Given the reduced attention span the average visitor has in comparison with even 10 years ago, you need to get your message across FAST.

Don’t expect people to make an effort to find things out for themselves, if it’s not served up front and centre, they’ll be off to something ‘easier’ that doesn’t strain the brain.

Third – it has to be easy to navigate

The latest ‘fashion’ is for long home pages that allow the user to scroll down (or use the menu to jump down) covering all the key subjects the website offers.  Yes, the home page serves as an ‘index’ with easy access to specific parts of the website, but infinite scrolling pages aren’t always serving you – or your visitor – best.

  • Too many different subjects on a page and you’re shooting your SEO in the foot.
  • Some people won’t make the effort to scroll down to find what they’re looking for and will just go if they can’t see it.
  • Long pages can take longer to load, especially if they have lots of images. Slower loading can dislodge impatient visitors!
  • If someone is looking for specific items and scrolls past them, it can be hard for them to refind those later – especially if they’ve left the site and come back. They can’t bookmark how far down the page they were.
  • What about if someone wants to get to the footer for contact info or T&Cs (yes, some people do actually read them) – and they’re on a page with infinite scrolling?  They’ll never find it.

There are places where infinite scrolling works – social media, forums, product lists, etc., and people using a smartphone love being able to just scroll on down – until they can’t carry out a function they want! 

Most business – brochure-style – websites need separate pages for dedicated products or services, which are optimised for that key word or phrase and turn up in search relevant results.

People want a small amount of written information, some useful images to help get the message across and an easy to follow call to action.

Ask a few people who may be potential customers to do a simple usability test – ask them to carry out three or four tasks and ask them how easy it was.  This might be to find out how to buy a particular product, to book an appointment, or to find contact details (phone/address?).

It will help you to tweak your website and ensure you’re keeping the majority of the people who visit your site.