Revamping a website can be an expensive and time consuming project. So how do you know that your site is due for a change, and more importantly, how do you justify the resources? If you nod and admit to any of the following statements, the time is overdue:

  1. Many of your customers don’t know you have a website. Well, if your customers don’t know you have a website, it’s not working for you. Customers will return to helpful websites. They’ll be more likely to remember your brand when they need to buy more product, get something serviced, or tackle a new project. Having a resource-packed website is just as important as having good customer service representatives. Remember, repeat customers cost less to cultivate and new customers.
  2. More than a few customers can’t find the information they are looking for. If your customer service and sales reps are hearing this complaint from multiple customers, it’s time to take action.Organizing company information so that it is easily accessible is not an easy task, especially if your company has multiple product lines. Unfortunately, your customers want to find what they are looking for quickly. Force them to work too hard and they’ll buy for the item somewhere else.
  3. Your sales staff doesn’t use the site as a resource. If your sales staff doesn’t use your site, you have a major problem. A good website acts not only like a company catalog, it should be a well worn resource. If your sales rep is given a question he or she can’t answer, he should be able to quickly look it up. Better yet, if he can locate the answer on the website with the customer looking over his shoulder, you’ve solved two problems. The rep is better informed and the customer knows where he can find answers quickly. In addition, a customer is more likely to buy from experts in the field. Let your website highlight your company’s expertise.
  4. Your site doesn’t appear on the first page of a Google search for your most important keywords. If search engines don’t pull up links to your website within the first page of results for your top keywords, potential customers won’t find you. They’ll go to your competitors instead. Reaching the top three results may be difficult in a competitive market with multiple suppliers, but there are steps you can take to make your company more visible. Don’t use fierce competition as your excuse to do nothing. Accept the challenge.
  5. Your site hasn’t been updated since the former CEO’s grandson created the site in 1996. If you just cringed and admitted to something similar to this statement, you are not alone. Sad fact but true, many companies ignore their websites — create it once and done. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but I’ve worked for companies where the CEO and other top managers never looked at the company website. It wasn’t on their radar due to the high pile of priorities placed before them. Hey, if it’s working, don’t fix it, right? WRONG! Often a company’s website is the first source of contact with a potential customer. First impressions are important. You wouldn’t send a salesman out without dressing for the part. Your website needs to be appropriately “dressed,” too.
  6. An automatic WordPress update takes your site down like a sweaty pro wrestler in a championship grudge match.  This is bound to happen at some point. Most times it is caused when a WordPress plugin or template is no longer compatible with the new WordPress operating system. When this happens to you, take a deep breath, try not to break anything and then take a serious look at your template.  Was the design still working for you or were you putting off a needed renovation?  Before switching templates, remember to make copies of your text and make a blueprint of what you need on various pages.

So, how did your website score? Did it pass muster? If so, good for you! Keep up the good work. I’ll have more tests, tips, and suggested resources for you in the coming months. If your site didn’t pass one or more tests, don’t despair. There are many things you can do to improve. Some can be done on a small budget with some dedicated time. Others will consume more resources; however, the return on your investment will be worth the cost.

Next, we will discuss things to think about and to decide before your company embarks on an ambitious website renovation.

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