Recently, an advertising agency in Toronto launched a new website that is so insipidly stupid…that it’s brilliant. It not-so-subtly parodies what has become the standard for agency websites with a cheesy ‘mocku-site’ that calls out the agency world for all of the cringe-worthy self promotion, meaningless jargon and awkward leadership bios that have come to define many of our websites. It’s surprisingly entertaining and beyond clever, and if you promise to come back and read the rest of this post, here’s the link for you to check it out.
The site is funny because it resonates, and if we’re honest, we might have laughed just a bit too hard in some spots, wondering if we recognized any piece of ourselves in the tongue-in-cheek romp.
There’s a valuable lesson in there for companies in any industry, though: it’s important to take a look at your website from a visitor’s perspective from time to time, and make sure that your online presence represents your brand in real-life. And we’re not just talking about assessing your cheese-factor—while reviewing the content is definitely a good start, when was the last time you evaluated your website’s overall design and functionality?
How can you tell that it might be time for a?
In 2014, internet usage on mobile devices surpassed desktop usage, which means more people are visiting your website via their smartphone or tablet than their computer. A mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice option—it’s a necessity. You need users to have the same experience regardless of how they are reaching you. We humans are an impatient, demanding bunch, present company included, and if we’re not seeing what we want to see as quickly as we’d like to see it, we’re bouncing. Guilty as charged.
And if driving users away isn’t bad enough, here’s some more bad news. When it comes to search results, Google now penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly. It makes sense–Google wants users to keep searching on Google, so given the choice, the search engine is going to serve up the results that it knows will provide the best experience.
2. It screams 2009.
If a click on your homepage treats the visitor to a rousing version of the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Boom Boom Pow’, it’s safe to say your site is dated.
Technology is growing more complex almost by the day, and in order to stay relevant, a company’s website needs to keep up with the changing times. Maybe your website used to produce a steady stream of traffic and qualified leads, but what has it done for you lately?
If your web analytics are showing a high bounce rate, decreased time spent on your site and fewer page views per visit, you can assume that your site is not living up to your visitors’ expectations.
There are several culprits that could be to blame:
- Has your business evolved but your website stayed the same?
- Does the content truly represent your current brand message?
- Are you missing key functionality (search box, contact form) or features (well-organized architecture, updatable blog)?
- Is your site too difficult to navigate quickly?
3. No one can find you.
If your website’s search engine rankings are low, your content (or lack of it) could be to blame. Back in the day, the key to successful SEO was packing your content with as many keywords as it could handle. But Google has matured a bit, so now, instead of searching solely for the magic words, it’s able to account for context. What does that mean for your website? If you’re not providing original, high-quality content—like a blog—on your site, it’s probably getting lost in the sauce.
4. You’re being held hostage by a developer.
If your website is static because updating it requires a decade’s worth of top-secret, highly-specialized training, it’s (past) time to take a look at the back-end functionality. Updating your site’s content regularly is mandatory, and adopting a good content management system (CMS) can be life-altering. Suddenly almost anyone with a password and a dream can add fresh content, post blogs and upload engaging images or videos to your site.
5. You avoid giving out your URL.
The biggest sign that a website makeover should be in your future? It’s that deer-in-headlights feeling you get when your doorbell rings unexpectedly and your house is looking less-than-tidy. If you find yourself feeling that way when someone requests your URL, you know that something’s gotta give.
Your website is often the front door to your business, and a strong online presence is not optional. If yours isn’t mobile- and SEO-friendly, current with fresh content, functionality and a modern CMS, it might be time to give us a call.