With the recent growth in social media and mobile devices over the past number of years, traditional websites may seem passé and maybe even a bit quaint and antiquated. But for most businesses they remain their primary online presence.
Given that, a modern, well designed, easy-to-use and easy-to-manage website is critical to establishing and maintaining a strong brand for both commercial and non-commercial entities. Unfortunately, however, many websites don’t serve their intended purposes as well as they could or should, especially if they have been around a long time.
With the advances that have been made in web design tools (especially content management systems) in the past few years, it’s hard to justify having a site that looks like it was built in 2004 – or worse yet, 1994. Even a site with a 2009 or more recent vintage is probably due for an upgrade.
Lately it seems website upgrades are on a lot of people’s minds. Here's a link to a page that gives you "10 Signs Your Website Needs an Update" and why you need that update. Or this one "25 reasons your website needs an upgrade".
- It's not Mobile Optimised
- Still uses Flash technology
- You're not being found on Search Engines
- Your Bounce Rate is off the charts
- Your website design is 'so 2009'
- You lose visitors because the site is slow
- Site Navigation means there is no 'flow' within your site pages.
- You can't edit your own site
- You're afraid to share your website
Website Upgrades: What you need to know
- Depending on the way your site was created and how long ago, it may not need to be fully rebuilt from scratch. On the other hand it 'MAY' need to be rebuilt from scratch. We can advise on whether or not this might be required.
- If one of your goals is to have the site maintained (at least in part) by people without strong technical skills, you can very likely do this yourself or with one of your team, by having your site rebuilt using a Content Management System - either Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal. With WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, there are countless free and low-cost themes and plugins available that will enable you to create the functionality you need/want.
- Responsive design is a must. Most businesses don’t need a mobile app, and they don’t need to create mobile versions of their websites. If you use responsive design, the site should work on a range of devices and environments.
- Once your site has been upgraded/rebuilt, ou should stay current with different versions of the underlying software - you may need ongoing support to do this, we will advise you of ongoing costs/requirements associated with any new site upgrade.
- Maximum browser compatibility
- Clear navigation options, with menu capabilities in both the header and footer
- Social network integration - are your Facebook, Twitter, Google + links all included.
A new Content Management System will allow you to make your own editing changes with a simple username and password login. Some training may be required for you to do this yourself.
Once you’ve completed the initial upgrade you may find that it’s good to have elements that enable you to expand and further enhance your web presence. Extra features can be included by the use of plugins or modules. Many of these are free but some of the better ones do incur a small charge.
Miniwebs can act as your development partner and guide. Unless you have a web developer on staff, you’re likely to outsource much of your work and maintenance. The more complex your site is, and the more you want to do with it, the more important it is to treat the upgrade as an investment rather than an expense. That means your priority should be to DIR (Do It Right) rather than DIC (Do It Cheap). Remember that your online presence is at least as important – and in many cases, more important – than your physical presence, so treat it with the respect it deserves.