First impressions matter, especially on the internet. 

The average user spends less than one minute on your website – and takes only a second to form an opinion about whether they like it (and, therefore, your company) or not. 

That means your potential customers are deciding whether they should stay on your page or leave it for a competitor’s site in the time it takes to blink. 

Luckily, we have lots of tips for how to stop your users from closing that tab, and it starts with keeping your site updated in terms of looks and functionality. Snap judgments may be based largely on a website’s aesthetic appeal, but for people to linger, your web page needs to be easy to use and accessible. 

As we speed toward 2022, it’s time to start considering if your website is doing everything it can for your brand — or if it’s driving people away from your most valuable content. 

Here are five reasons to update your website in the coming year: 

Accessibility 

According to ADA Title III, every business website has to be accessible to people with disabilities, or your company could be at risk of lawsuits and unnecessary legal expenses. 

But what does accessibility really mean? 

Web accessibility is a set of rules, behaviors, code standards, and design guidelines that ensure persons with disabilities can effectively use websites. It’s easy for a non-disabled person to browse the web: they can easily use a mouse or trackpad to navigate, see the screen, hear the videos, and navigate the menus. 

Business owners, web designers, and developers  have a responsibility to make sure persons with disabilities — which compose approximately 20% of the world’s population — can also access content on the internet. 

At Wingard, we partner with AccessiBe, an AI automated system that makes it quick and affordable to ensure your website is 100% ADA compliant. This WordPress-friendly accessibility solution can achieve full compliance within 48 hours and provides 24/7 automatic maintenance after installation. 

We consider it a “set it and forget it” solution – and a valuable one that could save you from the threat of legal action for non-compliance. 

Responsiveness  

Nearly 85% of adults think a company’s website should be as good or better when viewed on a mobile device versus its desktop website. 

Why? Because the majority of users now come to your site using their smartphone. 

To keep up with mobile users, all websites should be built using a responsive design, which automatically adjusts based on the device from which it’s being viewed. For ecommerce sites, this feature is even more important – you don’t want to lose potential customers because they can’t easily read your product descriptions or add items to their carts!

If that wasn’t enough, Google wants your site to be mobile-friendly. By optimizing your website for all devices and screen sizes, SEO tactics will be more effective, and your site will rank higher in search results.

Want to know if your site is responsive? Check it out using Google Search Console’s Mobile-Friendly Test feature

Easy to Use

Long gone are the days when simply having any online presence was enough. The majority of users on the internet are extremely tech savvy and expect to find a great user experience on any site they visit. You need to make it easy for potential customers to find the information and content they are looking for quickly. 

Nearly half of all users expect your site to have a loading time between two to six seconds. In fact, slow loading speed is one of the main reasons visitors abandon a website. 

For a user-friendly website, we recommend: 

  • Scannable content (think headlines, subheads, and bullet points)
  • Simple, easy-to-understand navigation 
  • Logical sitemap structure
  • No-nonsense page names
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Style consistency 
  • Minimal pop-ups or other distractions

If you’re curious about your site’s current speed, Google offers a free tool to help you analyze your website. 

Search Engine Optimization 

SEO continues to evolve, which is why a solid strategy is essential to improve your website’s organic ranking on Google. 

SEO strategies typically fall into three different categories: on-page, technical, and off-site optimization. With a website update, our team of designers, developers, and copywriters will address each area of SEO to ensure your website draws high-quality, organic traffic. 

However, for some quick tips you can implement today, we suggest:

  • Write for humans, not the Google Search Engine
  • Consistently publish unique content
  • Use social media to your advantage
    • Add share buttons to your posts
    • Always share your content on your social channels
    • Encourage your followers to share your posts! 

Need an outside perspective? Our team can audit the on-page, technical, and off-site SEO for your website and let you know what’s working (and, just as importantly, what’s not).

We can also work with you to create and implement an SEO strategy that will grow your traffic through content marketing and link-building. 

In the meantime, use our tool to get a free site audit to see how your SEO is performing. 

Branding

Has your website been updated since its creation? Or maybe you’ve started using a new logo or brand messaging since your site launched, but you aren’t sure what should happen next. 

It’s time to consider a website update. 

Ideally, your website should reflect who you are as a company and a team. Consistency is key in marketing – and your brand should be the same, regardless of whether it’s on your website, your social channels, or printed on brochures and flyers. 

When there’s a disconnect, it is hard for potential customers to recognize your brand – and even harder to keep them on your website. Split messaging and branding can be confusing for those who are already familiar with your brand, and for clients landing on your page for the first time. 

Is it time for a website upgrade?

It’s never too early to start thinking about website improvements for the coming year. If you are interested in updating your site or speaking with a Wingardian about how we can improve your site’s design and functionality in 2022 (or earlier), let us know how we can help over here at our Contact page