It's Time for "The Talk" About Your Website

We've been building websites for a long time. A. Really. Long. Time. Before most people reading this had an AOL account, we were building websites. Since our company started in 2001, that means a lot of businesses and organizations have come to us for their first, second or even third website revisions.

But there's a handful of you who haven't updated your site technology since 2011 (or earlier), and now it's time to have "the talk". Sometimes we call this the "come-to-Jesus" talk, because it's about providing a real epiphany about what your website should be doing for your business.

Your website is not a static item like a business card or flyer that you create once and forget about. Your website is an interactive medium that works best when it grows with your business. Unlike business cards or flyers, your website can pivot in an instant to meet the needs of your business, audience or market. That is a fantastic and unique feature that you can't get from other kinds of marketing, and is an asset to your organization. Smart companies leverage this to ensure that their website grows their business and meets the needs of their customers and prospects whenever and wherever they need them. You should be one of those smart companies.

But if your website is more 'seasoned', that can be a challenge. Prior to 2011, sites were built with a varying array of technologies, but most sites were not what is referred to today as 'responsive'. Responsive sites have a design that varies appearance on different devices (like smartphones and tablets) to customize the user experience. From adjustable menus to varied image sizes, responsive sites provide a user experience that is tailored to how the site visitor will consume the data.

EXAMPLE OF RESPONSIVE DESIGN
An example of a NASA website using responsive design. Image courtesy of ResponsiveDesign.is

You might think "that's fine for NASA, but my customers aren't that sophisticated". But if your customers use smart phones, then really, they are. 

And if you care about SEO, starting in April of 2015 Google began to remove sites from mobile search results that are not mobile-responsive. That means that sites like yours, that do not provide a version for mobile devices, will be removed from the search results on mobile devices. If you're a local business, that could be catastrophic. Since most people search for local businesses on their mobile phones, there is a high likelihood that you will no longer show up in their search results soon (if it hasn't started happening already).

And that social media thing, well, social media is also now a very important component to an online presence. Where Facebook may seem like a "fun" thing or a "nice to have", when it comes to search results, social media is a very VERY important component to the game. Being on the right social channels, being available and visibile to your customers, being present on a regular basis... these are all vital components to running a successful company today. It's no longer optional... not if you want to be competitive.

Listen, we are thrilled to know that YOU are still happy with your site after so much time. But YOU are not your customers. If your site isn't responsive, it's time for you to consider an upgrade. The evolutionary changes in the Internet industry happen very quickly, and anything more than 6 months old is considered "out of date"... so looking back 4 or more years makes your site very challenging to work with, and likely unable to meet the needs of your customers and prospects. 

The prospect of investing in a website project again may not your preferred budgetary expenditure, especially if you still like your site. But the reality is that to be competitive in today's markets, there isn't really another option. You need to have a responsive site, and the sooner you make the leap, the better off your business will be for it.