You may be noticing marketing and business news websites summarizing the trends of 2019. More proactive sites have already started offering their predictions for 2020. This stems from the fact that each year brings new changes and developments. Consumer behaviors change in response to new technology while also driving that technology. This makes website updates almost necessary for businesses to keep up.
No matter what kind of company you own, there are key trends that affect your industry each year. These may range from local laws to demographic changes. For example, as millennials take over the market and Gen Zs gradually enter it, you now have to contend with the internet generation. They are a lot pickier and more demanding than their predecessors when it comes to tech and website usability.
Because of this, business owners who stay ahead of market changes should already have a website upgrade as a New Years resolution. Before you get ready to cross this off your to-do list, consider how to update strategically and the benefits of doing so.
The Importance of Regular Website Updates
The internet generation isn’t the only reason that upgrading your website is important. Updates keep your website secure. It also aligns your website with new SEO developments and keeps customers happy.
1. Secures Your Website
Forbes estimates that small businesses are the victim in 58% of malware attacks. To target businesses, hackers sometimes disguise phishing emails as email delivery failure notices or even bills. Websites may also get hijacked and held for ransom. These and other types of cybercrimes cost businesses an estimated $3 trillion overall by 2015. Website updates help to identify and patch vulnerabilities that often allow these instances to happen. Still, the first vulnerability to tackle is an outdated password.
2. Updates the Look
If you built your brand on a retro look, the idea of going contemporary with your design may rub you the wrong way. However, with old themes come old designs that are often slower and take longer to load. The right professionals can show you how to strike a balance. This way, your site can function like a well-greased 2020 machine, even if it looks like a 1980s invention. Remember to consider how website changes affect the overall branding, such as the look of business cards and brochures. Keep it consistent.
3. Provides New Content
Has your website been proudly celebrating its 10th anniversary for the last four years? This is one of the many mistakes companies miss when they neglect website updates. Failure to revise your website, especially when it comes to products and services, may cause confusion and even claims of false advertising. In addition to this, creating new content provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate your SEO strategy.
4. Reduces Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate tells you how many people visit your website, look at one page and then hit the exit button. This may indicate several problems online, all of which you can fix with website upgrades. Some common potential problems include slow load times, ineffective calls to action and complex navigation setups. Note that high bounce rates affect your SEO and conversion rates over time.
2020 Trends To Consider for Website Updates
Some trends last a few months and quickly get forgotten. Others may last a few years and experience the same fate. The trends you need to pay attention to are the ones that reflect a long-term movement in a particular direction. Use these to inform your strategic website upgrade decisions.
1. Landing Search Position Zero
Marketers and SEO specialists spent the past few years vying for the top three positions in search results. There’s a result that ranks even higher than this now. Forbes calls it SERP position zero. This is a featured excerpt of text that appears above all other search results. Google even provides a link to the source of the text.
2. More Video Content
Content is still king, but relying on written content alone may hold your business back. People watch more than 500 million hours of YouTube videos every day. Videos also trump text when it comes to retaining the original message at 95% to just 10%. To add to this, in 2018, millennials became the first generation to watch more online videos than traditional TV content. Believe it or not, marketers speculate that Gen Z will overtake them. Website updates must consider how the platform handles audiovisual content.
3. Natural Language Processing
For years, businesses have tried to find ways to incorporate keywords into webpages that match the way people type them in. This often negatively affects readability. The need for this will reduce over time due to machines’ growing ability to understand naturally spoken languages. This translates into people asking Alexa and Google Home questions in full sentences to get a response. Your website content needs to reflect this.
4. Consumer Privacy Laws
In 2018, the GDPR came into effect in the European Union. In 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act comes into effect to bring California up to EU standards. New York is also working on its own privacy laws, which promises even stricter guidelines than the previous two. These form legislative responses to a growing problem. Technology doesn’t just open businesses up to cyber-attacks. People and their data become vulnerable too.
Your 2020 Checklist for Website Updates
The right checklist looks at the potential benefits you stand to get from a website upgrade as well as important trends. While not every item on the checklist may apply to your business, it’s still a good place to start.
1. Security Vulnerabilities
If you do nothing else to your website for 2020, remember to update the security measures. If you decide not to do this, you could put your business and your customers at risk. Entrepreneur.com provides five specific tasks website admins should add to their checklist for 2020:
- Update all your software and add-ons.
- Install a web application firewall.
- Activate SSL encryption.
- Use a strong password.
- Back up your data.
- Activate SSL encryption.
2. Consider Analytical Data
Even if you didn’t invest in thousands of dollars’ worth of software, you have analytical data at your fingertips. Start with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Analytics tells you about your audience. The console shows you how your website performs when it comes to SEO. Use this data to inform your decisions about website updates.
3. Check Out the Competition
Copying your competitor earns you no cool points with your customers or Google. Still, you won’t know how competitive your website is until you see what everyone else is up to. Some of your competitors will debut their upgrades early, often in time for Black Friday or Christmas sales. Note the functionalities they improved upon or added. Consider if you need to do the same or better.
4. Review the Landing Pages
If you don’t plan to do an in-depth review of your website content for the new year, then at least take a look at your landing pages. These webpages allow you to customize your message to different subsets of your target demographic for various reasons. Website updates should include ensuring the landing pages in use are up to date and have an effective call to action.
5. Ensure Everything Works
Sometimes an overhaul becomes so focused on adding new bells and whistles to the website that it neglects old functionality. Do all the main parts of the website still work? Did you remove pages you linked to in other parts of the website? Are your social media widgets still properly synced? Do the videos work? Did any of the images you linked to disappear?
Hire the Right Partner
The sad truth is that you could create the best possible checklist for website updates and still miss the mark. The good news is that hiring an award-winning SEO company can change that. At Boostability, we handle everything from awesome website add-ons to blazing-fast mobile website designs. Request your free website analysis today to get the ball rolling.