As business owners and operators, sometimes we find that we’re so busy running the day-to-day operations of our business that we forget about one of the most important aspects of business 101 – our corporate image.  Even though it’s not in the forefront of your mind, your website if being scanned and viewed by people on a daily basis and sometimes to us, it’s out of site and therefore out of mind.

But as we all know, first impressions count and your business website is usually the very first thing people see when researching your company to determine whether or not they want to engage or even inquire about doing business with you.

So the big question remains – Is your website out-of-date?  To answer this, I’ve complied a 6-point list of key indicators that any small business owner should look at when determining the answer to this question – in no particular order.

#1. Does your website look like it came out of the 90’s?  This may sound like a facetious question, but I can’t tell you how many times as a small business owner I have come across a site, when researching for a particular product or service I need, that appears as though the business I landed on is stuck back in the stone age of the web world. And when I see that I start to ask myself questions about whether or not this business is in tune with current trends and/or technology in their own industry and that doesn’t leave me with a good first impression.

#2. Is it easy to update the content of your site?  Having an easy-to-use website editor can make a big difference when it comes to updating your website and keeping it fresh.  If you have a website that requires you going to a web developer every time you need to make a change, then not only is it out-dated but it’s costing you money, not to mention the time it takes.

#3. Is your site still using Flash?  Up until Apple decided not to support flash on its mobile devices back in the mid 2000’s, having a flash site with a website editor built in was the “Cadillac” of web design and a real boost to your corporate image with the implementation of slick animation and smooth navigation.  Unfortunately, Apple has a huge influence on technology these days, and when they stopped supporting it, Adobe – who developed flash, eventually conceded and decided to slowly phase it out.  And although all desktop web browsers still support flash, only some touch screen mobile devices can handle it, and no Apple mobile devices will display a site made in flash.

#4. Is your site mobile friendly?  As we all know, the number of people browsing the web on their mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, continues to increase every year, so having a site that is mobile friendly is important now more than ever.  Without that, you are losing out considerably to a wide potential audience.  There are two solutions to this, you can either have a separate mobile site designed in conjunction with your main site to make it mobile friendly, or you can switch to the newer option of having a site that is designed to be responsive.  There are pros and cons to each, but basically a mobile site will be a completely separate website that is geared toward being compatible with the smaller screens found on smart phones, and responsive sites simply scale your existing site design to fit onto any mobile device (as well as desktop screens).

#5. Does your site utilize and properly integrate social media?  Over the last several years social media has become ever more important when it comes to keeping in touch with your clients and establishing your online presence and brand.  There are a variety of buttons and icons available that will allow for Like’s, Follow’s, Share’s, and Link’s as well as social media feeds that can now all be integrated into a site to help encourage communication with your clients and promote your social media pages.  If your current site does not have these, you are losing out on this valuable resource.

#6. Is your content and imagery out-of-date?  If you take a look at newer site designs these days, the presentation of content has really changed.  Pictures are worth a thousand words – and this applies to new sites as there is a considerable focus on larger, more scaled up imagery and icons.  Gone are the days of page after page of long drawn out paragraphs of text.  Today, the focus is more on presentation and while it’s important to have lot of relevant info on your site for both clients and SEO, how it is organized is just as important.  Keeping your text and images up-to-date and relevant are an important factor in maintaining your corporate image as one that is in tune with the times and within your own industry.  Adding a blog to your site is also a great way to add informative content that not only Google likes to see, but your clients can read once they’ve gone over the shorter, more to the point, sales related content on your site.

To Sum It Up

So if you find that some or all of these items are lacking on your small business website, then maybe it’s time to consider a refresh.  Web technology is constantly changing, and a site that was cutting edge 5 years ago is likely needing an update to keep up with today’s web viewing trends.  Think of it like a smart phone, the one you bought 5 years ago was the cat’s meow, but technology changes, and so now that phone is slow and old news.  That being said, I’m not saying you need to upgrade your site every six months like the smart phones that come out on the market, but at some point it becomes time to retire old Betsy when she just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Your corporate image is a sales tool that needs to be updated and kept alive in order to keep it relevant, effective, and a means to help grow your business.