Do You Need to Update Your Website? Jessica Lunk Your #1 sales rep may not be who you think. In fact, 9 out of 10 people will do online research long before coming into a sales conversation with you, making your website a key tool in your sales and marketing process. Is your website as effective as it can be in helping you to capture the attention of new business? Is it mobile responsive? Can you make quick content updates? Can you capture new leads from your site? If your online presence is just a digital version of your printed marketing material, you’re missing the boat. Static websites with content that never changes are offending to search engines as well as visitors to your site. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean that your website has to look amateur. An updated site with clean design is a reassuring sign to your prospects and customers that there’s great energy and activity behind your online calling card. Outsource Web Design When you’re ready to make the move to a new website, you can outsource the work to an agency or web developer. While this route is more of an investment, there are major benefits to your business: You’ll benefit from professional design that is inline with the latest trends. Your site will adhere to the more technical aspects of web design, like site structure, cross-browser compatibility, mobile responsiveness and search engine visibility. When you outsource development, you can also outsource ongoing technical support. So, when a new Google update comes out, or when WordPress releases a new version, or if you were to get hacked, you have a tech team on call who can take the issue off of your plate. Outsourcing web design is the least pain-free way to go. But it’s not the only way… DIY We know that you’re super ambitious because you struck out on your own to start your own business. So maybe you also want complete control over building your website…more power to you! If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can tackle a new website on your own. Here are two paths you can take: Take a Templated Approach with a Website Builder You can create a website for your business without any coding experience or web design knowledge. Tools like Squarespace, Wix and Weebly let you customize pre-built templates to build your own website design. The benefit of taking a templated, drag & drop approach to your web design is a shorter learning curve. However, you may lose some of the design flexibility you’d get if you outsourced web design or built your site using an open source platform… Build on an Open Source Platform If you’re technically inclined, an open source content management platform like WordPress is a more powerful option for customizing your website design. The drawback to a DIY website through WordPress, however, is that there’s a fairly steep learning curve compared to a tool like Squarespace. WordPress is free to install on your web domain, and has an infinite library of help articles and forums you can address for support. There are a ton of WordPress templates available, both free and paid, so you don’t have to build a site from scratch, but can customize a template to suit your needs. A DIY site is definitely not the way to go for everyone, but it’s a great option if you love a challenge, enjoy piecing together a puzzle, and are an ace at problem solving. Doubts? Maybe you’re hesitant to invest in a new website because your business is built on highly personal relationships. But you can bet that no matter how solid your relationship is with a prospect or customer, they’ll be checking out your website before they decide to do business with you or refer you to a friend. There’s nothing worse than clicking on one of the top sites in the search results only to be directed to a site that looks like it hasn’t been touched in years, or even still has dummy text where there should be relevant copy. The beauty of a clean website design that you can update it with new information on the fly, making you look professional and at the top of your game no matter how small your business. Don’t repel potential business with an outdated site. Take time to revisit and invest in your website and create a better online experience for your prospects and customers.