It’s been a cold, cold winter, and we know you can’t wait for temperatures to start rising. Warmer weather means longer days and sunnier afternoons, but before you can get there, you’ll probably be doing a little spring cleaning. As you do away with the dust that’s accumulated in the corners of your office throughout the snowy season, be sure not to neglect the virtual dirt that can clog up your marketing strategies.
In this chapter of our spring–cleaning series, we’re discussing how to refresh your website development process. Here are a few things you should do to prepare your site for the coming season:
1. Make Sure Your Software is Up-to-Date
Nothing spells trouble like outdated software.
For a lot of companies, sticking with familiar layouts and systems is something that appears to make processes more seamless. Change requires people having to endure a learning curve, which can create inefficiencies. But what’s more inefficient than a company that can’t operate because its systems are no longer supported or have been hacked?
When you put it that way, it makes a lot more sense. It’s important to keep your systems up-to-date for many reasons. Obsolete software creates substantial vulnerabilities for your company and customers both in terms of security and simple day-to-day usability.
We’ve all heard stories about hackers and data breaches in the past few years. Unsupported software is not only harmful to your internal systems, but it also poses risks to your customers and the reputation of your business. Software that’s supported with ongoing security updates, on the other hand, enables you to:
- Stay apprised of the latest security threats
- Strengthen the barrier between your business and those who might try to steal confidential information
- Prevent harmful malware and viruses from crippling your systems
Updates ensure that critical security patches are applied. Usually, enhanced features are also rolled out with software updates, as bugs are discovered, reported, and addressed by the software development team.
Technology is ever-changing, as are the skills of hackers. Staying ahead of security issues needs to be an essential part of your company’s strategy for success.
2. Optimize Your Site’s Speed
There are few things more frustrating than a web page that takes forever to load.
If your website speed isn’t optimized, you could be sending people away before they can even learn about your services. Slow load times aren’t just annoying; they cost your company money and potential new customers.
- Slow Websites Create a Bad User Experience – People don’t have the time or patience to wait for your site to load. Several seconds can feel like an eternity for your potential customer, which is a deterrent. Long load times will drive your audience away and into the arms of your competitors. People who leave are also less likely to visit your website again.
- Bad for SEO – You need to stay on Google’s good side. As of July 2018, slow load times became a penalty factor on mobile sites. This added to the 2010 release that affected the rankings of desktop sites that don’t have optimal load times. Search engines don’t want to advertise a slow website to their user-base. They want to provide their users with websites that have answers to the question(s) being asked – and can provide those answers in a timely manner. In other words, having a slow website increases the risks associated with lower placement on search engine result pages or SERPs.
So, how fast is fast enough? Optimal loading speeds are under 400 milliseconds per page (literally, the blink of an eye). If your load times are slow enough to be perceptible by the human eye, 25% of your visitors will disappear before the four-second mark arrives.
The bottom line: the quicker your pages load, the more likely you are to keep visitors and search engines engaged.
3. Scan Your Site for Visible Errors
Links that go to pages that no longer exist – or worse, redirect people to malicious 3rd party websites that try to steal personal data from your customers – aren’t going to gain your brand any good faith. Error pages, or 404s, occur when there is a link to a web page that doesn’t exist. In most cases, it’s a page that has been removed; other times, there may be an error in the URL that directed the visitor incorrectly. Checking for broken links is an important part of your development spring cleaning strategy.
Be sure to also scan your website for other messy problems, such as unintended malware, redirect loops, broken functionality, and incorrect page formatting. While you’re at it, take some time to use debugging tools to ensure your site isn’t doing anything goofy when you’re not looking.
Tidy Up with a Team
Zero Gravity Marketing is here to help with your development spring cleaning. If you need help maintaining your website or are looking for a website development company, we’ve got you covered. Contact our development experts today to get started.