It’s hard to run a business and stay on top of everything.
But you know deep down that your website has been gathering a little dust. It’s waiting for you somewhere on the Internet at a host whose name you can’t remember off the top of your head.
So how do you know if it’s worth the time and effort to update it now?
This Business Owner Checklist will help you decide. It includes 8 Simple Ways to tell if your website is old. All you need is about 10 minutes to complete it.
- Simply grab a cup of coffee and a notepad, and of course, you will have to visit your website on a computer.
- You will add a checkmark to your notepad for every item that your website fails to meet.
Ready? Let’s begin.
Old Website Checklist for Business Owners
(1) Page Titles
Let’s go to your website right now. Bring it up in a web browser and look up at the very top of the screen. You should be able to see the Page Title of your home page. If you use Chrome or Firefox, then the Title is in the upper left corner of the browser. (You may not see the whole title tag here.)
Every web page should have a title tag. Page titles give a web page some context. Page titles tells a web robot, such as Google’s search spider, what a web page is all about. Search engines will display them as clickable hyperlinks on their search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s how many website visitors will reach your website.
Now click on a link in your website and go to another page. Do your Page Titles all look the same? Do they use a default title such as “Untitled Document”?
If the page titles are all the same or are not very descriptive, please add a checkmark to your checklist.
(2) Your Copyright Date
Now go to the bottom of one of your web pages and look at the copyright date. Is the year listed there up-to-date? If not, please add another check mark to your list. Having an old copyright date is an indicator that your website has old content. Your visitors want to know that your website has trustworthy and up-to-date information. An outdated copyright date is the first thing that will cause your visitors to lose their trust in you.
(3) Page Speed
When you loaded your website in a browser, how long did it take to see the whole page? Was there a noticeable waiting period? If so, search engines, such as Google, and your visitors will not be impressed. The days of slow-loading and cumbersome websites are gone. Your visitors want to be able to navigate around your website quickly and easily.
Check your page speed: Google’s Page Speed Insights.
Did you get poor results? If so, add another checkmark to your list.
(4) Mobile Devices
Next let’s discuss mobile devices. Is your website easy to read on a mobile device such as an iPad or an iPhone?
Browsing the internet is no longer an activity confined to desktop computers. Your website needs to be mobile-friendly. You don’t want to create a bad mobile experience for these customers. You can’t ignore them anymore.
Do smartphone and iPad users have to squint or pinch and zoom with their fingers to try to read the text? If mobile users can’t read your content without zooming in, you’ll have to add another checkmark to your list.
How many checks have you added so far? Are they adding up?
(5) SSL Certificate
An SSL is a digital file that establishes a secure connection between a web browser and a site server. In the past, it was recommended for eCommerce sites and web pages where sensitive information would be shared. But, nowadays all websites need to have an SSL certificate. When you visit a website with an SSL certificate, the URL starts with “https://” instead of “http://” and you will see a LOCK icon.
(6) Navigation Buttons
When it comes to website navigation buttons, the trend is towards bigger, sometimes round, navigation buttons. Mobile users “touch” and “tap” screens instead of using a computer mouse to click on links. So web designers are moving towards bigger buttons to make “touching” and “tapping” easier.
Do you have any website button links on your website? Can you imagine tapping them with your finger to get to another page or are they too small? Bigger is better these days.
(7) Contact Forms
We have two topics left. The first one is all about Contact Forms. Nowadays, contact forms are found in most websites. If you have a modern website, your web designer probably used HTML5 to code your contact form page and CSS3 to code the cascading style sheet.
If you’ve never heard of HTML5 or CSS3, it’s okay. But your web designer should be using both of them.
- With the help of HTML5 and CSS3, stylish contact forms can be designed.
- HTML5 contact forms are fun to fill in and submit. It’s all about great user experience.
- One of the best features of HTML5 forms is that they can be validated using a modern web browser’s built-in form validation.
What is form validation? Form validation helps guide visitors, alerting them to what information they need to include in the form fields so they don’t fill in a bunch of useless information or leave an important field blank.
A web browser will display a “hint” to a visitor who has left a field empty in the contact form. Thanks to HTML5, online forms are getting a whole lot better.
Does the Contact Form on your company’s website provide helpful hints to your visitors as they go along? If not, please add another checkmark.
(8) Google and Other Search Engines
#8 is probably the most important topic in this list. Think for a moment. What phrases (2 to 3 words words) come to mind when you think of your business? Would you expect visitors to put these phrases into a Google or Microsoft Bing search box when they try to find a site like yours? Great.
Take a few of those keyword phrases and go to Google. If you put them in the search box, what results do you get? Can you find your website in the list of results?
Is your business nowhere to be found or worse yet, you find all your competitors in the list instead? That’s really bad news. If visitors can’t find your website in a search engine, it needs major SEO work.
Please add 3 checks to your checklist if you fail to show up in the search engines.
Now add up your checkmarks. What is your total?
0 = your website is in great shape.
1 to 3 = your website is in good shape.
4 to 6 = your website needs a redesign.7
7 to 9 = your website redesign is a priority.
10 = get on the phone today and call a web designer.
Hope you had fun with this tutorial and learned something new about your website. If you decide to meet with a web designer and they mention mobile devices, SSLs or HTML5, you’ll know you’re talking to someone who is keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in web design.
You’re on your way to a better website.