For many online businesses, their website is their bread and butter. This is why it is essential that you take full advantage of modern technology and UX best practices to give your online store a competitive edge. On the web, businesses rise and fall with breakneck speed. Competition is steep and it is easy to fall by the wayside. Keeping your site with the times isn’t just for aesthetics. It is a key factor in the long-term success of your online store.
Without further ado here are the 5 reasons your old outdated website is hurting your business:
1. Lack of Credibility
When it comes to E-Commerce the most important conversion factor is trust. If your site’s design looks like it came from the early 2000s or even worse the 90s many customers are going to assume the worst and click on that back button fast.
Other red flags that will scare customers away include:
- Grammar & Spelling Errors
- Intrusive Ads & Popups
- Incomplete Product Pages
- Buggy/Difficult Checkout Process
- Inconsistent or Absence of Quality Content and Branding
Online customers are skittish for good reason. Shopping online is risky business thanks to phishing scams, credit card fraud, viruses, identity theft, and data breaches. Your customers don’t want to entrust their credit card info and address with just any online store.
That’s why on the web, first impressions matter. There are no second chances. Once they click that back button, they’re gone.
Modernize your site’s design, comb through your content, and make sure that there are no grammar or spelling errors. Take a long hard look at your customer’s overall experience on the site. Can they easily find the service/product they are looking for? Is your checkout process simple and to the point? Does it offer enough payment options?
On the web content is king and that includes E-Commerce stores. Your goal should be clarity. The services and/or products that you offer should be front and center. Make sure to include all the information your customers need to make an educated purchase.
The key to establishing credibility is quality. Fortunately for us, most online scammers tend to be lazy and won’t put the work into making high-quality scam sites, so it is easy to differentiate your store from theirs with a bit of elbow grease.
2. Limited Functionality
If you leave your site to gather figurative dust year after year, your competitors will be taking full advantage of the best customer experience, inventory, and product management that current technology has to offer, while your E-Commerce store stagnates.
Over long enough periods of time compatibility will also become an issue which will make it harder to add new features to your site. Sometimes if a site hasn’t been updated for too long your best option will be to rebuild it from scratch. Much in the same way that an ill-maintained car would eventually cost more to fix than to replace.
Productivity takes a hit too when the backend of your site is difficult to use, edit, and maintain. Software developers are perpetually coming up with nifty ways to automate your online business and if your site isn’t up to date your business’s productivity could be taking a major hit. Updating your E-Commerce site could potentially save 100s of hours by automating inventory & order management, customer emails, data collection, and more.
Depending on the state of your site, a couple of updates and software additions will be all you need to be on the cutting side of the cutting edge. If your site is so out of date that most of the software you need is incompatible it’s time to rebuild from scratch.
This is hands down one of the most important reasons to keep your site up to date. Bad actors are looking for loopholes & exploits so that they can use your website for their own profit. This is especially important for E-Commerce websites because your customer’s data is also at risk.
When it comes to websites there is a never-ending cold war with cybercriminals. If your site is not up to date you are missing out on important security patches that will significantly decrease the odds of your site getting hacked. The damage to your business’s reputation and the cost of repairing the damage caused by the hack can be inordinately expensive. When it comes to security, the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds true.
At Webaholics we use WordPress, but the general principle of keeping your CMS up to date holds true. For WordPress sites using the most recent version of WordPress, keeping all of your themes and plugins up to date is essential. If you have a plugin on your site that hasn’t been updated by its developer for 6 months it is time to replace that plugin. Leaving outdated software on your site is the equivalent of leaving your front door open for any old burglar to walk on in.
Older sites or quite frankly poorly developed ones are often not fully responsive. Roughly half of the web traffic is from mobile phones. If your site is not fully responsive and functional on mobile you are missing out on half of the traffic to your site!
Take a long hard look at your website on your phone. Test purchase one of your products all the way through the checkout. Does it work? Is it easy to do? Can customers easily browse your online store on their phone? If the answer is no to any of those questions it’s time to update your site.
5. It’s Broken
Well, the problem with this is rather self-explanatory. The difference between a site that just needs a couple of tweaks and bug fixes and one that needs a total overhaul is a matter of degree. The longer your site goes unfixed the more likely problems will snowball over time until a site rebuild may be the only viable solution. If your site gets to the point where it is practically unusable your customers will be shopping elsewhere.
If your company is big enough it often makes sense to have a person on staff to maintain your site and fix bugs as soon as they are found. For small to medium-sized online businesses it often makes more sense to outsource site maintenance to a web design agency. Many web design agencies will offer maintenance plans for an affordable monthly budget, so you can rest easy knowing that small bugs are being fixed before they become big problems for your business.