Chapter Corner

Does Your Website Have a "Warning Label" on It?

Posted in: May/June 2017

When it comes to online marketing, one of the most common mistakes we see businesses making is having an
outdated website. Having a website that doesn’t meet modern day standards is an easy way to deter visitors and a sure way to ruin your standing on Google.
 
We understand that not every business has the resources to consistently keep their website up to date – be
that a lack of time or lack of HTML expertise. Therefore, our web experts at Market Hardware put together a short checklist to help you make sure  your website isn't falling behind.
 
1. Double check that your contact information is correct - total 'duh,' right?
This one is easy. Go to your website and find all the email addresses and phone numbers on there. Are all of these still in use and actively checked? It's amazing how many businesses list an email address on their site that causes an error when someone tries to email it, or is never checked by anyone at the business.
Consider setting up an email forward for addresses like ‘info@yourdomain.com.’ Having email forwards set up is a great way to make sure you aren’t missing any communication coming from your website.
 
As for phone numbers, many businesses set up separate phone lines to track marketing efforts. This is a useful tactic but can prove detrimental if one of those lines is deactivated and your website isn’t updated to reflect it.
 
2. Keep your licenses and accreditations up to date
Picture this scenario: A potential customer visits your site and sees a list of your licenses. However, they don’t see a license number for the service they are looking for, even though you were recently certified. They leave your website and hire a competitor, all because your website hasn’t been updated to show recent licenses and certifications.
 
It’s always wise to list accreditations and certifications on your site, and it’s important to keep them up to date. If one no longer applies, remove it from your site. While it may seem worthwhile to continue to list them, it’s simply not worth the risk of appearing dishonest.
 
3. Does your website display ‘smartly’ on a smartphone?
Looking for a way to turn customers away from your website? Make sure that your site is difficult to read on a phone! Your customers will look elsewhere before you know it.

All jokes aside, this is a bit of a more complex update than the first two items on this list, but it’s incredibly important. Current estimates show that over 50% of website traffic comes from smartphones as opposed to computers. Whether you set up a separate, mobile version of your site, or build a responsive site, a mobile presence is a necessity.

And, Google is more focused than ever on prioritizing sites that are ‘mobile-friendly,’ so if your site doesn’t receive that designation, then you’re giving your competitors a leg up in search rankings.
 
Maintaining a consistent and current web presence may seem like a daunting task, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Depending on how much time and resources are available to you, stick to the basics and work your way up from there. Take some time after reading this to evaluate your website on each of these three items, and call your website provider as soon as possible if you need to fix any of them. Your success depends on it.
 
Alain Parcan, director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc., contributed this article. Alain brings nearly 10 years of experience in educating businesses so they can market themselves more effectively. Market Hardware helps small businesses compete on the Web and offers special discounts for professional association members. You can reach Alain’s team at (888) 381-6925.