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What can you do when you discover that your website has become outdated and that it is lagging behind modern technology, thus limiting its performance and appearance? If your site traffic has dwindled to the point that you feel like you’re home alone, while everyone else is attending the Saturday night dance, your website is definitely under-performing.

If you have the resources, you can certainly engage the services of a website design and development company, but if you just don’t have the money for that, there are some alternatives that will accomplish nearly the same thing. Here are a few recommendations about how to spend your limited budget to improve your site’s performance, make it more visually appealing, and upgrade its all-around performance.

  1. Check your website’s speed
  2. Optimize and review your most popular content 
  3. Add updated images
  4. Improve your CTAs 
  5. Add in testimonials
  6. Update your Fonts and Color Pallet
  7. Include a web chat feature

 

1. Check your websites speed 

One of the factors which can have a huge impact on attracting or discouraging visitors to your website is the speed at which your site pages load. Internet users are not generally patient individuals, and when they encounter a site whose pages take a while to load, chances are they’ll abandon that site in favor of one which loads faster. With so many high-performing sites available, there’s no reason for them to stick with a site that takes forever to present pages. If your site is slow to display pages, you are likely missing out on tons of traffic that you once might have enjoyed.

Not only that, but when visitors don’t stay on your website for long, or “bounce” that will negatively impact your search rankings as well. 

That makes it important for you to check the speed of your site, and there are a number of ways you can do that. One free tool is called GTMetrix, which uses PageSpeed and YSlow to analyze the performance of each page on your website and provide very detailed reports on areas that are not up to snuff. There are other similar tools which you can use for free to establish a baseline on your website speed, so you can determine which areas need improvement.

If you do need to speed up your website, here are a couple of things you can do that will make a big impact: 

  • Reduce image size – The biggest culprit for slow loading on many websites is large images because the data transfer rate for large images is simply not as efficient as for smaller ones. There are some things you can do to reduce image sizes however, so you can still use the same images on your site, but have them displayed much more quickly. Image compression tools can be purchased or used on a no-charge basis, to compress your image files into sizes which allow them to be transferred and displayed much more quickly. You’ll also be allowed to select the quality of the images to be displayed to your Internet readers and site visitors.
  • Leverage browser caching – Did you ever notice that coming home from a road trip feels like it takes way less time than when you drove out to your destination?  Your brain can only process so much info at a time, so when it’s seen something once, it will store the old info to make room for the new. Browser caching is a little like that, because it instructs a browser to store various parts of a web page locally, so they can be retrieved much more quickly the next time around. That next retrieval may come during the next page of your website, or for the next visitor to your site, but in any case, it allows for certain components to be displayed much more quickly, because they don’t have to be fetched anew from their source. This amounts to an economy of data retrieval, and it can be significant enough to make a major difference in loading speed.

 

2. Optimize and review your most popular content 

Starting with your most popular content, (which you can find in Google Analytics) you should review and optimize each of those posts so they will continue to perform well and perhaps attract even more visitors. Since SEO practices change as often as Google and other search engines update their search algorithms, you should be reviewing and optimizing almost as often, so you can stay aware of any changes that may impact your content rankings.

When you’ve produced some really good blogs in the past, and they’re still relevant today, it may be that all that’s needed is a simple update to boost their search rankings, especially if it’s a topic people are still searching for. If the information contained in some of your old blogs can still be useful to readers and can still help establish you as an authority in your field, you should continue to use it. To optimize a blog post answer these questions:

  • Is there new or updated information I can add? Can I go into more detail on the topics included in the post?
  • Do I have any better images to add to this post? 
  • Does the meta description still describe this post effectively? 
  • Is the content skim-able? Or can it be brown down with better headlines and bullet points? If you just read the sub-titles on your post, would you still understand the content?
  • What are the other webpages that pull up when I search for the main keyword for this post? Take a look at the top 3-4 and make notes on how you can make yours BETTER? 
  • Is there a clear call to action on this page? What do you want people to do after they read it?

Wordpress website overview with coffee and notes

3. Add updated images

New images can go a looooong way into creating an updated look for your website. Hire a photographer to take some updated photos for your business. Employee portraits can be updated often, and so can the images of your business and products. A good photographer will also take some detail shots which can be great to pull into as elements to your website as well. If you don’t have the budget to hire a photographer right now, you can still get some great photos to give your website a new aesthetic. Here are some tips on how you can take some great photos of your own!  How to Take Better Photos for Your Business

 

4. Improve your CTAs 

Is your website still converting visitors into leads? If not, how can you update your calls-to-actions, or edit the copy on your website to better address your customer’s pain points? Make sure you have an easy-to-find call to action on each page of your website.

 

5. Add testimonials to your website

Testimonials can be one of the easiest yet most influential things you can add to your website. They’re social proof that people have loved your services and customers use that information to help them make a purchasing decision. According to the Spiegel Research Center, displaying reviews leads to an incredible 350% increase in conversions. With this information, it’s clear that displaying testimonials on your website leads to more revenue. 

There is a number of ways you can add testimonials on your website ranging from simple text all the way to embedding a widget for Google, Facebook, *Insert Industry Review Platform*. While this isn’t a huge factor, be sure to choose one that represents reviews in a positive light, matches your overall web design, and go from there. It’s an easy addition to your website and is well worth the time to get it implemented. 

6. Update your Fonts and Color Pallet

Has your branding changed at all since your website was designed? Or maybe there wasn’t even much thought put into your web fonts – we see that a lot! Updating your fonts and website colors can create a very fresh look for your website as well. In WordPress, changing fonts and colors can usually easily be done within your themes customization settings. Squarespace, Wix, and other CMS have their own customization options as well. 

 

7. Include a web chat feature

Adding a chatbox to your website is a great way to quickly interact with a prospect and help them get their questions answered quickly. Studies have shown that 79% of customers prefer to have a conversation with someone in real-time because it allows them to get answers to their questions immediately rather than wait for an email or call back. With such a high instant gratification coming from web chats, the end result is a 92% customer satisfaction. 

If you haven’t considered looking into a web chat feature on-site yet, we highly recommend it. If you’re curious to see how it works, open up our chat box in the right-hand corner and start a conversation with an Odd Dog!

 

Conclusion 

You don’t have to break the bank to modernize your website. If you simply don’t have the resources to invest in a completely new website, you can take some of the steps described above to make it perform like a new website and to give it a facelift that will be more in keeping with the times. A little updating can go a long way, and it can make your website viable for several more years, after which time you may have a more expansive budget, and choose to develop something brand new.

Questions or need some help with any website updates? Whether you are in the market for a new website or not, we’d be happy to help you review what’s working, what’s not, and help guide you in the right direction.