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Does my website have a shelf life?

So you’ve launched your brand spanking new website and it’s received fantastic feedback. But does a website have a ‘shelf life’ and if so, when should you start thinking about developing a new one?

Let’s be SMART about it

In principle, the success of a website can be measured against its intended purpose. Was it developed to attract new customers? Is it an eCommerce site that needs to deliver a specific ROI? Maybe it adds credibility to your business or service? Or perhaps it’s purely an online brochure, showcasing all your prestigious work? 

The point is, that launching a website without clear objectives means you can’t measure whether it is delivering for you or not. At the beginning of any website project, you have to map out clear, specific website objectives, that will support and help deliver your wider marketing and business objectives.  It may be old school but you can’t go far wrong with making sure those objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Timed).

The finish line is only the start line

Websites are not tangible objects, which means they can continually evolve. Unlike an oil painting, they’re never really ‘finished’. We often find that businesses work tirelessly to populate content, review pages and test functionality to get a website live or ‘finished’. 

However, your ‘go live’ day is really just the starting point for building your site content. One reason that content population can stall is simply due to a lack of time and internal resource. If this is the case for you, consider outsourcing your content marketing. After all, would you buy a brand new BMW and then never get it serviced? 

The times are changing

The digital arena moves quickly. Changes in software, user expectation and search engine algorithms, mean your website needs to be able to react to external changes. Remember – change can be through evolution, not revolution.

If your site is based on an open source CMS platform like WordPress, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and scope for additional functionality and new Plugins. It also means you can take ownership of your own website and allow other developers to work on your site, should you need to. 

Analyse, analyse and then analyse some more

If you’re not already, familiarise yourself with Google Analytics. Understanding how your visitors are (and maybe more importantly, are not!) using your website is critical in assessing whether your site is meeting objectives. Knowing which pages are being viewed, traffic sources, bounce rates and exit pages (to name a few criteria), is essential in understanding website usage. 

Google Search Console will help massively when it comes to getting a handle on search queries and keyword discovery.

Cast your net wider

If you’re reviewing your website’s performance, think about the support services you have in place. For example, a website’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are not influenced by content marketing alone. Increasingly, site speed is a huge factor. Following last year’s speed update from Google, site loading time is becoming a major issue, so run your site through Google’s speed checker to see how it performs. 

James PattenTechnical Director

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