Rarely do we ignore important assets by allowing them to go neglected for extended periods of time. A business website shouldn’t be any different, especially considering that most buyers shop around and read about a company’s products and services before making a purchase. Given the fact that online research has become a focal point of the buying process, website maintenance and upkeep is critical to ensuring that your company’s site has relevant and up-to-date information that customers want. It could help drive more leads and strengthen the bottom line.

With consideration to best practices, below are three reasons why it might be time for a website update. Give it a look and see if your business website is up to par with current user demands.

Mobile Technology Usage

If one were to survey 10 individuals within their network and ask how many people in the group owned a smartphone, it would likely come as a shock if several of them didn’t. Mobile usage is considered a basic norm and will only continue to experience growth.

A matter of fact, 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone and 42 percent own a tablet. As smartphone usage has grown year-over-year, the corresponding usage of the mobile web has inevitably followed — as mobile data traffic experienced 74 percent growth in 2015.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the most accessible and convenient option has become the preferred medium for users, especially considering the on-the-go lifestyle that is widely embraced. But what may have caught businesses and webmasters by surprise is how immediate the trend arrived and was seemingly established instantaneously as an anchor of the digital strategy.

The numbers previously mentioned in this section are likely to change and move upward within the year, too, but it’s certain that users will continue to shift their habits away from desktop.

What About Search Engine Rankings?

While the numbers indicate that mobile will inevitably be users’ preferred device for search, it isn’t just an accessory that’s a nice addition to a company’s online presence. It should be noted that Google has been penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly to users.

In April 2015, the company released a mobile-friendly update that was two-fold for website managers and business owners. If a site is considered mobile-friendly, it receives a boost in the results pages. However, if the search engine does not consider a website to be mobile-friendly, it’s a safe bet to assume that its rankings significantly suffered. The company highlights its mobile guidelines here, and allows you to test your site as well.

This aggressive shake-up, commonly referred to as “Mobilegeddon,” acknowledges that not only do searchers prefer mobile, but the search engines won’t bother serving pages that do not provide users with an optimal and user-friendly mobile experience. Due to this, it’s imperative to assure that your company’s website is mobile compatible and isn’t getting kicked to the back of the rankings.

Website Design Trends

Remember the early search engines that were flooded with hundreds of links to different news outlets and other sources of information? The only cure for the anxiety that resulted in such a forgetful experience was likely a dimly lit room and a glass of something with a little bit of kick. Believe it or not, though, this format actually worked effectively for quite some time. And then a different company came along, realized it was a problem and did the exact opposite. There’s a reason why Google is the cause of extinction for some of the prehistoric search engines — our tastes simply changed. Users gravitated toward the simplistic, sleek and minimal design that the company offered. It also helps that the interface is incredibly easy to use.

The same concept can be applied to the design of your website and the current layout. What may have been acceptable years ago can potentially be a thing of the past, especially as the attention span of the average individual continues to decrease. To that point, it’s been reported that more than half of website visitors spend only 15 seconds on a website. Within that time frame, could they access your most important information, or easily find pages to learn more about your products/services?

Another point to consider is whether or not your website looks familiar. Even though a user may be visiting your site for the first time, is the user interface or theme something they’ve come across before and will likely be able to effectively work with? An overcomplicated experience will likely have negative results.

It’s not news that web design can be complicated, but by staying on top of its trends companies can put themselves in a position to offer a quality user experience as well as beneficial information that relates to your business.

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