In June 2020, online data usage increased by 47% according to PC Magazine. I don’t think anyone is surprised with that increase, since people were forced to find ways to connect virtually. I know when I think about a website… wait.

I’m not going to lie. Up until recently, I couldn’t even finish that sentence because I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT MY WEBSITE.

Well, I mean I thought about my website… but it was more like this:

“Hmm. Building a website. Maintaining it. Well, I definitely need to make sure it looks good—pictures, lots of eye-catching pictures—and the checkout cart works. And once it goes live, I need to make sure I pay the hosting bill on time (if I even have one), and then just let it ride, right”?

WRONG. As I’ve found out for myself, a website is nothing to “let ride”. It’s a key component in your business’ marketing and sales toolkit. Below are 5 things that I updated that made an immediate impact on improving my website’s overall performance.

Website security protects your customers’ information, your reputation, your search engine rankings, and your bottom line. Now, more than ever, with cyber-attacks on the rise and their sophistication ever-increasing, you need web security. Performing regular checks to test your website’s security is important for the prevention of problems that impact your business, and to protect your website’s visitors.

Website speed is the amount of time it takes for each of your website pages to load after an end-user clicks on the website link. Slow speed can kill business, affect your search engine rankings, create a negative first impression with potential new customers, and a poor customer service experience for current customers. To check for needed improvements, you need a check and possible refresh or rebuild of your website’s design, coding, and caching.

Website functionality is its usefulness–the ease by which a user can move around the site, get the information they need, and purchase the products and services they want. A website that’s functional will attract more users and keep them there longer. It will help you convert lookers into customers. This requires the website to be technically sound for both the user and the business. While the design is important, you can have a visually pleasing website that does not produce results. Functionality is key to meeting the expectations of your customers and can contribute to more efficient business operations.

First impressions are important. Your website design communicates something to your customer about your business before they see the content. An outdated-looking website design can create doubts in a potential customer and affect their engagement. There are many elements that drive traffic to your website and keep customers there long enough to complete a transaction, but many customers judge your business based on visuals alone, and that first fast impression often depends on visual design. The Internet erases geographical boundaries, so you want your website to grab the visitor’s attention immediately to start their journey with your business.

Customer experience is about your customer’s journey with your business, from discovery through purchase and sometimes beyond that, to maintenance. In these challenging times, when online businesses have flourished, your website may be the only way in which your customer experiences your business. It is your primary source of information in which to decide on your trustworthiness, credibility, and expertise, as well as the point of sale. It’s the sum of all parts of your website, resulting in a customer experience that places you in competition with others in your business. Now more than ever, Websites matter, and it is critically important that they provide a great customer experience.

Today, websites are an essential marketing tool for your company:

Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar business, online-only, or both, many potential customers will research your business on the internet before setting foot in your store or considering a purchase.

Something very important to remember! Probably the most important thing I learned about this journey, was the importance of understanding that your website can be both a masterpiece AND a work in progress. My website updates, improvements, and content adjustments are an ongoing process. NOW I look at my website as a working moving part of my business and that allows me to match with the clients that need my services, need information, and are looking to learn a bit more about who I am and what I stand for.

As my business evolves, my website evolves with me. So, don’t get discouraged about not having the perfect website yet! You should focus on prioritizing the updates and changes that are going to have the biggest impact on your business needs!