“Set it and forget it” can apply to many things, but not your website.  As an extension of your business, your website is often the first impression you make on a potential client.  Prospects and clients expect you to have a functioning, aesthetically pleasing, and secure website.  If your prospects find your website to be outmoded, difficult to use, and filled with errors, they may well come away thinking that your business is behind the times, not customer-friendly, and error-prone. 

Here are four major red flags that are immediate turn-offs, discouraging engagement, turning away prospects, and costing you money. If your organization’s website shows any of these signs, you may want to consider an upgrade: 

1. Your website “takes forever” to load 

The speed at which your website loads is an incredibly important, yet too often overlooked, metric. The truth is, people will leave a website if pages are too slow to load.   

Some of the most common reasons for a slow site are out-of-date themes, large/uncompressed photos, bulky plugins, saturated content, or even malware. At the end of the day, speed kills conversions, making it of critical importance to keep the backend of your website finely-tuned. 

Google has been encouraging website owners to speed up their sites for the past 5 years. Your website speed also factors into your Google SEO, so keep is running fast can increase your chances of being found in a search.  

Pro Tip:  The fastest way to find page speed is through Google Analytics. To find your slowest pages, click – Behavior > Site speed > Overview. Google will generate a report on the average page load time, domain lookup time, and average server response time for your site. 

2. Your website does not function on a mobile phone browser 

“Location, location, location!” The same principle that applies to real estate investing can be used for your corner of the internet, too. Current statistics show that mobile web traffic is surpassing desktop traffic amongst all age groups. In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. With desktop surfing becoming the minority, it’s critical that your website functions for users on a mobile web browser, as they can switch to your competitor’s website in a matter of seconds.  

Older websites may need to be completely overhauled to achieve mobile functionality. However, most website themes and design studios have functions for optimizing your web pages for mobile. Try using your website on a smartphone to find any pages that do not appear correctly. Once you’ve redesigned the bulk of your mobile site, be sure that any newly published pages are optimized for mobile as well. 

3. Internet browsers warn that your website is “Not Secure” 

The main reason to stay proactive on your website security is obvious – hacking is more prevalent than ever. In our current tech-scape, cybercriminals find it easier to exploit companies that use antiquated software. 

However, there’s also a marketing reason to add security.  If your website does not have an SSL certification, browsers will flag your website as “Not Secure”.  For example, Google Chrome displays the following warning in your browser: 

Credit:  https://www.digicert.com/blog/not-secure-warning-what-to-do/ 

This warning is deadly for businesses where keeping client data secure is critical, for example, lawyers, any kind of eCommerce business, and medical professionals.  Few users will want to entrust their credit card with a site that is unsecure. 

If you don’t have an SSL Certificate, make it a priority to purchase one. 

4. Your website is ugly  

With desktop and phone screen quality improving in perpetuity, having a well-designed and user-friendly website is an investment that will pay off indefinitely. As mentioned prior, your website will often function as the first impression for your company. A well-designed website with attention to detail and user-friendly features exudes professionalism and will, in turn, bolster your perception in the mind of a user.  

A major issue that businesses often overlook is a responsive web site. “Responsive” refers to the ability of the webpage to adapt to the window it’s being browsed in. From phones and tablets to laptops and desktops, web browser windows come in all shapes and sizes, so having a responsive website is crucial to keeping a user from leaving your site. 

Other considerations are removing pixilated images or stock photography, fixing any broken links or wonky plugins, and replacing stagnant copy with exciting language in a legible, unique styling. 

If your website suffers from any of these deficiencies, you should not delay in getting help to fix it.  These issues are probably the tip of the iceberg, and more can likely be done to improve how you’re presenting your company to potential clients and customers online.