Does your website suffer from “site rot”?

We typically don’t think of digital or virtual things breaking down like organic matter. Even their physical electronic relatives seem to have an extended shelf life: dig out that Sony Walkman way in the back of your closet and that MC Hammer cassette is probably ready to rock.

But as we know, nothing last forever, and websites are no exception. Overtime things breakdown, graphics and links go missings, copy becomes stale and dated, that promotion featured on your homepage ended months ago. The copyright in your footer, still stuck in 2009. Visitors are still trying to buy products that have been replaced or discontinued. The last press release posted was in 2011.

And how about that design, if websites wore leg warmers, would yours have on a pair?

Nothing escapes the slow grinding sands of time, things we can’t even see are deteriorating behind the scenes, the web server itself that houses your website requires constant attention and updates to stay current and avoid security risks and performance issues.

Visitors to our site are more savvy today than they have ever been, no longer do people consume the web strictly from the office chair and desk, we are constantly in motion and digest the web on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, and soon devices that we wear on our very face.

The technology that run our websites is constantly changing, new techniques and standards to allow our sites to run even better on today’s browsers and devices are changing and evolving all the time.

Websites have become a critical facet to most businesses today, in many cases it is the first interaction our prospects come into contact with, are you creating the best possible first impression? A real storefront requires constant care and maintenance to engage visitors and get them to pick up that product and bring it to the checkout, a website is no different.

Real or digital, neglect fosters rot, and that will cost you business.

As bleak as that may sound, solutions are easy with a bit of planning and foresight. Establish short, mid and long terms goals for you website. Have weekly or monthly meetings with your team to discuss necessary changes and updates. Assign and delegate key tasks and make people accountable to ensure that things are completed. Certain tasks require specific expertise, this is where a reliable 3rd party or contractor can help out.

Once you have the basics covered off you can begin to work at performance, tweak and test new elements on the site and see what performs best – A/B or split testing is an excellent low-risk technique to test even simple things like headlines or calls to action – you’d be amazed at what a seemingly superficial change can make to your bottom line.

Before you know it your site will be flourishing rather than rotting.

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