It’s time to start thinking about your website’s death. Or at least, its metamorphosis. Yes, let’s go with the butterfly metaphor. Better yet, let’s go with a Butterfree metaphor.
In the Pokémon video games and TV shows, this creature changes forms and proceeds through successive generations when it gains experience. That’s not just change, that’s like evolution.
The website you have today shouldn’t be the website you have in two years. Whether it’s the first website you owned, version two or ten, the next one is just around the corner. But unlike gentle Butterfree, there’s no final evolution. There is just the next one. And the causes are myriad. When we break it down though, there are two real drivers: the passing of time and human interference.
Two Ways Time Will Change Your Site
Business isn’t the same as it was a few years ago, or even last week. How does your website reflect that? It’s normal for your business model to shift, sometimes dramatically, during the life of the website. I’ve worked with clients over several years and seen how a site built to support their first year of business is desperately out of sync with their model in year three.
A wood working shop may think they’ll sell oodles of end tables to homeowners and discover their main revenue comes from custom orders for big corporations. Heating and air conditioning contractors might see a similar shift, from leaning on residential to primarily serving commercial clients.
When your business model shifts, your marketing strategy and website must shift too. Don’t confuse your customers with website information that no longer reflects business focus and strengths. When you get to the next level, take your website with you.
And you think you’ve grown over the past few years? Tell that to the Internet. New technology arrives every day. Small business websites built even five years ago are like toddler clothes on a twenty-something. The style is out of date and all the seams are ripped.
For a quick test, load your site on any device and try to see it with fresh eyes. Does it look “small”? Small looks old. Good websites today fill the screen with edge-to-edge photographs and smart use of typography, opting for large and even over-sized letters for style and emphasis.
Bottom line, if you look at your site and it looks or feels wrong, either you’ve outgrown it or it’s out of date.
Two Ways People Will Change Your Site
If time doesn’t change things naturally, two big disruptions will do it: rebranding and damage from hacking.
Your website is the cornerstone of your online presence. As such, it’s your brand’s second biggest representation beside you, your building and vehicles. When you rebrand or tweak your logo, it’s natural to update your website.
The trick is to coordinate your updates. Plan to update your signage, vehicles, websites and other materials in close proximity. If you can’t do the majority of your vehicles or your sign right now, wait. Your website is the easiest to update. Don’t confuse customers by releasing a variation online that doesn’t match what’s in the field.
The other thing that triggers a website redo? Damage. Unless you’re proactively protecting your website with a firewall, employing hardening strategies and regularly backing up files, the whole thing’s bound to go down in flames sooner or later. Should you get hacked, you might not come back.
You could suffer from corrupted web design files, but escape with the your content, or maybe the other way around. Recovering your data after a bad hack is the job of specialists, and the results are not guaranteed. Whether the news is bad or really bad, think of this like an opportunity.
As the Red Hot Chili Peppers say of California’s inevitable doom-quake, “destruction leads to a very rough road/But it also breeds creation.” A hack seems like a big take down, but it’s not the end. If (when?) you get hacked, take the time to pause, gather your strengths and come back stronger.
Any of these situations seem familiar? You’ll face one of them soon enough. With each passing day, you’re moving towards the next version of your website. Whether you change, the tech changes or other outside forces change the game, prepare for your next evolution today.
Want to talk to someone about marketing strategy and how your website fits with all of that? Just wondering if your site’s up to snuff? Contact us for information about a website assessment and consulting sessions. It’s good to know where you stand. And when you’re ready for the next stage, we can help with that too.