By Hugh Duffy
If you’re like most people, once your firm’s website was in place, you went about your business without giving it another thought outside of telling prospective clients to “check out our site.”
That’s fine for a while, but the exponential rate of technological change means that over time, if left unattended, your website becomes outdated. No matter how sleek and easy to use a website is, and no matter how much you paid a designer to create it, if it’s outdated, it hurts your business. In fact, it may be costing you money and it could even get you sued!
With today’s consumers more tech-savvy than ever, chances are your current and prospective clients know what an outdated site looks like. Worse yet, they pick up on what an outdated site conveys about you and your business.
What an outdated website says about you and your business
You don’t care. By not putting the best representation of your business out into the world via the internet, it appears you don’t care about your business.
Your firm isn’t “with it.” An outdated site makes your firm seem behind the times. These days, that can be cause for potential clients to steer clear. They think if you’re not updating your site, there may be other aspects of your business left unattended.
You’re technologically challenged. Prospective clients may wonder if your outdated website reflects on your skills and abilities. Even if you aren’t responsible for the technical aspects of your firm’s website, you are the face of the business and every facet of that reflects on you. Giving the impression that you can’t update your website might cause clients to question your abilities in other areas.
You don’t take your business seriously. Generally, we take care of what’s important to us. That applies to our personal appearance, the homes we live in, and if you’re a business owner, to your virtual presence, too. Maintaining your accounting practice’s website and keeping it updated shows that it’s important to you and that you take pride in it. Chances are, by conveying that to your clients, you will cultivate that same sentiment in them.
You don’t believe your firm is worth the time and energy investment to keep your site up to date. Everyone is busy, especially business owners; however, neglecting to update your website may convey that you don’t think it’s worth the time or effort. Even if you don’t have the time to spruce up your outdated site, outsource the task so that your clients know you care about your business.
If you don’t demonstrate to your clients that you believe in your business, they won’t either. In the long run, this can cost you money.
How an outdated website costs you money
1. Your site doesn’t show up in web searches.
If your site is outdated, it’s not ranking high in web searches, which means you can’t be found online. And even if people do manage to find you, the negative perceptions of an outdated site mentioned earlier means potential new clients will likely click away.
2. Your site isn’t mobile device friendly.
Over half of all internet users access websites via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. An outdated site isn’t as mobile-friendly as an up-to-date one. That alienates as many as half of the people trying to access your site. With so many alternatives in the marketplace, visitors will quickly move on to a site that is accessible, costing you a potential client.
3. Your site doesn’t support the latest technology.
Today’s consumers expect the latest and greatest in user experience when they visit a website. If your firm’s site isn’t up to date, chances are it’s not on par with comparable sites. Your site probably runs slower and doesn’t offer users the same “bells and whistles” found elsewhere such as online quotes, user resources and current client login.
4. Your outdated site is a prime target for cybercrime and security breaches.
Security is as critical a concern for a small business as it is for a large corporation. In fact, it’s not only big bucks hackers are after. What they really want when they break into a site is information like Social Security numbers, birthdates, banking information and credit card numbers. That means everyone using your site — from employees to customers — is at risk if your site and its security protocols are outdated. This makes your site a prime target for cybercrime, for which you are responsible. Protecting stored data and client files can save your firm from a lawsuit.
To keep your website up to date, frequently update content, check for broken links, use relevant keywords and make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Your clients will appreciate your attention to detail and your firm will profit.
Originally published by Accounting Today.