Here at the Yardstick Agency, we try to pour as much love as possible into every website we create. From the content written to the code that makes your website tick, everyone involved wants nothing less than perfection.
However, just like the little house plant that sits on my desk, your website needs nurture, care, and attention over time. If you don’t look after it, a visitor in a few months or years’ time might find it looking a bit the worse for wear, and head elsewhere for a better experience.
What could have changed in the months, or years, since going live that has made your website fall out of favour with those visiting it for the first time?
Read on for five of the most important things and explain why your users may start turn away if you don’t give your website a bit of Baby Bio from time to time.
1. Design inconsistencies
We’ve all been to a website that has a wonderful homepage. We want to learn more and go to their “about us” page and think we’re in website heaven. So, we make our way to the contact page to drop them a message and we suddenly have second thoughts because the page looks awful.
No? Just me?
Your users may not trust the page they land on if it looks wildly different from everything else. This could happen, for example, if you have added new pages after the initial launch of the site.
The last thing you want a user who is interacting with your site to do is suddenly question if they are still on the same website! The moment of questioning or confusion may lead to them leaving before getting in touch with you.
From a developer’s standpoint, having pages which are vastly different from the rest of the site with no logical reason – for example, using green on your “contact” page when your brand colours are blue and white – is a no-no.
If your pot plant suddenly grew a pink leaf, you’d likely think something was up. So, always try and remain consistent in terms of things like colours, font, and design to ensure a seamless user experience.
2. Page speed scores
When creating a site, the last thing we developers want to do is add anything which will slow your site down.
For example, we won’t add hundreds of images to a page. And, as a technical issue, we will have a little cry if we find out multiple tracking scripts will be running on the site, as we know these will slow the site down.
Conversely, we don’t expect your site to score perfectly on page speed testing websites. Having images, nice fonts, or some fancy sliders or stats that count up all lower your score from the get go – but they are vital to the look and feel of your site. So, we never aim for the perfect page score, but instead for the best user experience.
Ensuring your pages load quickly is important and so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.
Just remember that as long as visitors aren’t waiting for a page to load, and they’re not seeing the page move around as they scroll, you don’t have to have “perfect” page load speeds.
The carrots you grow in your garden might be wonky, but still taste fantastic (if you see what I mean).
3. Rushed edits
Whether it’s creating a new website from scratch or changing the order of some boxes on your website, we want everything to look great.
Often, not everything we do is as easy as it sounds, especially if we didn’t build your website, or the developer who originally did is no longer with Yardstick (the developer who is working on your site has to first find out how everything works!)
As an example, we maintain a website for a client even though we didn’t build it, and we don’t host it.
Both of these things mean it takes us much longer to make changes, as we do not have easy access to the website’s files compared to a website we host. Additionally, the layout of the code is vastly different to how we do things when building a website.
When they come to us and ask: “Can we change the colour of this box?” it takes us almost twice as long as it would compared to a client we host, or originally developed the site for.
Rushed changes to your site can also disrupt your user experience. If you’ve made them in-house, or we’ve had limited time to make an edit, it can result in a sub-optimal outcome.
So, it’s always worth taking the time – or allowing your developer the time they need – to do a really great job.
You never see Monty Don racing through a pruning of his perennials. We also need time to do it well!
4. Amends to amends of amends
One of our favourite parts of a new website project is when we get to show the finished project.
Everyone who’s had a new website from us over the last few years will know how we do things at Yardstick; we will present the website to you on a call, and soon after you’ll receive a link where you can comment on changes you wish to make.
As a developer, we want you to make amends on things you’re unhappy with, as we want the day the site goes live to be one where everyone is thrilled.
Over time, however, as you graft new pages onto a website, add sections, remove people who have left, added new services, changed address and so on, your lovely pot plant can turn into a strange-looking menace.
Amends on amends on amends can mean a page can go from flowing beautifully to becoming an ugly weed, with spiky leaves and thorns everywhere.
For your users, these sections are noticeable – and they can lead to mild distrust and a client not feeling they are getting a professional, rounded experience.
Reviewing your most-visited pages from time to time, and making sure you wash their leaves and trim any unwanted prickles, can help your site to flourish.
5. A lack of general care
As I mentioned at the start, if you don’t water and feed your plants, they will wither and, eventually, die. No one wants this for your website!
So, this is arguably the most important point on the list.
It’s easy to put your website on the back burner whilst you focus on clients and other important matters. But letting your website fall into disarray is all too easy to do.
It might be forgetting to update your fees page, realising you still have team members on your site who left the company months ago, or seeing that the form on one of your pages doesn’t actually work anymore. It’s easy to say “I’ll sort it eventually” but never find the time to do it.
It should go without saying that this can lead to a poor experience for users of your website.
We can help you to keep your website healthy
Over time, you need to take care of your website.
If something about the business is changing or has changed recently, check that the website isn’t showing outdated information.
If you think something looks a little old, or a competitor’s site does something nicer, maybe consider giving your website a little facelift.
If the whole site looks outdated, a full refresh can do your brand wonders.
As the Alan Titchmarsh of websites, we can keep everything looking healthy and vibrant, ensuring a “gold medal” experience for your website visitors.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.