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WebWorks by Terry Young


Assessing your site's
2018 performance

Web technologies are always changing, so the new year is a good time to address things that may have changed over the last year, and adjust your website.

One of the major things practices do in January is assess how their website performed during the previous year. Our clients use tools that are built into their site that give them keyword searches and traffic reports to see how their site is performing.

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One of the first things they want to know is where they are showing up on search engines. This is usually where there have been the most changes. Many practices that were on page one last January are surprised that they are now on page three.

The reason for this is two-fold:

Search engines adjust their ranking rules three to four times a year.  Each time a change happens, their site may slide down. This could be for a reason as simple as keywords are repeated more or less times than the search engine now deems appropriate.

If content is not changed very often, or search engine positions are not checked regularly, it is very easy to slide right off the first page.

Searches don't like stagnation.  They prefer sites that keep making changes because that shows a practice is involved in their web presence. If a site is untouched for a long time, the searches see that as the practice either being not interested in the site, or being closed, and the site will slide down.

Also, if changes are being made regularly, any small slips in search engine position are more likely to be spotted and adjusted before it's too late.

The second thing practices need to be aware of is changes in web technology. Again, this is where a lot can change in a year. The last few years have seen huge leaps in mobile devices. New phones, tablets, and laptops are being released almost on a daily basis- each with different sized screens.

Depending on how old your site is, it may not show up properly on some newer devices, and you could be losing many potential customers.

In the old days (2010-14), sites had a second, mobile-friendly version for phones. However, there are so many tablets that the site can be confused whether to show desktop or phone version to the visitor. This is why our WebUpdate sites are responsive. Now there is just one site, and it adapts itself to the screen/device of the visitor automatically.

Now is also a good time to check your site for outdated information, such as very old 'news' items or copyright dates. If a visitor sees your latest news is from 2016, and your site's copyright date is even older, they may assume that you're not still around and not even try to call.

If you have concerns with your web presence reaching your widest customer base, now is the time to look into our WebUpdate system sites, which are not Open Source and take advantage of advanced SEO, social, and responsive features to give your business the best competitive edge online.

Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design, the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.

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