Freshen Up Your Website Less isn't always more. An oversimplified website may be driving away business.

By Paige Arnof-Fenn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Even the cobbler's kid gets a new pair of shoes sometimes. For almost six years, a placeholder website upgrade sat on my "to do" list, but it never seemed to reach the top. After the first year, my colleagues and I joked that if I did upgrade, my thriving business would start to slow.

My excuse was that if someone wanted to find out about me, they would Google me anyway. So anyone who did their homework before a meeting would see my recent speeches or articles, and thus, the website didn't need updating. The people who check your website are competitors. My clients came via referrals and word-of-mouth, not because of our website.

I had clients say they liked the simplicity and clear language, but several CEOs also questioned how I'd "gotten away with" such a basic website over the years.

I finally ran out of excuses and decided it was time to upgrade our image. I don't recommend waiting almost six years to freshen your look. Although we take a classic approach to marketing, we pride ourselves on being up-to-date on trends and staying relevant as the market matures. I thought about adding a blog or some podcasts I'd done to the new site and decided to start with the updated content and visuals first.

The first website was our way of showing we were "real." Like it or not, we live in an online world and people Google your website frequently to make decisions on your credibility. So if your company doesn't have a web presence today, you really don't exist or you aren't serious about your business.

For those of you who've been waiting for a kick in the pants, here's your opportunity to start a fresh chapter. If it's been more than two years since you've changed a word on your site, this message is for you.

  • Find websites you admire for their look, feel and ease of navigation. What is it about those sites that appeal to you? How can you use those applications to reach out to your audience?
  • Communicate your value proposition clearly. If writing isn't your strength, hire a copywriter who can communicate the benefits of your brand in a voice that's consistent with your company's culture so that your website has authenticity.
  • Make time to keep your website (relatively) current. Periodically review your site to see where there are opportunities to update your story. Blogging is an additional way to boost your search engine rankings by generating fresh content regularly.
  • Stop making excuses and carve out the time to update your site. If you can't make the time to upgrade your website, then pay someone else to do it for you. Anything that can be solved with money is not really a problem.
  • Find a web services partner you trust and who shares your vision. It'll make the journey more productive and fun, especially if your partner loves doing the work that you don't.

For those of you who remember the old website, I'm curious to hear what you think of the new one. I look at this as the 2.0 version and am confident that a 3.0 will follow in the next year or so. This cobbler's kid may just be getting a shoe habit after all.

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a strategic-marketing consulting firm whose clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as early stage and emerging businesses.

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