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9 signs it's time to update your website and how to fix it

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | July 23, 2014
Ecommerce, Web analytics and design experts share their tips on how to tell if you Web or ecommerce site needs tweaking (or major fixing) and how you can improve it inexpensively.

Problem No. 8: No Social Media Linkage. "The online world revolves around social media," says Smoak. So if you want people "talking about your brand and products, you need to include a 'Pin It' button [for Pinterest] on your photos and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram buttons to promote your content."

Problem No. 9: Your Buttons Look Dated. "Are your CTA (call to action) buttons looking dated, nonintuitive or simply not eye-catching?" asks Michael Epstein, an online marketing consultant. "Simply updating the various buttons on your site to a more modern style, high-impact color scheme or adding visual cues that help guide the user could make a big impact on the overall site look and performance," he says. "However, you should always track your site metrics after making any changes to your site to ensure they are having the intended effect."

One final tip for spotting potential and current problems — and fixing them inexpensively. Make sure your Web or ecommerce site is up-to-date and doesn't have any glaring problems, such as broken links, every 12 months or so, "pull together a number of people who are unfamiliar with your website and products — people with various levels of tech experience (people who are comfortable with purchasing online as well as those who are novices)," suggests LisaMarie Dias, the owner of LisaMarie Dias Designs, which provides social media and email marketing strategy and implementation.

Then "watch (either literally over their shoulder or via software) as they find and "purchase" products on your site. Create a list of items from different categories and have them click all the way through from the initial search to final delivery confirmation," she says. "It can be time-consuming and tedious, but you may be surprised at how many different routes people take and the dead ends they encounter. This valuable exercise can reveal [navigation and design] flaws as well as incorrect assumptions."

And if there are problems and you do need to make a site tweak, or four, don't panic.

"Web redesign doesn't have to be a time-consuming and expensive challenge," says Simon Slade, CEO and cofounder of SaleHoo , a platform for building your own online store and an online wholesale directory of over 8,000 prescreened suppliers. "For less than $500, you can make over your entire website using one of the following methods.

First, shop around at template marketplaces, such as Envato and Creative Market , which both offer stunning website designs for as little as $4. Or hire a freelance programmer/designer to overhaul your website for you. Elance and oDesk both can connect you with hundreds of qualified freelancers who will compete and bid to work on your website."


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