Your website is the central platform. It's the first impression and it's where your target audience will decide whether they are going to trust you or not. Your website is never truly finished.

With this in mind, there are many reasons why you should be constantly thinking about overhauling your website.

Staying On Top of the World

Web design is changing all the time. Look at a website from five years ago and the differences between then and now are immense. Go even further back to the birth of the Internet and it's difficult to believe some of those websites were ever allowed to go live.

Why are there so many changes in web design?

Customer Demands - What customers responded to a few years ago isn't what they respond to now. You need to adapt to the needs and demands of your target audience.

Technology Changes - The reason why those ghastly websites from the early 2000s were ever allowed to go live was because that was the best that could be created with the current technology on offer. As technology changes, so will websites.

If you don't keep up with your competition, you will steadily fall behind and lose your market share.

Ann Wood, Vice President of Marketing at Surf or Sound Realty says, "We have done 3 major website overhauls and constant large modifications to stay ahead of the competition. It's important to our guests and homeowners we provide the best experience possible while keeping up with the progression of website technology".

As you can see, this changes more often than you might think. The world is changing at an alarming rate and you could be overhauling your entire website on an annual basis.

Because Google Said So

Google is always changing the rules. Everybody remembers how Google Panda and Penguin introduced a new era of SEO. As recently as 2016, Google introduced yet another core algorithm update; the details of which have not yet been fully discovered.

Your website is aimed primarily at enhancing the user experience. But you also need to think about Google and your ranking in the search results. The backend of your website needs to be updated constantly to ensure it's continuing to meet the demands of SEO.

With your organic traffic numbers relying almost entirely on SEO, this is something you absolutely can't ignore.

Experimentation is a Good Thing

Yes, you need to stay ahead of the competition. But you will never manage to do this if all you can do is replicate what's already out there. You need to innovate yourself. Experimentation is always a good thing. Split testing various web elements on a constant basis can unveil brand new features that work to improve the user experience.

But you are never going to know about these unless you are testing. When thinking about this you need to ask the question are you a leader or a follower?

In Response

Customers are the heart of your business. It doesn't matter what you think because you are not buying from the business. The opinions of customers are the only opinions you should be listening to because this is what your income relies on exclusively.

Ask your customers what they think about your website. Request opinions for how you can improve. Most companies make changes purely based on what their target audience is saying, and this is how it should be. Conduct studies every six months and ask for honest and anonymous opinions.

Make sure you ask your most loyal customers and your new customers. Divided opinions like this can work fantastically well.

Your customers will be glad that you even considered asking them in the first place. This has the two-pronged benefit of getting you valuable feedback, while reinforcing the fact that your customers matter to you.

Last Word

Improving your website can be expensive, particularly if you are using a premium custom-made theme. Many CEOs consider whether it's really worth it. But when there's more competition than ever before and customer loyalty is at an all-time low, it doesn't take long to discover that overhauling your web platform is crucial to your success.

You need to be constantly testing, checking out the competition, and thinking about how you can improve the user experience.

How will you begin evaluating your website today?

Published on: Mar 14, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.