As we look ahead to 2015, one fact will remain constant: your website is the center of gravity for most promotional and marketing efforts.

It’s a fact that technology is growing exponentially, and trends are developed out of necessity. The Internet changes each year, but of the changes we experienced in 2014 and those already out the gate for 2015 – some are critical. Making your website hold its own against your competitors will depend on your willingness to embrace change and employ new web design trends – optimally before anyone else.

Even with the expansion of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools, the company website continues to be the main stop for clients and prospects looking to determine what a company does, how well they do it, and whether they should be selected.  Online you get one shot at a good impression.  If your website doesn’t cut it, chances are visitors to your site will believe your business doesn’t either.

If you have an older website – or your business depends on having that “cutting edge” feel over your competitors – you may want to consider an upgrade for 2014 – and you need to start looking at options now.  Here are a few things to think about…

1) Cost-Effective

The price of rebuilding your website varies based on a number of factors. But in the majority of cases, updating a website is far less expensive than the initial design/development process simply because the content now exists, and your brand has most likely been established. You will be judged by the quality of your website, so committing significant resources to ad campaigns without first maximizing your website’s potential will most definitely diminish ROI.

2) Time to Trade Up

If your website is outdated it simply can’t keep up with the latest high-tech functionality visitors now expect.  Revamping old technology to inject new functionality is more costly and time-consuming than opting for a new, sleeker, high-tech platform.  If you suspect your website has lost its “wow factor”, it might be time to trade it in on a new, sportier model – and EMG provides exactly that, and in record time.

It is important to constantly tweak websites to insure search engine friendly coding. But some websites are too old (in terms of technology), so a quick fix just might not cut it. This applies especially to Flash-based and table-based HTML websites.

3) Critical Control

A lot of website owners just want to make minor revisions and periodic updates, but can’t without the assistance of a web developer. And if that person is no longer around, things really get complicated…

Once again, rebuilding your website within a proper content management system (or CMS) – is the way to go. Popular CMS frameworks include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal an others. EMG specializes in customized WordPress site design, and can convert older websites to this framework at a cost far lower than developing a new site from scratch.  When it’s done, you (or your staff) will have complete control with the ability to update on the fly without ever being at the mercy of one person, or the need to be technically proficient.

Even if your website is fairly new…say, less than two years old – technology has changed so much that it is now outdated and possibly inefficient or worse, insecure.  Sites built on a proper CMS are positioned to take advantage of new functionality as it develops because the framework is constantly updated with a touch of a button.  More importantly, these updates do not require a technical guru – you can do them yourself, if so inclined. Not inclined? EMG can perform these updates for you.

4) Responsive Design

Responsive Design (RD) is a concept that has already become the standard for the web. The rationale behind RD is to design webpages that adapt to the medium or device they are being viewed in. The mobile world has expanded at an astonishingly rapid pace. Smartphones continue to gain functionality every year and the wildly popular iPads and tablets have some sounding the “death of the PC”. Consumers are becoming more dependent on mobile sites and apps for instant access to information, deals, and product reviews, causing mobile commerce to also increase. In fact, the latest comScore numbers say that 38% of consumers have purchased a product on their phone. That’s pretty impressive, considering most websites aren’t even optimized for mobile devices. So whether you are selling products or not, your website needs to be optimized for mobile use now.

The ability of a site to fluidly change on the fly for different browser sizes is critical and it has changed the way web designers build sites. Is your site responsive?