Welcome to 2018, the year you need to update your website's look and functionality for two business-critical reasons: legal compliance and user respect and trust.

The latter is probably long overdue and has been hindering conversions; the former, a long time coming, is looking to become an immediate concern.

The problem? Businesses that set up a website many years ago and have done few, if any, modifications since. They may have updated to integrate new forms of payment or to manage inventory in a more timely manner, but that's usually the extent of it. If that describes your business, then your site is doing a disservice to your business and your customers—and, potentially, your bottom line, because they are noncompliant at a time of looming enforcement of standards and legislation.

Here are updates you should consider for your website if you find it's out-of-date in any of the following areas.

1. Data Security

In 2018, security is going to be a top concern of your website visitors, especially if your site requires them to provide personal or financial information. After the numerous well-publicized data breaches in 2017, your users will be especially wary of how interacting with your site could affect them.

Minimally, you should be using HTTPS to protect confidential online transactions and even online info-request forms. But today's users now expect a trusted certificate on any webpage they visit, so be sure all your pages have up-to-date certificates. The addition of basic SSL-level security will also aid in your SEO efforts.

For e-commerce sites, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, while not in and of itself the law, is the standard required by the major credit card issuers (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and JCB) for all merchants accepting payments online. Merely using a PCI DSS-compliant processor cuts down your risk, but it doesn't eliminate your compliance obligations. Merchants still must validate compliance, and the usage of an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) to check your website for vulnerabilities can help keep hackers at bay.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Brian Byer

Brian Byer is VP of Blue Fountain Media, a leading digital marketing firm headquartered in Manhattan.

LinkedIn: Brian Byer