While springtime is technically a month or two away, the new year is the perfect time for an annual website audit and ‘spring cleaning’.
When people visit your site, they see it as a reflection of your organization. If your website looks professional and is loaded with useful information, readers will see you as an authority and expert. Likewise, if the site looks poorly designed and structured and out-of-date, they’ll likely make the same assumptions about your company.
Your website should highlight updated products and services. The layout should look harmonious and consistent. As your website grows and includes an increasing amount of content (such as blog posts), it’s helpful to review everything in one fell swoop to:
• Ensure your website is kept up-to-date with any changing information or processes in your business.
• Check that everything is functioning and displaying correctly throughout your site.
• Improve SEO and internal linking throughout your site (aka retain more readers and rank higher in search results!).
• Update performance and adopt new technology
Even if you regularly make changes to your website, it’s essential to take time in the new year to ensure that your site works as effectively as possible. Even if you aren’t well-versed with web-design, we’ve compiled a few suggestions to help direct you.
SEO & Website Update:
If you don’t update your website, it’s sure to fall in the search engine rankings. Search engines regard websites with the most recent content as the most relevant to web users. Your content might be gold, but if it’s the same content as five years ago, search engine crawlers might not think it is as relevant anymore.
As you’re reviewing your site, look for any additional internal linking opportunities (aka, places you can link to your other relevant content). Consider linking new blog posts to older blog posts. A unique resource or product/service offering launch could be linked to a popular older post to promote its promotion.
Update or enhance information as needed:
Is there any new content or business information that requires updating? For example, team members changing, further contact info, updated location, store hours, service offerings?
Create New or Update Content:
Periodically checking for (and fixing) broken links is an essential item on your website maintenance to-do list. It’s vital to fix them because broken links are unhelpful to website visitors and harmful to SEO.
A website reflects your best foot forward. Even if your site is relatively static, it’s smart to add engaging, high-quality content whenever possible. New content can provide a boost to your search rankings and keep readers coming back for more.
Top-notch and current images are crucial. Hire a professional to provide team photos and custom images. And, check out Stocksy; this Victoria, BC stock photography co-op has been making waves ever since its launch in 2013. Stocksy unique photo offerings challenge the traditional stock photo industry focusing on fair pay and creating sustainable careers for its co-op members.
Check your analytics:
If you’re already tracking your site with analytics, dig into them to figure out things like:
• Which pages on your site are the most popular
• Whether any of your pages have abnormally high bounce rates
• Which pages generate the most engagement
Use your findings to help cull dusty back-corner items.
Solicit feedback from your target audience:
When you’ve spent a lot of time working behind the scenes, you can forget what it feels like on the other side. It might be a difficult question, but it is one worth asking of your regular visitors to help you update your website and provide valuable insight.
Your website promotes your business 24/7:
It’s not enough to “JUST” have a website. It needs to look good; it needs to present information in an exact, accessible way. And your website needs to create a strong first impression.
Check out the competition:
Your audit isn’t complete without a visit to like-minded services in your community and across the world-wide-web. Keep a list of things you like – and don’t; it will help with your process.
Keeping up with the times is crucial:
The points above are only seven of many ways to keep your website updated, fresh, and appealing to visitors and regulars. We didn’t even touch on the technical behind-the-scenes aspects that would benefit your site’s performance. Remember, to stay competitive, your site needs to keep up with the times of both looks and functionality.
If you’re too busy or lacking the necessary skills – perhaps it’s time to call in an expert. Resolving to dig in a little deeper and updating your website now – will pay dividends for the year ahead!