Extend Spring Cleaning Chores to Your Website

It’s probably long past the time to review your online presence and see how you stack up against the competition.

Extend Spring Cleaning Chores to Your Website

Interested in Business?

Get Business articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Business + Get Alerts

Almost every business could use some website spring cleaning. Even a well-managed website eventually needs to be revamped with an updated interface, fresh design, improved functionality and a reorganization of content. 

As your products and services evolve, some of the web copy on your site might be inaccurate, requiring some updating. Maybe you are still using outdated search engine optimization techniques that are hurting where you are showing up in the search results.

Thankfully, you can address all of these problems with a simple tidying up. So, let’s get into the spirit of the spring season and do a cleaning! Here’s how I go about doing website updates for my clients (and me, to be honest).

WEBSITE AUDIT

How long has it been since you’ve gone through your own website? Chances are that it’s been a while. Most people go through everything once their site is complete and rarely do it again. However, over the years, links to pages can break, images can vanish and security measures that protect you from hackers can become outdated. Your SEO score might be dragging you down because you haven’t updated your search techniques. Or you might be asking yourself, SEO, what’s that? Or how do I do that? 

Before diving deep into your site, you want to do a quick tour. From the home page, click around the site, checking out pages to see if they flow into each other logically. Don’t profoundly analyze everything; just try to take in the general user experience. Come at it from the point of view of a new customer. Are you able to navigate your website with ease? Is the information where you would expect it to be? Is there anything that makes you go, “Hey, why isn’t that working?” 

Your main goal is to find out, when someone pops into your website, do they know who you are, what you do, how that benefits them, and is there a call to action where they can easily see it? You only have a few seconds to hook someone when they land on your website, so this is imperative. 

Then as an experiment, go to the website of your biggest competitor and do the exact same thing: take a tour of their site. What kind of user experience are they offering their customers? If it blows yours out of the water, then you know you need some help.

There are also parts of a website audit that you might not have experience in. For example, do you know how the back end of your website works? If not, you might be missing critical security updates or new features that will keep your website looking and functioning at its best. For this you might want to seek professional help. 

After your tours/audits, you will know just how much needs to change on your website for the refresh.

HOME PAGE TWEAKS

Unless you created your website more than five years ago, your home page is probably in reasonably decent shape with a sufficiently modern design. However, there’s probably still lots of room for improvement.

First, take a look at the top of the home page. This is the first thing that your customers will see when they go to your website. What kind of impression does the top of the main page make? Would it make a potential customer want to know more? 

The next place you want to look is at your small business logo in the upper-left corner of the page. This logo not only keeps your branding front of mind, but it also usually doubles as a “home” button to get visitors back to the home page. It might be the single most crucial component of your website, which is why I’m constantly amazed how many small business owners leave it as an afterthought. Are you still happy with your logo?

Finally, carefully read through all of the copy on your home page. Don’t skim it; really delve in. If there is too much, the average person isn’t going to read it. On the flip side of the coin, having too little will result in them thinking that you don’t offer the solutions they need. Either way, they’re going to click off and look for your competitor’s site instead. 

Thankfully, there is a happy medium when it comes to home page web copy. My preference is story-driven, personality-infused web copy. You want your copy to be about your reader, not about you. It needs to tell a story to pull them in and then hook them with all of your amazing benefits. 

LOOKING AROUND

One of the first things a visitor will do when they land on your website is to look at the navigation bar to scan what you offer. That’s why you need to have everything they need logically laid out right at the top of your home page. You don’t want to provide too many choices because they might get confused about where to go first. Similarly, giving them only one or two options will leave the impression that you have a barebones site with no actual content to offer. 

My personal recommendation is that you need at least five basic links in the navbar: About, Services, Blog, Testimonials and Contact Us. If you want to expand on any of those topics, it’s best to build drop-down menus rather than add way more links to the top of your website. On the whole, these five categories are pretty standard, providing most users what they’re looking for 

The more free content you offer, such as blog posts, the more you will have to provide potential customers. But over time, your blog page can start to get a bit cluttered. Make sure all of the links to your blogs still work. This process can be time-consuming, depending on how many blogs you have, but well worth it. A “Page Not Found” message might as well be a red light flashing at users, telling them to look elsewhere for a service provider.

Next, how is the organization of your blogs? If you  have a few years’ worth, then the older ones are probably buried under a ton of other content. You never want to clutter your “Blog” page with countless links, so I recommend using a grid pattern to keep them organized. 

Finally, how dated are your blogs? A blog you wrote about back in 2015 could be hopelessly outdated. Going through these old blogs and renovating them with updated information will make sure that the information on your website is accurate. It also presents you with opportunities to post those old blogs as “new” content. 

SEO UPDATES

Another reason why you might want to update your old blogs is to make sure they are utilizing modern SEO techniques. Search engine optimization is one of those “magical” things that web developers talk about that confuses the average person, but it’s very simple. SEO should make it easy for people to find your content. You can help by creating high-quality content, using smart keywords and key phrases, regularly updating your website, and much more.  

Jennie Lyon is the owner/operator of Jennie Lyon Digital Marketing & Virtual Services. Learn more at www.jennielyon.com.



Discussion

Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.