Time to spring clean your website?
When was the last time you put specific time aside to review and improve your website? When first setting up a website a huge amount of time and effort goes into its design and function. However, once up and running smoothly we tend to breathe a sigh of relief and get on with all the other demands associated with a small business. It’s all too easy to get complacent and before you realise a significant amount of time has lapsed without any proper review taking place.
In the world of business nothing stands still for long so it is essential your website evolves and develops to accurately reflect the current environment. It is essential you put proper time aside to take a fresh, objective look at your website, rid yourself of out-of-date content and implement any necessary improvements.
Revisit the core principles of a successful website
Creating a positive and engaging online experience for your customer is at the heart of a successful website. So when you are giving your site an overview it is a good idea to revisit some of the key elements of good website design. You probably considered most of these when you initially set up your website however they provide a solid base from which to start your review. As it currently stands does your website tick all of the following boxes?
Navigation. Is it easy for visitors to navigate your website? Are they able to find the information they are looking for within a few simple clicks?
Design and layout. Does your website make a good first impression? Are your pages simple, clear and visually appealing?
Usability. How quickly does your website load? Can a customer to complete a specific action easily?
Credibility. Does your website have enough trust signposts to make a visitor feel secure about completing a transaction or imparting personal information?
Accessibility. Can your website be viewed equally well from a mobile, tablet or desktop? Is your website accessible to everyone irrespective of any disabilities they may have?
Content. Is you content up-to-date, relevant and engaging to your target audience and does it accurately reflect your business?
7 top tips to make the most of your online presence
75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design
1. Out with the old. Nothing is more off-putting to a visitor than information that is out-of-date. It shrieks unprofessional and does little to enhance the credibility of your site. Have a thorough read through of all your content and check everything is current and correct. For example check for:
- Broken links
- Policies – such as terms and conditions or delivery and returns
- Expired discount codes and vouchers
Update or get rid of any information that is out of date or no longer relevant.
2. Focus on content. As we’ve said many-a-time content is central to the success of your website and critical to how you are viewed by search engines. So it is important to objectively review your existing content:
- Is your content still relevant to your target audience and will it engage them?
- Have you included a good mix of relevant and natural keywords and key-phrases (absolutely do not keyword or key phrase stuff – neither visitors or search engines will appreciate it)
- Is it concise, clear and to the point?
- Does it accurately reflect your business?
- What needs updating and what could be improved?
- Look for any gaps in content. For example do you have enough visual content such as images and videos?
3. Is your website search engine optimised? Make sure you are doing all you can to make your website inviting to search engines. If you have lots of pages it can be easy to forget to add-in search engine friendly information on each page. So it’s worth going through and checking any pages you’ve missed or that could be improved. Part of Search Engine Optimisation involves making lots of small adjustments to individual pages to make it easier for search engines to understand the content of your website. We mentioned keywords and key phrases earlier, but also look at:
Page Titles. These usually appears in the first line of a search engine’s results page. Ensure your title tags accurately reflect the content of each individual page. Try to keep them short, relevant and to the point.
Description Meta Tags. These give the search engines and users an overview of your page. They are usually a short paragraph containing one or two sentences. Have a unique description for each page and try to make them informative and interesting.
URL’s. Your URL’s should be relevant to the content of each page and should be simple for search engines and users to understand.
For further reading on SEO checkout these two excellent free resources:
4. What are your analytics telling you? Web analytics are there to help you so use them. For example you may notice some pages may have a significantly higher bounce rate than expected. This may indicate a problem so it needs to be investigated. It could be that the content may not be relevant, the page may be confusing or there is no obvious call to action. You can then address the problem and implement the necessary changes.
5. Is your website multi-device friendly? You may have a fantastic website but does it view equally well on any device? Remember 80% of internet users now own a smartphone. A successful online presence includes being able to offer a positive user experience so ensure your small business website is accessible to everyone no matter the device they are using.
If you’re not already set up consider responsive design. This essentially adapts your website to fit the device on which it is being viewed without having to create a numerous device specific websites.
6. Curb appeal. Make your website as visually appealing as possible to users. Go through each page and check that the layout is straightforward and the page looks clean and clutter free. Research indicates that white space is good and relevant supporting visuals are essential.
7. In with the new. Having reviewed your online offering and implemented any of the necessary changes, have a think about what else you can add to further enhance your small business’ online presence. Are there any obvious gaps in content? For example try:
- Setting up a blog
- Adding in customer reviews and testimonials
- Growing your visual content such as including more video’s and infographics
Check out other successful websites, both competitors and non-competitors, it’s a great way to get ideas and inspiration.
These are just a few ways to help ensure your small business website remains successful in terms of both user experience and search engine optimisation. Do try to put specific time aside for giving your website a review and remember regular checking really will help you keep on top of things.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on reviewing your online presence, so do please leave a comment.
Success image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net