You know what it’s like when you visit a familiar website and it’s obviously undergone a makeover. Your reaction is probably mixed. You might grumble at first because content has been moved to a different place, and you can’t find it as quickly. But then you think, Hey. This looks a lot better. There’s new stuff, and that old, tired stuff is gone.
What’s your website maintenance schedule like? If you don’t have one, or if it’s been awhile since you took a broom to your online real estate, this is a great time to start planning for a spring cleaning and re-launch. The holidays and the Super Bowl are over, everyone’s tired of winter, and your visitors would probably appreciate something new and fresh from you about the time the snow is finally melting and there are signs of life in the trees.
So how do you attack this chore? Little by little, as you have time these next couple of months. There’s a lot you can start doing right now in preparation for your renovation.
- Give old content the heave-ho. More isn’t always better where websites are concerned. Look at every page and decide whether it really speaks to your customers and prospects right now, in 2015. Old isn’t necessarily bad, but if you’re hanging on to old pages because you think it makes your site look flush, mark it for the graveyard — or at least update it.
- Evaluate your visuals. The rise in popularity of Instagram is one indication of how important visual content is — at least to millenials. Even if your company targets an older crowd, it’s become a short attention-span world. Say whatever you can with pictures and video. It will have more impact than text, and it can be absorbed quickly by your audience. Just be sure that your visuals are sending the right messages.
- Find a place for your contact information on every page. If it’s not there already, make sure that your email address, chat links, phone numbers — every communication channel you make available — are impossible to miss.
- Test your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Use a search engine on multiple computers to search for your company name, product or service names, keywords, location, etc. If you’re not on the first page or two, you’re unlikely to pick up new customers through web searches. If you don’t know much about it, hire someone. It’s that important.
- Check for consistency. As you browse from page to page on your site, is your look uniform? Or does it feel like you’ve wandered onto a different site sometimes? Even if you’re a small business, you need to establish your brand and constantly reinforce it in your audience’s minds. This goes beyond your logo and fonts and graphical style. You need to have the same voice, the same approach to problems (your customers’) and solutions (yours) throughout all of your social content.
- Look objectively at your “look.” Spend some time browsing sites hosted by companies that have a lot of money and teams of web designers. You can’t compete with them, but be the best that you can be. Remember the short attention-span thing. You have to grab them fast, and your overall design is a critical part of that process. Hire an independent design firm if you can’t rustle up the skills from your staff.
Don’t touch a thing on your site until you’re ready to implement everything simultaneously if it’s feasible. But do give your customers a pleasant spring surprise.