Your website is the first interaction that many customers will have with you. It is the digital face of your brand. It tells the world who you are, what you do, and why they should do business with you. So why are you ignoring it?
Setting aside some time each week, month, and quarter to revisit your website and make updates where needed can help you rank higher in search engines, reach more customers, and ultimately increase your profits. How can you keep your website fresh without hiring an entire web marketing department? Here are nine tips.
1. Keep content up-to-date and relevant.
There are few things less appealing to new website visitors than a homepage filled with links to articles and blogs that are months out of date. Failing to keep your content updated leaves you with irrelevant (read: useless) information clogging your website, and gives visitors the impression that you are either out-of-touch or careless. In order to combat this, be sure to update the “company news” and blog sections of your website at least monthly — but preferably weekly.
2. Update your social media, too.
We’re here today to talk about your website, not your social media accounts, but the truth is that there is no way to completely separate the two. Your website probably features links to your social media accounts prominently (if it doesn’t, stop reading this and go add them!), so keeping those accounts updated and interesting is an important part of having an effective website as well. If a user goes from your website to your Facebook page only to find that it is inactive, they might question how active the business is as a whole.
3. Check everything, all the time.
Browsers, operating systems, devices, and even programming languages and content management systems (CMS) update all the time. As a result, something that functions seamlessly on your personal computer might be a mess on your customer’s phone or an updated version of a tried-and-true browser. Check regularly to be sure that your site looks and acts properly on as many different devices and browsers as possible.
In addition, every link and form on your site should be tested quarterly at the minimum, but preferably much more frequently.
Links can sometimes break as a result of a website redesign or changes to coding or CMS platforms. Check that links to your own site, as well as outside links are functioning properly and take your readers to the intended URL. Links to outside websites especially can change or be removed without your knowledge, and leading your visitors to a 404 error is never desirable.
It is especially important that every form on your website is easy-to-use and functions properly. Forms are a way for visitors to initiate contact with you or give you the input that you request from them, so any errors in their functionality could easily result in you losing a customer or lead.
4. Create a blog.
Some companies struggle to update their websites because their business does not change much. If you’re selling the same product or service through the years, you may not think that you have anything new to say. Creating a blog gives you a platform to communicate with your visitors on a regular basis in a tone that can be more friendly and casual than the one you use to market or describe your products. A blog can be about anything, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A “day in the life” of your CEO or other employees
- “How-to” tips that your customers would find useful
- Industry news and observations
- Coverage of an event that your business sponsored or attended
- An interview with a customer
A blog is a great tool for forming relationships with your customers — just make sure you keep it updated.
5. Check out the competition.
When you aren’t sure what updates you should make on your site, visit the websites of your competitors for some inspiration. Check out which of their social media posts and blog articles get the most engagement, and compare the layouts of their sites to yours. Don’t just look at your direct competition, either; find comparable businesses from all over the country to see how people in your industry are representing themselves online.
6. Add images and graphics.
No one likes to open a website to get some quick information and be confronted with a dreaded “wall of text.” Providing your visitors with visually interesting photographs and useful infographics can save them time and frustration, and save you the headache of coming up with new content.
7. Incorporate share buttons.
We mentioned keeping your social media accounts up-to-date earlier, but you also have to make sure it’s easy for your website visitors to find you on social media, as well as share your posts to their own pages easily and quickly. When other people share your link, it not only gives you free exposure to their followers, it can also help to boost your Google search rankings organically. There is no downside to encouraging social sharing on your website: it’s a win-win for you.
8. Check your analytics.
To give your visitors the best experience on your website, you should be checking in with your analytics regularly. Among other metrics, website analytics can tell you how people are finding your website, and what they do once they get to it. You can use this information to inform your overall digital strategy and improve visitors’ experience.
9. Delete obsolete materials.
It may sound counterintuitive to delete pages and articles from your website altogether. In general, it is recommended to update your old articles with good links and statistics — especially those that are high-performing and still get clicks. In some cases, however, articles may be too out-of-date to be of use and may take longer to update than they’re worth. If you have pages that are irrelevant and rarely bring in any traffic, it might be time to clear the clutter on your site by hitting the “delete” button.
For more tips on managing your web presence, including websites, social media, e-mail marketing, SEO and more, contact us today!