When was the last time you updated your website?
It saddens me to say that I have many clients who have all but abandoned their website once it was launched. They either get too busy to think about it or worse, don't realize how important it is to the success of their business.
Remember your website is out there promoting you and your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. So if you're one of those people that never gave your website a second thought once it went live, then please keep reading.
First of all, your business website is not a static brochure.
It should be a living, breathing document that is an accurate reflection of your business. But it's easy to get caught up in the daily activities of running your business and forget to review your website regularly.
If you can't remember the last time you did a website update, let's just say you are overdue.
Here are some of the top things you need to do to update on your website to keep it running smoothly and ensuring you are not sending your visitors to your competitors:
1) Broken Link Check. If you have any kind of hyperlinks on your website, there are bound to be some that are broken. Broken Link Check is a free service that reviews your site to notify you of broken links that need fixing.
2) Customize Your 404 Page. Speaking of broken links, if you have a link to a page on your own site that no longer exists, it will direct visitors to what's called a 404 page.
This page is created as a default page whether you use WordPress or some other means to build your site. And it looks ugly so it's important to customize this page and make good use of it.
You can have your webmaster ensure it matches the look and feel of your website and put a custom message on there, directing people back to your home page, show how to connect with you on social media, and offer an opt-in freebie to capture the lead.
3) Fix Typos. Nothing looks more unprofessional than having typos on your web page. Often they are hard to spot yourself because we read what we think it should say instead of what is actually there.
Typosaurus is a great free tool to help you spot those pesky spelling errors and get them fixed ASAP before you turn off any more visitors. Those first impressions are powerful and count towards whether someone will buy from you or not.
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4) Improve Navigation. Keeping website navigation simple and intuitive is important. You want customers to find all the most important information without having to hunt around and look for it.
Keep it simple: Use clear wording that your visitors will understand. And consider drop down menus to keep like pages grouped together and organized.
5) Ensure Mobile Responsiveness. If your website is not designed to display well on smart phones and smaller screens, it's costing you traffic and valuable leads.
Many potential customers do their searching on their devices in between appointments, while watching TV, and pretty much all the time. We are often asked to convert older websites into being mobile friendly (or it is often time for a whole new look and feel) so the same could be done for your site too.
If you haven't checked and ensured your website is mobile friendly yet, put it at the top of your to do list! Every day you don't, it's costing you sales.
6) Update the Staff Page. Turnover happens so it's important to regularly review your staff page. Check to see if you need to add new hire, remove old ones, and update bios and headshots.
7) Correct Contact Info. Make sure your address, email, phone, and fax numbers are up to date. The last thing you want is a potential client trying to reach you and are getting a wrong number!
Add a link to your business on Google Maps too so people can find your business easily.
8) Add Social Links. Place social media icons that click to your business channels prominently on the home page so prospects can connect with you that way.
Also be sure to put social sharing links on your blog so people can quickly and easily share your blog content with their social media followers.
9) Update the Look and Feel. Has your ideal target market or brand image changed since you last updated your website? Or perhaps it's time for a fresh new look that is more up to date?
I encounter many websites that look old and deserted. The immediate impression I get is that the business is either shut down or they don't care about the professional impression they are giving their visitors.
So if your website was built more than 3 or 4 years ago, the chances are good that it's time for a new, fresh look that positions your business in a better light.
10) Copywriting Update. It's important to review the content on your website. Is it too long? Is it truly compelling? Does it have proper calls to action? Is it really reflective of your brand message?
The text and images on your site are extremely important when trying to convert website visitors into paying customers.
It might be time to hire someone to take a look at the copywriting on your site and ensure it's giving the right message to the right people.
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
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