Spring is in the air. Had you noticed? More smiles in the office, more enthusiasm in the mornings, welcome rays of sunshine streaming through the windows. It’s at this time of year we typically reach for the dusting and polishing cloths. Why should your website miss out? Good weather can lead to an increase in sales and inquiries, whatever your line of business, so it is important to make sure you’re on top of your online game.
Here at LeapGo, we’re always assisting clients with professional website design and development. While some online tasks need a dedicated specialist, there are many that can be tackled by any competent marketer, and they don’t need to take long. To help you, I’ve drawn up this handy guide to getting the most out of your website spring clean. Let’s go!
Section One – Your Website Home Page
As your front door to the online world, your home page deserves all the attention you can give it. First impressions matter!
Content: Have a quick read through of all the text on your home page. Check for any information that may have gone out of date, and remove or update it. Now is a good time to check that your “message” or company tagline is clearly visible. Does the home page allow a completely new visitor to your website to see how you can help them in five seconds or less? If not, is there a way you can do this?
Look at these two real-life examples to see what a difference this could make. These two companies both offer software to help automate purchase order processes and were found in response to a simple Google search. Which one do you think will convert more visitors into leads?
There’s really no contest. Example Two not only makes it clear how the company can help, they also give specific figures (how much money they save other companies like yours) and social proof (how many businesses have already signed up) and offer a free trial. Look at how the content works hard to convince you to find out more.
Images: Are images on your home page old and out of date? Why not replace them with some fresh ones to give your website a different feel in seconds? Make sure they are relevant, colorful, and engage the interest of your target market.
Copyright date: this is a very easy area to overlook, but ensuring your copyright date is showing the current year is essential. If you still have “2015” on the footer, visitors will start to wonder whether everything else they read on your business website is current and correct!
Latest Posts/Latest News: How recent and up-to-date are these?! Again, ensuring that there are some posts from 2016 will help give a good impression.
Menu Bar: Are all the links working? Is the menu quick and easy to understand, or are there too many items on there? Could some be removed and placed in a sub-menu?
Call to Action: Could this be clearer, or better placed? Ensuring your home page has a clear CTA that works perfectly is essential to convert the maximum number of visitors into leads.
Links to other sites and social profiles: Do these work correctly? Are all your social media profiles linked? (At a minimum, visitors would expect to see links to your Facebook and Twitter pages.)
Section Two: Your Website “About” Page
Often overlooked, the “About” page is actually very important to your website’s success. You need to think about why people have come to your company site. Sure, they need solutions to their problems – but why should they trust your organization to deliver these solutions? Savvy marketers know an “About” page is a perfect opportunity to tell a story. You can tell the history of the company in a timeline, show actual photos of your team and (if appropriate) your offices – visitors want to be reassured that you are an actual company, staffed by actual humans!
Other “About” page items to check for:
- Team bios – has anyone left or joined since this page was last updated?
- Some non-business stuff – come on, we’re all human! Fun facts such as the name of your office dog, the ways that staff like to relax when off duty, hobbies and outside-work accomplishments – these all help to build a great user relationship with visitors to your site
- Links to personal LinkedIn profiles as well as a company LinkedIn page – again, important to check these all work if they are already present
- Links to some of your most popular pages or some of your best work
Section Three: Your Website “Contact Us” Page
Obvious, really, but it’s so easy for this page to become out of date. A very simple page, but just make sure it does what any visitor might need of it;
- Phone – are the numbers given still correct and current?
- Department contact information – if you have different contact details for different parts of your business, e.g. accounts, customer service, transport…..here is a good place to share that information!
- If you have a showroom or store, do you have an embedded Google Maps function to make it as easy as possible for people to locate you?
- An email address is not a substitute for a contact form. You should ideally offer both so people can choose how they wish to contact you, and test the form to make sure it still works!
- It’s becoming more common to have live chat functionality, but sometimes this is overlooked on contact pages. I’d recommend you include that option too if it’s available.
- Also, consider linking websites of other companies that stock your brand, or that might be useful to your visitors. A good example is the website of an emergency locksmith that also links to recommended emergency plumbers, electricians, and carpenters.
Section Four: Overall functionality
Even if everything worked fine the last time you checked it, it might not any longer! Things to test:
- RSS feed
- All forms – email newsletter sign up, application form, etc.
- Social media plugins and widgets
- Comment spam filters
- Comment moderation queues
- Plugin updates
- Shopping cart and payment processing software – test purchases all the way through on a variety of devices
- Social share buttons on posts
- Comment sections on posts
Also, consider closing down comments on older posts to avoid issues with spam.
Section Five: New Content
Regularly adding fresh, original content to your website is like putting high-octane fuel into your car. Content creation is rarely easy, but always rewarding. Here are some ideas to power up your new content brainstorming session:
- Recent testimonials
- New case studies
- Awards won
- Charities donated to
- New product lines
- Staff news
- Upcoming events
- An interview with the company founder
- Staff spotlight e.g. (“a day in the life of our warehouse manager”)
- Blog posts – obviously!
- Re-purpose some old content, bringing it up to date and moving it into the spotlight
- Create and promote a new lead magnet
Instead of keeping the content creation within the marketing department of your business, consider inviting contributions (or, at least, suggestions) from all of the team! You never know what ability you might uncover….
Section Six: Bringing It All Together
Just like spring cleaning at the home or office, tasks like these might be easy to put off, but once begun they can become hard to put down! Your website will thrive with regular care and attention. As marketers, we have multiple demands on our time, and the small details (such as updating the copyright date on the footer) can easily be overlooked. Taken together, these little things can have a big impact on your website’s effectiveness, so it’s well worth setting aside a block of time to go through these suggestions and ensure a successful 2016!
If you found this to be a useful resource, why not share it with your network? And remember, if you get stuck with anything, here at LeapGo we’re always ready to jump in and help with anything related to website development or professional web design. If you are serious about online marketing, why not get in touch and experience our enthusiasm and passion for yourself?