Spring is here! Birds are chirping, the river is flowing and people are starting the annual Spring cleaning of their yards and homes by getting rid of a lot of old and unwanted items to make room for the new. Now is also the perfect time for businesses to take a fresh look at some Website Spring Cleaning Tips to make sure they are clean, tidy, and mobile friendly so that it's ready for visitors day or night!
Even if you have a newer site, we recommend running a few tests to make sure it is a healthy, user friendly site! Technology advances in leaps and bounds, and like a car, a website requires ongoing maintenance to get the most out of its life.
TIP #8 - TEST YOUR MOBILE FRIENDLINESS
With so much web browsing being done on smart phones and tablets, you want to make sure that those visitors have just as easy of a time navigating your website as people on their desktops and laptops. Not only will Google start rewarding you, mobile or responsive websites will keep the interest of people who are inspired to check out your website on the go and keep you from losing potential leads and customers.
Test Your Mobile Friendliness:
Google has excellent tools to check your mobile friendliness, like this one: Mobile Friendly Test
Did your site get a passing grade? Then hooray-awesomesauce! On to the next test!
If it was, um, not so great, then it may be time to plan for a website update, or a complete renovation. And like any reno, it takes a great team, planning, blueprints, and a budget to get great results! Be sure to contact us if you have any questions regarding thy mobile website test or upgrading your website.
TIP #7 - WEBSITE SPEED TEST
Time management is crucial and once landing on your webpage, visitors are really impatient to get the job done. Proper speed is a truly important feature of site usability, and also one of the main reasons why visitors would leave your website and move on to another.
Guess who else looks at your page speed...Google! That's right, the speed at which your site loads greatly affects search engine rankings, so speed it up! Make sure that your website loads within 4 to 6 seconds. Test your website now with this simple tool from Google:
Test Your Website Load Speed:
Check this other helpful tool from Google: Google Website Speed Test
So how did the test go, did you get gold stars? Happy dance!!
Slow load times? Here are some suggestions to keep your page load times quick. Or of course, contact us and we'll let you know exactly how we can help.
✓ Limit/avoid large videos, photos, flash, and other files
Tempted to make the website more enticing by adding multiple types of multimedia on a single page? This may cause the page to become slow to load. Think about which image/video best illustrates your message before rushing to integrate another 15 audio/video files.
✓ Compress to minimize load time
To speed up your website, best practice is to compress images and use the right file type. Resize images before uploading them. A piece of advice here: Do not resize images using height and width attributes in your code but using Photoshop or another photo editing tool.
✓ Reduce the number of redirects where possible
There is a risk that with time some pages become outdated or altered by new versions. As a result, some external links keep pointing to the old pages.
There are many factors that can negatively affect the loading time of your website - from poor hosting services to technical issues with code - and the biggest speed killer... large image sizes.
If you are not happy with the results of your website speed check - we can help. From blazing fast hosting servers, super efficient content management systems and the latest technology - we can ensure your site loads fast.
TIP #6 - CHECK YOUR CONTENT
Just like giving your house, garage or car a good cleaning, it is important to not let your site go stale. Set aside a half hour or an hour this week to try to run through this tidy up checklist for website updates. By cleaning up your site you will renew returning visitors interest in your website. You will also have fresh updates to share on your social media.
Tidy Up Checklist For Website Updates
Review and Update:
- The copyright date in the footer of your website
- The "News" - has it been updated lately, or is it old news?
- Your events calendar or events page - are upcoming events noted?
- Your newsletter archive - is the latest version available?
- Your "About Us" page - have key stats, numbers or staff changed?
- The "Contact Us" and team bios - are these up-to-date with correct names and contact info?
TIP #5 - TUNE UP THE MACHINE
Your website operates like a fine tuned machine when everything is working well. When it is not, well.... Take some time this week to check in on the working parts of your site, or check with your web design company to see if they offer a maintenance package to ensure the continued smooth functioning of your site.
Check and test:
- Forms - Your donation form, membership application form, employment application, etc.
- Automatic Emails - Are they working and do they have updated contact information, dates, etc.?
- Plugins - Are they all up to date with the latest versions?
- RSS Feed - Sign up to ensure it's working.
- Social Media Widgets or Links - Ensure your content is "sharable".
- Broken Links - You can use free link checker software to scan your website to identify broken links and error codes (404 Page Not Found). (e.g., Link checker from the World Wide Web Consortium or Broken Link Check)
- Blog - If you have a blog, are comments working? Should older posts have comments closed (to prevent spam issues)?
- Tracking - is your Google Analytics account still tracking data so you can see how your website is performing?
Should any of the above sound too "technical", feel free to give us a call and ask, "What the heck is a widget?" We'd love to help!
Tip #4 - CUSTOMIZE BASED ON DATA
Now is the time to add some polish or gloss to your site! With a little research (Google Analytics is your friend) you can tailor your content (text, images, video) to your audience and make sure they love what they see on your site and keep coming back for more which in turn leads to more sales!
Here is a checklist to help you make your content sparkle and shine:
- Determine the pages most visited and take a peek at them to see what people like about them
- Consider adding links or keywords to least visited pages
- Look at pages that have not been updated recently - is content still applicable?
Don't have Google Analytics installed on your website? Have Google Analytics, but don't know which charts help you improve your website? Get professional assistance from experienced Google Analytics pros.
We monitor Google Analytics for over 100 client websites, large and small, in many different industries. In fact, we manage data for hundreds of thousands of visitors each month! We can create meaningful reports on the performance of your website from your Google Analytics, and provide recommendations for specific strategies to increase your digital marketing results! We'd love to help! Contact us to set up an appointment with our Digital Marketing Manager.
TIP #3 - ADD FRESH CONTENT
Content is KING. The purpose of utilizing content marketing in your digital marketing strategy is to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience. Creating fresh content for your website is an investment that can generate sales today, improve your website traffic tomorrow, and serve to draw in new leads and customers for years to come.
Own Your Website Traffic Instead of Renting It.
Good content is the cornerstone of Search Engine Optimization and also the key to generating leads and sales over the internet. (Not sure what SEO is? Check our blog)
We recently did some search engine specific content updates to a local insurance broker's website in Morris, and as a result, Rempel Insurance now ranks #1 on Google for searches on "Manitoba Trucking Insurance"! We can help your business too.
Plan your future content to implement keyword strategies that are unique to the needs of your business. Research keyword phrases that your competitors are having success with. Group them, study them.
After identifying the best payday keyword opportunities, it's time to plan for weekly or monthly content updates to systematically integrate the new phrases into the new content throughout the website.
By adding blogging into your digital marketing strategy, you're creating possibilities of ranking for a range of keyword phrases.
Top Suggestions for adding fresh content:
- Create or update your content calendar. We can help you develop a content strategy across your website (including your blog), and other digital marketing channels (e.g., email newsletter, social media, etc.).
- Check in on your forum, bulletin board or community website - create a new message or thread.
- Add some new photos to your website and share on social media.
- Upload a new video on Youtube and on Facebook.
- Add some new customer testimonials or member recommendations. If you don't have any recent versions, ask for them - follow up with your happy clients!
- Launch a quick poll or online survey.
- Re-purpose existing content (e.g., any articles, recent event presentations or company documents that may be appropriate).
Learn More About Content Marketing
Online digital marketing and traditional offline marketing, should be considered as two laces that tie the same shoe, and must coordinate with the real-world interaction of a customer buying a product or service with your business. Learn more about how website content effects your online marketing.
If your business would like some help to develop a creative content marketing plan that includes keyword research, an SEO plan, and a marketing calendar to engage with influencers, prospects, and customers in your industry - contact us.
TIP #2 - A CALL TO ACTION!
What are the main goals of your website? Ultimately, you want your web visitors to take some action: connect up with your email list or social media, sign up for a product or service demo, book a service appointment, or purchase a product.
No matter the goals of your website, your "calls-to-action" need to be blindingly visible. Keep them 'above-the-fold' so they won't be missed. If users have to hunt for your call to action, you will never reach your goals.
Is your call to action message clear?
If you are looking for users to sign up to your newsletter list, don't just say "Sign up for our Newsletter". Think about it, would you sign up for something you had no clue about? People want to know "What's in it for them?".
Give them a brief list of why they WANT to sign up for the newsletter. Maybe you provide product tips or special sale items that are only found in your newsletter. Let them know that. Give them a reason to sign up!
Is it easy for folks to share?
Are social sharing buttons or links - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. - easy to find and use?
Is there a clear invitation for visitors to get involved in a conversation?
People always have something to say, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You want users participating in forums or commenting on blogs, so how they do this needs to be very clear. For a deeper example, read this Little Know Way to Market Locally with Twitter.
Do you sell products online? Is it easy to complete a purchase and find reviews?
If you are an online shopper, think about how you make a buying decision. I guarantee you that ratings or reviews are a huge influence. Make sure if you have an e-commerce website that the product ratings are clearly visible as well as the way to review the product. Still not getting customers to review your product? Send them an email a few weeks after buying the product with a simple 1 to 5 stars to rate the product right then and there.
TIP #1 - UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE!
If your website is looking tired and neglected, it may need more than a cleaning - it could need a little refresh. But this is something that will take some planning and forethought.
Get organized: Is key information easy to find? If not, step back and decide if what you need is a re-write or if the problem stems from your navigation that good web design could fix.
Check for clarity: Have an objective person read through your content to proof-read (for typos, unnecessary jargon or "sector-speak") and clean-up or tighten up your key content. Design your website for your customers, not your business.
Freshen web design: Take some time to think about what your website's design conveys and whether there are some small changes that might make it more welcoming or easier to use (e.g., a different font or fewer typefaces? A new background colour? Additional images, etc.). Just remember - plan website revisions carefully since some small changes might end up having a domino effect and lead to a major overhaul!
We hope our Spring Cleaning tips now have your website in tip-top shape! A clean, SEO friendly, easy to navigate website full of fresh content will bring in the right audience and start to send the traffic through the virtual or brick and mortar doors!
If you know your website could use some freshening up, but you just never seem to get the time to do it - we would like to help you get started.
To learn more about what we can accomplish for your business's digital marketing and web design, call us at (204) 746-6177.
What Are Your Goals?
Looking ahead, we focus in on tips for planting the seeds for business growth, so get ready to join us! Just remember, fields and gardens don't flourish overnight, they take preparation, attention, care, and patience. Only then are you rewarded with a bountiful harvest! Stay tuned for more brilliant business tips.
We LOVE to help! Our Team is focused on helping businesses BE BIG online! We offer free consultations with our Creative Director and Digital Marketing Manager in order to offer you ideas on how to best grow your online presence and build valuable assets for digital marketing.