Websites, like all of us, need some care and attention.
And the new year is a great time to have a little refresh. Self improvement is often top of the agenda at this time of year and your website shouldn’t feel left out. The benefits can be huge!
We’re all busy and a new website is a big undertaking. But a refresh doesn’t need to take long. Set aside a few hours and your website can be fresh and sparkly in no time at all.
A refresh is great for visitors to your website. There’s nothing worse than seeing a website that clearly hasn’t been touched for years (blog posts dated 2016 anyone???). You wonder if they’re still in business. And, if they are, you wonder whether they give their clients the same love and attention they give their business…
It is also good for your search engine rankings. Google likes fresh content. Again, it sees it as a sign you’re a business that takes its website seriously.
When you’re busy what should you do to give your website a refresh?
1. Update/rearrange images
Updating images is one of the quickest and easiest things you can do to update the look and feel of your website.
Images convey emotions far better than words. A picture paints a thousand words as they say. Does the image at the top of the homepage give your visitors the right impression of your business? Or is there another image that can do it better?
If your business is seasonal then changing the images to reflect the time of year is even more important. But even if it isn’t, a summery pic might not be the “right” one to use for the best impression in the depths of winter.
It’s not just the image at the top of the homepage, but go through the most visited pages (use Google Analytics to tell you what they are). If you have new images you can use, great, but if not then change around the ones you have. It’s a bit like rearranging the furniture in your lounge!!
This doesn’t need to take long. And remember it is only worth doing on pages which are regularly visited.
2. Add new testimonials
Testimonials (or reviews) should also be regularly revisited. Our blog post 5 of the Best Kind of Testimonials is all about the kind of testimonials that you should use.
As our business changes, the kind of clients we want to attract and the kind of work we want to do (and be known for) changes, the testimonials we use should change too. They need to reflect the kind of clients we want to work with and the kind of work we want to do (as well as being complimentary too). It’s also worth thinking about reasons people have not chosen to work with you recently and whether you have any testimonials which counter those objections. Definitely add those.
Needless to say testimonials should be relatively up to date too. You can get away with a few that are 2 – 3 years old provided others are more up to date (and I always recommend that a few are from the last six months at least).
And if you don’t have up to date testimonials? Then use this time to ask for them. Seriously, if clients have been pleased with the job you have done for them they’re usually very happy to provide a testimonial/review (if you ask nicely!). You can always help them by suggesting the kind of thing you would love (or giving them examples). While you’re at it, ask them if they will post it on Google My Business, LinkedIn or another platform too. They really help your business!
3. Remove plugins, images, pages, etc that aren’t being used
Unused plugins or features (if you have a Wix or Squarespace website), images, pages etc that aren’t being used slow down your website with absolutely no benefit whatsoever. So delete them!
If you have a WordPress or Shopify website, unused plugins can also cause code conflicts. Making your website a bit more glitchy.
Start with plugins or features. Start by going through and deleting ones that you know aren’t being used. You should backup your website before you do this of course!
Do the same with pages. Do you have any drafts that are no longer relevant? Or sales pages that you know you’re never going to use again? Delete them. Ideally if you’re deleting a live page you should add a redirect so if anyone types that page into their browser, or if anyone has linked to it, then they’ll be redirected to a relevant page rather than getting a “page not found” notice.
And then look at images. Which ones are clogging up your media library and not being used or unlikely ever to be used? Delete them. That’s one job I’m doing on my website over the holidays. I know, bundle of fun that I am!
If you have more time you can look at whether the plugins or features you do use are really needed. I recently rebuilt a website that was using 29 plugins. We’re down to 7. Many self built websites are full of plugins that just aren’t needed, but it can be an easy option to add a plugin if there’s something you need to do. Going through plugins to see if there is a better solution can be time consuming but is ultimately healthier for your website.
4. Update dates and other stats (copyright, years in business, etc)
The start of a new year is a good time to think about the dates that are used on a website.
Update your copyright notice in the footer of your website. Look at any other dates. Do you talk about the number of years you have been in business or doing what you do? Does that need updating?
Are there any other stats? Like number of people you have helped, number of projects you have worked on? Update those too.
5. Update plugins, theme, wordpress
If you have a wordpress website make sure all your plugins, theme and wordpress itself is up to date. We do that for all clients on our website maintenance plan (which is only available for websites we have built – sorry!). And it is vitally important for the health of your website. Most websites that get hacked are using plugins, themes and/or a version of wordpress that have not been updated.
If you are doing it yourself, make sure you back up your website first in case of a problem. Then update plugins, followed by your theme and then wordpress – checking at each step that your website is fine. Don’t worry if it has been a while, updating is highly unlikely to “break” your website. And if there is a problem, go back to the backup and start again – checking after each plugin is updated so you can see where the problem is. You can then miss out updating that plugin and update everything else.
6. Update an old blog post
Ideally you’d write a new blog post (and certainly please don’t let me stop you!) but sometimes you don’t have the time. Did you know you can get a huge benefit from updating an old post? Give it a new lease of life…
Do this with posts which are regularly visited (check your stats in Google Analytics to find out what they are) for most impact.
Update images, update text and re-post with a more recent date (just make sure the url is unchanged). And you’re done!
It is so much quicker and easier to update a blog post than write a new one!
7. Update prices/packages if they’ve changed
Are the offers on your website what you still sell? Is there anything on there that you no longer sell? Or no longer want to promote? Take it off (or at least take it off the menu and any other pages which link to it – you might keep the actual page if you still offer it secretly).
Is the pricing still up to date? Or does it need updating? The New Year is a good time to revisit your pricing and packages in any event.
Similarly, is there anything you offer which has changed? Does the wording on your website reflect that? Maybe you now include extra benefits or features. Don’t forget to add those.
And finally, if you have the time, take a look and see if the sales page copy can be improved in any way. Perhaps there are some questions that always get asked because they’re not addressed on your sales page. Address them. Or reasons people aren’t buying – is there anything you can do to persuade them (like adding a testimonial/review that addresses that particular objection?)
8. Skim to see if there is anything that is no longer relevant/out of date
And finally take a look through the website as a client or potential client would. Is there anything that looks out of date or which is no longer relevant?
You could even ask someone else to take a look through for you (someone sufficiently “independent” who will look at it objectively rather than just say “it looks great” or criticise it without really knowing what they’re talking about).
There are lots of easy ways to refresh your website that don’t need to take long. You can:
- Update/rearrange images
- Add new testimonials
- Remove unused plugins, pages, images, etc
- Update dates and other stats
- Update plugins, theme, wordpress
- Update an old blog post (or write a new one)
- Update prices/packages if they’ve changed
- See if anything else is no longer relevant or out of date
And because these are each standalone tasks you can do them in bitesize chunks so it doesn’t need to be a big job. Just choose one or two that are easiest to get going. Then when you have another hour spare (I know, not something that happens very often), choose another couple.
Of course if your website is looking really tired or your business direction has changed more radically, then you might want to think about investing in a new one. We can help with that!