With a new year finally here, it’s time to set goals and place yourself in a position to actually achieve them. Your website is likely one of the first things new customers see when determining whether they will give you their business. This annual website check-up only takes minutes and could bring issues to your attention that, when addressed, may return multiples of new customers.
Why Yearly Website Review Is Important
Many small business owners get so wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of a company that it becomes quite common for websites to be overlooked. For many such entrepreneurs, just having a website that functions is a feat in itself. Sometimes, that makes them want to check it off a box and move on to the next project.
This is a flawed way of thinking about websites, though, and can actually hurt your business. The next time you’re around an IT administrator, web developer or web designer, ask them about maintenance. No doubt that they will talk your ear off the same way as an auto mechanic or your HVAC contractor. You can catch big problems and avoid small, nagging problems from blossoming into nightmares by performing a comprehensive check-up at the start of the year. You can perform any repairs or improvements throughout the year.
Get started answering the following questions below:
1. How Does The Website Look?
- That’s right, the first annual website checkup task is to see how the website looks by testing it on different computers with varying screen sizes, browsers, and devices. In 2018, there really is no excuse not to have a mobile-friendly site. Since 2010, web browsing from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) has multiplied every year. If something looks off, it’s time to act.
- Google’s automated web tool to check the mobile-friendliness of your website: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Make sure that your site is visually up to par. Think like a customer. Ask yourself if you’d feel comfortable doing business with a company that had a website that looks sloppy, unprofessional or outdated; or feels overwhelming or confusing. Chances are you wouldn’t; so make this a priority.
2. What About Broken Links?
The next thing to check for is if every link is still functioning. Links on your web site’s sales, ordering and contact pages should be reviewed most thoroughly for errors. The hard truth is that if a link is broken, a customer won’t usually go the extra mile to figure it out. It could mean lost revenue. Broken links also create a bad user experience, potentially harming your reputation.
Did you know that Google, Bing, and other search engines penalize you for having broken links on your website? Can you believe they expect you to know if any of your links have expired domains? You must remove them within a reasonable period of time. Your website’s search ranking can be dinged even if you mistakenly entered an incorrect link by one letter or number, or if the website you linked to went out of business or changed their link structure.
- Google Webmaster Tools features an automated broken links checker: https://support.google.com/webmasters#topic=3309469
Finally, don’t forget social media pages and any links in your email!
3. How is Your SEO?
Once your annual website checkup has ticked off links and visuals, the next step is to put your marketer’s hat on and think about search engine optimization or SEO. This may take more time than others. This requires you to really think hard about which topics and phrases your target website visitors are looking for, and how they should be appearing on your site. There are complex, strategic approaches to SEO that can yield impressive results. It’s a worthwhile activity to at least look into the best SEO practices of your industry and keep them up to date.