These last few months have been a whirlwind of new technology, trends, and online changes. Many businesses and organizations we work with have set some aggressive growth goals and we’re already into second quarter. In order to reach online goals that are set, a series of things need to happen, starting with a website that delivers results. This kind of website is one that is esthetically pleasing, fast and functional, and has a clear call to action. All of this goes down the drain if the site is out-of-date, so please don’t underestimate the importance of scheduling updates for your website.
Don’t Forget to Check…
Forms: Some websites only utilize one form, and others have dozens of them. It’s easy to forget, so do a careful audit of forms.
- Inventory all the forms on your site, the goals for each, and wording/content visitors see.
- Evaluate your process. Do you now do more contact via phone, but were only asking for email on the form? Get it added.
- Correct trouble spots. When you created the form you may not have required an address, but it has since created a headache; make it required.
- Test them all to make sure they are working, you receive proper notification and it’s routed to the correct person.
- Check the email confirmation and thank-you page verbiage is correct and up-to-date.
- Remove old forms for past events.
- If using WordPress, go into the back end and look at the entries to double check you haven’t missed any correspondence with clients or potential clients.
Contact Us: It’s critical this information is up-to-date, and just as important it’s not irritating. People expect to find all information and methods of contacting you in the form they prefer.
- Don’t withhold information, i.e. not publish your email or phone number
- Make sure it is correct.
- If you have a PO Box, physical address, and/or multiple locations, list them all. Don’t make people hunt for the information.
Footer: When is the last time you looked at the information contained in your website footer? This is important, as it is information seen on any page of your website and a place visitors have the habit of checking for quick contact information.
- Is your physical address in the footer, and not just a PO Box? Google and Yelp like a physical address and so do people trying to drive to see you.
- Is your copyright date the current year? It’s important to visitors to know you keep your site updated.
- Is your phone number, privacy policies, and other info you want up-to-date.
- Click the links and make sure they are all working.
About Us: This page often includes staff and is often the most over-looked place on your site with out of date information.
- Delete staff names, information and pictures who are no longer at your organization
- Add new staff to the page
Emails: Since email is a critical communication component of website marketing, it’s very important you check all emails listed on your website.
- Do an audit of the emails listed on your website and who gets them; follow up with that person to make sure they are getting them.
- Do a test email from your site to make sure it goes where it’s intended to go and isn’t trapped in a spam filter.
- Make sure that emails aren’t listed or routed to someone who isn’t there or isn’t checking that email.
- Consider routing critical emails to more than one person.
Links: Links can change and it’s important to check them periodically to make sure they work
- If you are suggesting a link that navigates a visitor away from your website, do you have it set to pop-up a new browser? Click and make sure.
- People will sometimes change their Twitter handle, which is fine. However, a link from your website will bring up an error if it doesn’t get changed there too.
- WordPress has a wonderful Broken Link Checker that you should be monitoring. If you link to an article that gets changed or removed from the web by its author, it will cause a broken link and error on your site. You don’t want visitors frustrated, your cited source for your article gone, and Google to adjust your ranking. Correct the link, find a new one, or remove it; just make sure it isn’t broken.
Professionalism: You want a site that looks professional and trustworthy. Some affiliations and awards will do that, but anything outdated simply detracts.
- Remove really old awards, or if it’s an award you’ve received for many years list the most recent.
- Check affiliate icons and links that they work correctly and that affiliation is still reputable and relevant.
- Remove mention of lapsed certifications or clubs you no longer hold.
Products: E-commerce sites need to keep sales up, so it’s even more critical that products are updated.
- Look through products to see if packaging has been updated and replace images.
- Replace old photos with new/better/clearer images.
- Don’t leave product images blank!
- Check through pricing to make sure what is listed on your website matches other sales materials or marketed prices.
Home Page: This is the place you send people and often times their first impression of your business.
- Evaluate your homepage for any fresh content needed.
- Old blogs feeding in, calendars that feed in but have no events, etc
- Update your pictures. If it’s important that customers come back to your site, you want to make sure it looks fresh each time. Updating your pictures is important.
- Is your logo looking out of date?
- If you feature videos on your homepage, have you posted a newer one in YouTube you can swap it with?
If you are unsure about making a change, talk to your project manager. We recommend you get in the habit of maintaining your website on a frequent basis. There are times when very little needs to be changed, but the more often you audit your site, the less likely it is something (needing change) will go unnoticed!