Ok, so you’re really not gonna hug your website but hopefully I got your attention. The point I’m trying to make is to care about your website! If you’re a website owner and you’re not researching and implementing ways to make your site better on some kind of consistent time-frame, you should be. I can’t say this any louder or more emphatically — websites are not like fine wine. They do not get better fermenting on a shelf and as much as you might like to think so — they don’t work best for you on auto-pilot! Believe it or not your website needs babysitting. Yes, really. Here are some helpful hints to being a better website owner.
Visit Your Website
When’s the last time you looked at your website? I mean really looked? A quick 10 second peek at the home page doesn’t count. It boggles my mind how many people don’t do this on any kind of frequent basis. They or their web designer builds and launches it. For a short while you ooooh and aaaaaah over it, proudly show it to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers — and then you go back to your life leaving your website languish among the hundreds of thousands of other websites on the Internet, perhaps not looking at it again for weeks or months at a time. Have you thought about the consequences of a neglected website?
- How long would it take you to realize that your site has been hacked, suffered a malware attack or been injected with a virus?
- What about that one-day sale item you advertised that’s (oops!) still on sale six weeks later?
- What about the typo you missed when you first published your page that everyone but you will see if you don’t visit the pages on your site?
- Have you checked page-to-page links within your site and links to other websites you display? You could very well have some dead links that need updating or removal.
- Test the contact page and other functionality. Is everything still working? Are you receiving the contact or other form submissions?
- What about the search engine optimization? Do you have an SEO person monitoring it? Did you know that even if you have first page rankings one day your site could fall off the face of the search engines the next if the search giant’s algorithms change and your site doesn’t comply any longer?
- Do you have enough eye candy, too much eye candy? What you want is a good balance. To many images or too much movement will only distract your visitors. Not enough and you’ll have boring.
If you don’t make it a point to visit your own website regularly (regularly does not mean annually either) these and other things could be detrimental to your site. When you do your reviews, try to look at it as though you were a visitor. This is like having another set of eyes allowing you to be a better constructive critic of someone else’s work.
What does regularly mean? In a way that’s a site-specific thing. If you run a website that has many products and sales for example, you may need to be on top of things on a daily or almost daily basis. If you can’t do this on your own, delegate someone you trust to keep tabs on things. If your site is more content based and not under the gun for constant newsy updates and the like, I would say at a minimum you should visit your website at least once a month. If you have a very large website, do a section a week.
Read the Content
How long as it been since you re-read and revised the content? If you have repeat visitors, do you realize just how boring your site content might be to read the exact same thing over and over and over? You know you can say the same thing and mean the same thing in several different ways, don’t you?
- Be interesting, inspire your readers! Help them build confidence in you and your business! Add new content! Growing your website is important to help you gain search engine visibility.
- Revise old content to make it more interesting and appealing to your visitors — especially the repeaters.
- Remove old, outdated, irrelevant content. Things change, your website needs to keep up.
- Make what you write on your site easy to understand. Whether your website is geared for geeks of some kind or another or for a child who comes to read your stories or buy your books — talk to your audience on their level.
- Check and double check your spelling and grammar.
- Don’t have one but thinking about adding a blog? DO IT!
- Have a blog but haven’t written a new blog post in awhile? DO IT! Try to publish at least one blog post a month.
- Does your website content preach about you and your business? Guess what? They don’t care — people are more interested in how you can help them. If your content contains a lot of “I” or “me” or “us” yada yada — rethink and rewrite so that it reflects more on your current and potential clients and customers. How will what you do help them reach their goals and potential? What can they expect to gain from hiring you or subscribing to your services?
Work your website so that it can work it’s best advantage for you.