Happy New Year! We hope your year is already off to a great start! Now is the time to really take a closer look at your business’s website. If you haven’t already updated it, or you’ve been putting it off on account of the holidays, there’s no better time to update it! Especially if:
- The design looks outdated
- Your website runs slower than you realized
- Something doesn’t look right about your CTAs (calls to action)
- There’s something about it you just want updated, period
Whatever the reason for it, the New Year is a great time to rejuvenate your website! Here’s a checklist of what kinds of updates your website is going to need for this brand new year.
Step 1: Update your plugins and forms
With cybercrimes like hacking, phishing scams, and ransomware carrying forward even into the New Year, anytime—not just now—is a good time to examine your website’s plugins, security software, and online forms such as your e-newsletter sign-up option. If there are any plugins or software that are out of date, get them updated! An older plugin can be the weakness that cybercriminals are looking for in order to take control of your website.
It’s also a good idea to review the forms your website currently features, whether for e-newsletters, ebooks you offer to visitors, complaints or suggestions on your contact page, and so on. Do any of them look overcomplicated to fill out? Are the calls to action easy to understand, or not? Are any forms working improperly? These should all be aspects you need to examine, and if you see anything amiss, get it fixed.
Step 2: Check your website’s response time
How fast or slow is your website loading? Step into your customers’ shoes for a second and visit your website, being sure to check on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices to be sure. Does your website load smoothly on all devices, or are they loading too slow on one or all of them?
An unresponsive website can lead to a decrease in traffic, sales, and leads to new prospects. We suggested that you check those mobile and tablet devices also because mobile websites are still a great means of marketing your business online. They’re not going away anytime soon.
If you find that your website works great on one device but not others, or that it’s super slow to load on all devices, it’s high time you address that issue and get it fixed.
Step 3: Create a blog schedule and fresh content
Again, this is something we’ve already talked about and ideally you should have a blog schedule set up already. But not everyone has! Fresh content, longer posts, and more people-oriented content will be more important than ever in the year to come. A blog schedule can help you and your staff in the long-run. If you need more reasons, check out our post on the subject—we go into greater detail there.
Naturally, if you still don’t have a blog, get one set up already! You’re missing out new potential traffic that you may not even realize you could be receiving, in addition to your regular customers.
Step 4: Check Your Social Media
It’s always a good idea to double-check the links to your social media accounts your website is connected to. Its placement on your website matters also; always make sure it’s placed near your contact information. That way, you will give your visitors options as to how to reach you if they have questions or concerns.
You should also only connect the social media accounts you are very active on. Don’t offer platforms to visitors where you’ve only posted the one time and then never again! It’s usually better to be active on a few accounts than to try and stretch yourself thin by having so many accounts yet so few updates to their content.
Step 5: Update the site footer
We’ve talked about this before as well, but changing the copyright date to the year it is currently is not a good idea. However, what is a good idea is to use a date range if your website is older than the current year so that it reads something like (for example) 2000-2018. This will tell people that you have been in business for that long and it will tell search engines that you do, in fact, keep your website up to date.
Please bear in mind with this step though that we are NOT lawyers, we are only offering advice on the subject! If you’re concerned about copyright law, talk to an actual lawyer (and please don’t pretend to be a lawyer yourself if you’re not!).
So there you go! Of course any day is a great day to check up on your website if it’s necessary, not just at the beginning of the New Year. If you’re at all hesitant about ticking off these boxes yourself (please don’t, if you’re not a professional!), go ahead and give us a call or shoot us an e-mail. When we’re on the job, we do it right!