Most companies treat their website as a one-off project. Everybody gets excited when a new website build project is underway, lots of new ideas get thrown in, and once it goes live everyone wants to show it off. A few months down the line, everyone moves on to new projects and new things to get excited about.
The website becomes last year’s Christmas present that nobody even remembers who gave it to them, assuming they can even find it!
The content gets old and irrelevant, the functionality does not meet customer’s new expectations, new product or services are not on the website, so very quickly it becomes an abandoned site with little use to man or beast.
For your website to continue to perform and deliver results it must remain relevant to your business and your customers. Here is what you need to regularly review on your website:
Content soon goes out of date. We have come across websites with products and prices going back to 3 years! Some of the products are obsolete and in some cases the subject matter is way out of date, specially if your product or service is in the fast moving technology sector.
You should avoid culling pages as pages give you Google Authority, so either rewrite them to reflect the current offering, or redirect them to a new page with new products, services, or information that is relevant today. Alternatively, put a link to a be new page on the subject with “See our update on this subject” or “we have replaced this product, click here to find out more”.
In seasonal businesses such as hospitality or travel, you need to make sure your website presents the booking/sales cycle not the travelling cycle. They are usually out of synch, so no good showing Spring offers in June, as people are looking to book for Summer and Autumn not Spring.
If you are showing Skiing offers during the Skiing Season, don’t you think you may have missed the boat? Skiers would have booked their holiday months before.
Same applies to Real Estate, Furniture/Furnishing, car sales, etc., as you need to line up your sales to catch the early wave instead of playing catchup with your season. Your website should be part of this marketing process.
Review your keyword focus and check if they are still relevant. Are you still optimising for “Mobile Phone” when people are now searching for “Smartphone”? Or if you are in automotive industry do you have anything on the subject of EV (Electric Vehicles)?
Times change, and lexicon in use also changes, so make sure you follow the new language that is in common use and reflect the new trends and buzzwords.
Some images go out of date very quickly and show their age hence they “carbon date” your content. If you are still showing Desktops with Windows XP screens, or folding mobile phones in people’s hands, or Rover 800 sitting in your car park, you might want to think about new photos. This kind of details give subliminal messages that are hard to define but impact visitor’s judgement and view of your business.
Review the content map and navigation logic. Check if the relevant information for today’s environment is visible and easily accessible. As demands for products and services changes, you need to rethink your content map and the order you present your information to visitors on your navigation bar.
Make sure you prioritise information in order that they are most accessible to visitors in the most relevant manner. Experiment and track the results so that you can verify what works best for your customers.
Google Analytics provides a wealth of data for website owners. However, as usual there is a big difference between Data and Information. Data is statistics without context, but information is when data is put in context with reasonable assumptions that can help make decisions with fair degree of certainty.
Get to know Google Analytics tools, and learn how to use them. If you do not have time, contract a company to do it for you as there is invaluable information hidden in this mountain of data. The skill in using data is in asking the right questions in order to get the right answers.
Remember Smartphone and Tablets now make up to 50% of your traffic, so if your website is not Responsive, you are in trouble. Not only Google and other search engines push you down their results page (SERP), but visitors who actually end up in your website become frustrated.
Even if you have a Responsive website, you need to be vigilant. Screen sizes are forever changing with different widths, aspect ratios, resolutions, etc. being introduced by manufacturers in their fight for market share. Some of the sizes can have an impact on your responsive design, and higher resolution screens can impact the clarity of your images.
Remember you need to think about Mobile Devices, and create your page layout with mobile presentation in mind first. Considering how information and layout appear on a mobile device is critical in getting your message across, as well as retaining your visual impact on mobile and desktop devices.
Make sure any changes in your layout or content on desktop works just as well in mobile devices.
You should review your website at least every six months. If you are in a seasonal business such as hospitality, this should be done every 3 months. Make sure your website looks fresh and up-to-date, which does not always mean redesigning your website but updating the information and content is vital.
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