Spring Cleaning: 5 Tips for Restoring Your Website to Tip-Top Shape
It is that time of year again: Bees are buzzing, toes are exposed, vacations are on the horizon—and you’re realizing the internet kept evolving while your website hibernated all winter.
Here are 5 tips for getting your site back to the head of the pack.
Redefine goals and KPIs
Whether you’re fundraising for a cause or promoting a product or service, your website is critical to engaging existing stakeholders and reaching new ones. In order to maximize its effectiveness, take a step back before you get into the weeds to redefine your website’s objectives and link those objectives to metrics.
Start by asking yourself why you need a website and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Do you want to acquire more customers? Increase revenue? Grow readership? Boost brand reputation?
Answers to these questions will inform the site’s structure and content, as well as the metrics you use to evaluate performance. When defining those metrics, consider the concrete outputs—pageviews, video views, signups—as well as the broader outcomes—increased revenue, stronger brand loyalty. Both will be important in evaluating your site’s performance and overall value.
Pull performance reports weekly or monthly to identify areas of higher and lower performance, and tweak your site’s structure and content strategy accordingly.
Simplify your content
You’ve likely noticed the trend toward condensed content and minimalist design among today’s most popular websites and mobile apps. Look at Dropbox, Slack and Apple. In an environment where users are inundated with content from peers, publishers and marketers, it’s critical to deliver your message with linguistic and visual clarity.
Once you’ve defined your objectives, strip away any elements that fail to directly support them. There’s a good chance you can eliminate a number of your website’s pages and a portion of content on the remaining pages. On those you choose to keep, provide users with a clear path by removing distractions and establishing a visual hierarchy. Offer an explicit call to action that directly supports your objective, and build the experience around it. If it’s signups you’re after, limit your form to just a few fields and indicated those that are optional (not required).
Think mobile first, not desktop first
Last November, Google’s mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic for the first time, and you can expect that trend to continue. If your site isn’t built for mobile first, it’s time to rethink it and optimize accordingly. Not only will a device-agnostic site improve your visitors’ experience, but it will also boost your mobile search rankings.
Using flexible elements and media queries, make your site responsive to window size. Be sure your content is comfortably legible without zooming, and that links are far enough apart to be individually clicked. Avoid horizontal scrolling and any technologies that are commonly inoperable on mobile devices, such as Flash. You can evaluate your site’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s test.
Make it shareable
Regardless of your site’s objectives, you want it in front of as many qualified users as possible. Today, that requires harnessing the vast reach of social networks, where a single like or retweet can open your content to exponential visibility.
In addition to company pages and accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, embed share buttons on individual pages and posts throughout your site. Tools like AddThis and ShareThis make it easy.
In addition to directly exposing your site to a broader audience, social sharing will also boost its quality in the eyes of search engines.
Make it share-worthy
Okay—you’ve defined your objectives, established KPIs, simplified the experience and optimized for the modern web. Your site looks great; once again, it offers an excellent representation of your business online. Finished? You’re never finished! Regardless of your goals, your site’s content needs to be nurtured and expanded. To continue engaging stakeholders and reach new ones, it must be dynamic, with a steady influx of new content to keep the experience fresh.
Develop a content strategy that distinguishes your business while addressing the relevant needs of your audience. Keep the content novel, quickly digestible and immediately compelling, with your brand and core message at the very beginning. Publish listicles, infographics and short videos, paying attention all the while to what your audience shares. Furthermore, give ownership in your website to industry experts by inviting them to guest post, thus encouraging them to share your content. Sharing is the key to that exponential visibility
With a little TLC, your site will be back in action and ready for spring in no time. Share your tips and ideas in the comments.