With the New Year comes new goals for your business.
And as you begin to reevaluate your finances and hire new employees, it’s important that you maintain your website, too. You don’t want to repel visitors with an out-of-date site.
“One of the most often overlooked components—yet one of the most critical—to any successful website strategy is ongoing maintenance. While the initial website project is critical to creating the right foundation, the ongoing maintenance and upkeep is where you’ll really see your website shine,” writes Don Cranford, principal and director of technology at Katalyst Solutions.
Maximize your return on investment by giving your website extra attention. Here are a few best practices to help you in 2017.
1. Revamp Your Homepage
The homepage is the bread and butter of your brand’s online presence. People visit your website to learn more about your company’s products, team, and mission.
So, when visitors arrive for the first time, you don’t want to scare them away. Instead, your goal is to offer an experience like no other.
Update your design by tweaking the navigation of your site. Anticipate where consumers will click and provide clear calls-to-action to help them locate what they need.
Eliminate any wording that doesn’t benefit the visitor. Too many words can distract customers from their intended reason for checking out your site.
In the example below, HostGator customer Hiatus Spa + Retreat uses its site to say more with less. Coupled with a few words and vivid imagery, the spa chain invites the customer to learn more.
Make the best first impression by showcasing a modern, uncluttered homepage. It’ll give clarity and accessibility to your visitors.
2. Revive Old (But Useful) Content
Your marketing team has spent countless hours creating content to educate and entertain your customers. And once it’s posted, you probably move on to the next one and then another.
But if you’re creating 10x content, like I know you’re doing, your old content still has value to new and existing customers. Rather than producing new content, revive your old, but useful content.
Work with your team to add the latest trends to an old blog post. Insert new data into an infographic containing outdated statistics.
Or you can transform one content form into another. Kim Garst, founder and CEO of Boom! Social, offers the following suggestion, “Compile a bunch of blog posts on a particular topic, and promote them as a multi-day e-course. Each day, send one email (blog post) to your new subscribers to help them accomplish whatever goal you have promised to help them achieve.”
Don’t be afraid to revisit your content archives. Give your audience an opportunity to experience the content again.
3. Fix Any Checkout Process Issues
Sales matter in business. If you’re not driving revenue, you won’t sustain in the marketplace. To attain your aggressive sales goals, your checkout process must possess no friction.
Friction is any obstacle causing your consumers to think twice about continuing with their purchase. It can be a technical issue, like a page not loading fast enough. Or it may be a psychological trigger, like they don’t trust your site security.
“There are many reasons a customer will abandon your site during the checkout process. Top of the list, after technical problems, is that you ask for too much. Too many steps in the process, too much information, having to create an account to make a single purchase— you are too needy, and this relationship is over,” says Jeremy Said, a conversion expert.
If you discover that customers hate creating member registrations, one solution is to try a social login. This one-click alternative will help consumers move through the checkout process faster.
Stopping the sale from happening isn’t good for business. Remove any roadblocks in your customer’s pathway.
4. Check Your Domain Registration
Is it that time again? You know what I’m referring to. Yes, your domain registration!
No matter how many email notifications you receive, somehow renewing your domain falls through the cracks. But no worries.
Contact your hosting provider to learn when your registration will expire. If it’s due soon, go ahead and pay for the renewal. You might want to sign up for auto-renewals for future registrations.
And remember to update any contact information—business name, address, and phone number. It also may be time to purchase a new domain for upcoming brand changes. So, ask your provider for details about availability and prices.
Sometimes the smallest things in your business are overlooked. Make sure your domain is registered to offer uninterrupted service to your customers.
5. Reinvest in Your Brand Community
As your business grows, it’s essential to keep your brand community engaged. Your customers want to interact with your team.
In 2017, pledge to give your consumers the engagement they deserve. Respond promptly to comments left on your blog posts, and ensure that no complaint goes unanswered.
Experiment with starting or reorganizing your loyalty programs. Brand ambassadors serve as an extension of your company. If they’re not satisfied, you may expose your business to unwanted negative publicity.
In addition, expand your community to generate new ideas. To do this, install a pop-up box on your website asking visitors to join your exclusive newsletter. Here’s an example from Bebe:
Get reacquainted with your target audience. A dedicated community opens the door to business opportunities.
6. Evaluate Your Analytics
Analytics is the ultimate tool for examining the health of your website traffic. It’s vital for your team to know how your visitors and qualified leads find your business. Organic search or Facebook?
Avoid moving analytics to the bottom of your to-do list. Jenn Soloway, senior art director of Strategic Insights Brand Marketing, gives her perspective: “Website analytics and website maintenance updates go hand in hand when it comes to truly owning your website. With this combination, pain points that can add up over time and lead to an expensive—and time-intensive—relaunch can be addressed as part of an ongoing maintenance plan.”
Compare your traffic from month to month and year to year. Assess your current campaigns and develop a plan to target sources that bring the most return. You may even need to change your SEO strategy.
A New Year, A Better Website
It’s time to roll up your sleeves. The New Year is a time to reflect and reassess your business’s needs, which includes your website.
Revamp your homepage to gain immediate attention from visitors. Fix any friction issues influencing potential buyers to abandon your shopping cart. Also, reinvest in your brand community by responding to blog comments.
Start 2017 off right! A better website is where you should begin.