Top 5 Must-Do’s on Your Website
Spring has Sprung and it’s time to update your website.
When I take a look at websites for clients or students I seem to always be surprised at what is not on their website. I know people spend hours, weeks and months working on content for a website and I see their work published. However, I see what is missing from their website as well, and some of the items are basic pieces of information that are critical for their visitors. So I thought it’s a perfect time to compile this list as a new season is upon us. If you don’t update your website regularly, you should at least take a visit and update some info once a season or quarter. Working on your website should be regular as any other part of your business. Review this list and make sure you are not missing any of the mentioned items, or start doing some of the items today.
1. Contact Information on Every Page – This basic fact can be overlooked frequently. Your website has a front door called your home page and that is what we all focus on. However, every single page in you site is (hopefully) indexed by Google and therefore any page can be one that people find you with. So if they came to a Service page or About page – would they have your contact information on that page without having to click on another link? If not, place your critical contact information inside your header or footer and you shall never go wrong. Don’t make people click to the Contact page, have it out in front and ready to go. We are in a mobile world people need your phone number, email, address easily accessible. You are reducing the “click away” factor when people can’t find what they need quickly. You are increasing the likelihood of contact with a potential customer.
2. Call to Action on Your Front Page – Your Home page is generally the first thing people will go to find out if your business answers their need. While you have all the basic information on the front page, make sure it includes some kind of “Call to Action”. We are all scanners on the web and try find clues using headings and graphics as to what is important and worth reading. So make it clear graphically or with headings to do something to reach out to your customer. Ask them to call you and give them a phone number. Ask them for the Email Address and tell them what they will receive if they give it up. Tell them to try your product, or call for a free consult. Just tell them something. Follow me on Twitter for fun, facts and sales information. Tell them something that will make them take action. The easier the better but the Call to Action is always important in creating a imprint in your potential customers’ mind. You are reducing the chances of the visitor not connecting with you in some manner. You increase the potential for future contact with this visitor.
3. The 5 W’s on Every Page – I mentioned in #1 that a website visitor can enter your website from any page you have publicly published. For that fact, you will want to answer the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why and How on every page. Now this isn’t a literal translation, but if you went to a random page on your site, would be able to decipher what the company does or sell from a buried page in your site? Many times visitors can’t tell if they are at the right place because the information on the page is too narrow, and doesn’t offer references to other parts of the company, services or business. When you review your pages consider what information would help your potential customer if they landed in the middle of your site. Navigation, headers, footers and sidebars can all server as sign posts for visitors. This can reduce missing information and potential sales. This can increase customer satisfaction and need for immediate information.
4. Make Your Site Timeless – We all get busy and time slips away very quickly. That is still no excuse to have dates on articles that are over 6 months old on your site as the most current content. Simple fix – turn off your dates! I know life happens, but when a potential client sees an old date on your content, on any page, it can make the site feel stale. So turn off your dates off your blog posts or news headlines. No one will know when you posted it unless you tell them. So don’t. Try to update your content at least quarterly. And update that copyright line at the bottom of the page as well. It’s easy to forget to update. It’s really about the content and articles or posts. Events can be handled a bit different. An event is expected to come and go, but an article with the last date posted from a year ago screams abandoned website. This will reduce your site appearing stale and abandoned. This can increase the content value of your site.
5. Check all Links – It is so easy to have links on your site that have not been checked. It happens all the time. If you link to content on the web you need to be prepared to check the links regularly. Content moves pretty fast on the web and can disappear all together. It’s a good habit to describe the link you are including in your content in case the link is broken or has changed. Including a little description of where you intending to send people will allow the user to do a search for the site directly if for any reason the page has moved. Especially larger content sites like a newspaper where content is moving from News to Archives in one day. Test your links and make sure you don’t send people to the 404 abyss. This will decrease visitor frustration. This can increase visitor reliability on you for good resources.
This list may seem obvious to some, but some might have found they were oblivious. Either way, your website is for your customers – not you. You know about your business but your visitors do not. So by paying attention to these 5 basic points really assists your visitors in their solution seeking hunt. After all everyone is looking for someone or something to answer their question, problem or need. Right? View your site through the eyes of your potential customer, and provide timely information that can speak to them on your behalf when you are not there in person.