Matthew Leask

7 Things You Absolutely Must Do to Improve Your Website in 2016

February 8, 2016

Your website is your window to the world. With so many online channels fighting for attention, internet users are becoming harder to please. There are undoubtedly things that you don’t like about your website, or have been meaning to work on. The new year is a great time to check how your website is performing and make improvements.

Here’s our simple list of things to check so you can be sure your website has the right ingredients to perform better this year.

1. Make Sure it's Mobile

You probably heard a lot about this in 2015 – we certainly did. And although Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ was much less catastrophic than expected, having a mobile-friendly website is undoubtedly important.

Many sites are seeing over 50% of traffic from mobiles and tablets and regardless of any search engine impact, visitors to your site will thank you for using responsive design. Thanks to no more annoying zooming and sideways scrolling, you can expect a longer duration of visit, more pages viewed and a lower bounce rate.

Not sure how your site measures up? Try the Google Mobile-Friendly Test or give us a call for more information.

2. Keep on Top of Social

We’ve had a lot of conversations about social media. One of the things which comes up frequently is “I don’t have time to keep on top of Facebook and Twitter.” Is this really true? Really? Plenty of people seem to find time to tweet pictures of their dinner...

Social Media Top Tip – Plan ahead in your diary what you will post and when. You can do this at a frequency appropriate to your business. This could be 1 news post per month, 1 Facebook post per day, 1 Twitter post per hour – whatever suits you. Just decide and stick to it!

3. Refresh Your Content

You should always remember that although you are used to seeing your site, new visitors aren’t. It’s easy for you to gloss over the content that’s already there. So set aside some time and actually read your website. What are you saying? Could it be worded better? Is there inaccurate or out of date information? Are there new things you should be including? Could content be ordered in a better way? Are some pages grown too long over time that they’d be better split over two pages?

An even better approach is to grab a willing volunteer and get their thoughts too. Google likes to see fresh content so if your latest news story is from 2009, that's a little embarrassing and it’s time to do something about it.

4. Change Your Images

If you’ve had the same images on your site since it launched, or haven’t changed them in years, it’s probably time to do so. This might not be as straight forward as choosing some you already have.

Try to think of what visitors to your site would like to see, what will present your product or service in a way which reflects your organisation and give the right impression? Remember, your site should really be tailored to your audience's liking rather than your own personal preferences.

If you have a good quality camera, or work with someone who does, bring it into your place of work and capture things as they happen. Try to avoid low quality images taken on a mobile phone, it only looks unprofessional.

Images that include people are often much more effective than those of subjects only.

5. Check Your Stats

If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up, you really should be looking into that. You can glean many insights into how your website is performing by spending just a few minutes a day checking your analytics.

For example, perhaps your great at writing content and publishing it on your blog. However, there’s no point in spending hours on writing something that no one is reading. Check your stats, see what’s popular and what people aren’t clicking on, and re-evaluate your content plan based on your findings.

You never know, you might find out something interesting about your website and your target market that you weren’t aware of. You can find information on who views your site, how they came to find it, where they are from, and how long they spent on it, amongst many other interesting points.

6. Build Some Links

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites back to your own. Search engines like Google use links to find new and relevant web pages, and also use them to decide how well a webpage should rank in their results.

Strong links from high-ranking and respected websites will help boost your own standing with Google. There is of course a flip side to this, you can’t just go out and get your website link listed on all sorts of ‘spam’ sites, or Google will penalise you, and this can be very difficult to come back from!

Make sure you’re creating content that people with a genuine interest will want to share. There are loads of ways to do this. Use your expertise in your field to create something like an infographic or a white-paper.

At first you may have to reach out to people and ask them to share your link, but over time, you should be able to reach a point where it just happens.

7. Don't Forget About It!

With the ever-changing landscape of the digital world, the worst thing you could possibly do is neglect your website. If your content is out of date, or the design of the website doesn’t follow the latest trends, your visitors might make the reasonable assumption that your company isn’t even active anymore!

Simply plan to spend a set amount of time each day/week on your website, and make sure that this is a crucial part of your job, not some additional task you do when you have a spare moment. Ultimately, in this day and age, the internet could be what makes or breaks your business, so if you aren’t already, make sure you get with the times!

If you need assistance with any of the improvements suggested above, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

February 8, 2016

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