Spring is a great time to clean out those closets, organize the garage and clear clutter from the attic (even if you don’t want to do it). But, it’s also a great time for a website spring cleaning. Many take for granted that once a website has been launched, that’s all you really need to do. In some rare instances, that may even be true. But, for the rest of us, a stale, outdated website is a recipe for disaster.
A thorough website spring cleaning can help not only clean up and refresh your website for visitors, but also make your website more stable and secure. With just a little time and effort, your website will be ready for another year and you can get back to running your business. No sense in procrastinating. Get started with our simple steps today!
Website Spring Cleaning in Six Easy Steps
Step 1: Read and Edit Your Website Content
Action Item: Copy your text into a Word document.
If you haven’t done this already, keeping all your content in a Word document will make it easy to update at any time. You can also use the convenient spell and grammar check tools. Make sure the information is clear and concise. When done, replace the text on your website with the revised yourself or send it to your webmaster.
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Step 2: Check to make sure your website is working correctly.
Even if you aren’t a programmer, you can check your website to make sure it is working properly. For websites with no content management system like WordPress, this is easy and beneficial for you and your customers. For WordPress users and others, there are tools to help.
Action Item: Check all links on your website.
Find any links on your website – including those in the website navigation – and click on them. Do they go where they are supposed to? Do all the pages work? If yes, you’re good to go. If not, you may need to do some trouble shooting. If you are using WordPress, consider a plugin like Broken Link Checker to help you analyze and repair broken links.
Action Item: Update WordPress plugins and core software.
Keeping WordPress plugins and core software updates is critical for the efficiency of your website and for security. Fortunately, making these updates is relatively easy. If you have never done this before or if you are confused, you should consider getting some assistance.
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Step 3: Improve your search engine optimization.
Over time, search engine optimization can degrade. Reviewing the text on your website to look for keywords and make sure your information is up to date is essential. Any changes your business may have undergone in the past year (new address, new product or service offerings, change in leadership) will have an impact on your page rank.
Action Item: Do some keyword searches.
Go to Google and type in the name of your company, the name of individuals who work for you, keywords relating to your industry, etc. Check the results and see where you rank. Arm yourself with the knowledge you will need to improve your SEO for the year and beyond.
Action Item: Check Google Analytics.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, do a thorough review to see how your website performed over the last year. Make notes of spikes, landing pages and where people came from. The more you know, the better.
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Step 4: Beef up your website security.
All businesses should be concerned with cyber security. For most websites, this is only a slight concern, but all websites are vulnerable. Your web hosting should provide adequate levels of protections, but it never hurts to be sure. For WordPress users in particular, security can be a major concern.
Action Item: Run a check of your website.
Action Item: WordPress users, check your security software or install some.
Because one-quarter of websites are powered by WordPress, it can be particularly vulnerable to attack. If you have security software installed, this is a good time to check recent scans. If not, consider installing Wordfence to give your website a quality firewall against intruders and/or the Sucuri plugin for added malware protection.
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Step 5: Spy on your competition.
One of the quickest ways to see how your website is doing is to measure it against your competition. You might be the best in your industry, you might be falling behind or maybe you are middle of the pack. There is no way to tell unless you check on them and a website spring cleaning is the perfect time.
Action Item: Visit ten of your competitors’ websites and take notes.
Look at how they organize their information, what they say and, just as importantly, how their website looks in comparison to yours. Is there anything they are doing you should be? Keeping an eye on the competition is easy when it comes to websites, so what are you waiting for?
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Step 6: Plan for the coming year.
It is never to early to make a plan. Organizing your goals for the year with regard to your website is no different from setting a budget for your business. Take the time now to figure out what you want your website to do for you this year. Do you want more lead generation? Can your website aid customer service? Do you need to just make a some upgrades or is it time for a website redesign? All good questions you should be asking.
Action Item: Make a goals list for your website.
After going through all of the five previous steps above, you should be armed with the information you need to make more informed decisions. Make your plan and get started executing it today!