Every website needs a refresher now and then to make sure everything’s working properly, looking good, and meeting the goals you need it to. The beginning of spring is a good time to take on any the projects you’ve been putting off. This month, take some time to spring clean your website and make sure everything’s in good working order.
Here are seven steps to guide you through the process.
1. Make sure all your software and plugins are up-to-date
You might feel like you see an alert for a new software or plugin update every other day. It’s easy to ignore them when they seem so constant, but oftentimes those updates specifically address security vulnerabilities and sometimes they provide additional improvements and features as well. It’s in your interest to keep things up-to-date. Check for any updates available to the software and plugins you use on your website and take the time to download the newest version of everything. Often, these updates don’t take too long and they can make a big difference to how secure your website is.
2. Review your analytics to pinpoint potential issues
Your analytics can give you a quick look at potential issues on your website. Do some pages have abnormally high bounce rates? Then you should give those a look to see if you can identify something about the design or copy that’s keeping people from sticking around. Do mobile users convert at much lower rates than desktop users? Maybe you need to update your buttons or forms to be more intuitive on mobile. Starting with your analytics can save you some time as you go through the upcoming steps since you’ll know which pages, forms, and links are the most likely to need your attention.
3. Check for broken links
You know the feeling when you’re on a website, click on a link you’re interested in, and get the dreaded 404 page. Inevitably, pages will move and websites will be left with broken links that disappoint visitors, unless you make a point to stay on top of it. Ideally, this is a job you should tackle once every few months, but it’s easy to let it get away from you. If you haven’t checked for broken links in a while, this website refresh is a good time to do it. You can use a free broken link checker to quickly simplify the process of finding all your broken links. Then, you just need to get in there and make updates.
4. Give it a proofread
You probably proofread every word on the website before it went up, but even so, minor errors have a way of slipping through. Most of us have had the experience of noticing a months old typo in something we were sure we’d properly proofread at the time. Take this opportunity to read over your website. If you have a lot of pages or a blog, this may take a while, but it’s worth it to make sure that you don’t have any embarrassing typos on the site for all your visitors to see.
5. Confirm your pages look good on mobile
Mobile should be a key part of your marketing strategy — from mobile responsive email templates to mobile-friendly website design. Not only do you need to make sure that you have a mobile-friendly website, you should also make sure that each page on your site looks good on mobile and any action you want your visitors to take is as easy to accomplish on mobile as it is on desktop. Spend some time browsing your website on a mobile device. Find friends that have a different type of mobile device than you and spend time browsing the site on their device as well. You want to know for sure that your pages look good and are easy to follow on mobile, that the buttons and links are big enough to be easy to click on a small device, and that the site is intuitive to use and navigate in its mobile form.
6. Do a content audit
A content audit can accomplish a few really important things for you. It will:
- Show you what types of topics and content perform the best
- Give you a clear picture of what topics you’ve covered thoroughly and help you identify gaps in your coverage
- Allow you to identify the pieces of content that could benefit from an update or are worth repurposing into additional pieces of content
Basically, it can provide you with a wealth of valuable information to fuel your content strategy in the months and years to come. As with the proofreading, this is a step that can take some real time if you have a good amount of content, but it could potentially save you time by helping you realize the potential of further promoting the content you already have or using it in new ways. Don’t be afraid to promote an older piece of content in your email marketing or social media, as long as it’s up to date.
7. Look for new internal linking opportunities
While conducting your content audit, be on the lookout for internal linking opportunities. If you’re actively thinking about SEO in your current content strategy, then you’re probably already good at including internal links in the new content you create. But how often do you go back and look for opportunities to link to the newer content from the old? This is your chance to find those opportunities and take advantage of them to improve your on-site SEO. It’s something that’s easy to forget to do, but worth the time it takes.
Make your website clean as a whistle!
These seven steps will take time and work, but as with giving your home a thorough spring cleaning, you’ll feel better when it’s done. And you’ll have a website that does its job better as a result.