Now is the time to review your website

As we move into a new year, have you checked if your website is fit for purpose in 2017?

Layout and functionality

As with anything, there are trends and fashions in website design. Like that suit that you bought in 2012 might look a bit dated now, the same may be true for a 5-year old website, and this may reflect poorly on your business (even if this isn’t entirely rational).

There are also advances and fashions in functionality. Whilst I am not a huge fan of “whizzy bangy” for the sake of it (particularly if it actually makes the website slower to navigate), it may be that small tweaks to some of the content would have a positive impact on your visitor’s experience. For example, would a slider on the home page demonstrate your products and services in a quicker and more engaging way?

Written content

Have you looked at the narrative on your website recently? If so, does it still reflect your products and services and how they are likely to benefit your potential customer? Successful businesses evolve, and your website should reflect this.

Media

Video is generally excellent for engaging with the audience, and images are often more memorable than text, so these can both help to attract and hold a visitor. If you already have images on your website, are they still relevant and do they still look fresh and recent? If not, you could think about refreshing them.

Whilst on the subject of images, please, don’t be shy! I work with many small businesses and it continues to surprise me how many business owners refuse to include a photo of themselves on their “About us” page. Remember the old adage “People buy from people” – no one expects you to be Mr or Miss Universe, but most of us are fairly visual: we like to see who we are dealing with and not just imagine the face of the person on the other end of the phone or email. Do use a professional photographer – a holiday snap taken on your phone is rarely a good advertisement for you as a business person!

Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are powerful for promoting your goods and services, but do keep adding to them. If they span a reasonable period of time there is nothing wrong with showing the date – old testimonials demonstrate longevity of the business, whilst quotes from recent customers show recent satisfaction. If you haven’t added any recently, go through your recent records and ask some of your customers if they wouldn’t mind providing a testimonial. Including their full name rather than their initials makes it more authentic. This isn’t appropriate for all businesses, please check with them before going ahead.

Blogs

Blogs are great for keeping your website up to date… providing you post reasonably frequently! If you have lapsed and it is looking a little tired, a good New Year’s resolution would be to get back into it and keep adding some fresh content at least once a month. You could even back-date a couple of posts to cover up the gap! Blog posts provide some useful content for social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook if you are active in these areas. But if you can’t commit to adding to your blog on a regular basis maybe you shouldn’t have one. If your latest post is 3 years old it makes the whole website look out of date!

Social media

If you are active on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook (for your business – not just posting what you are eating for tea!), a feed from these is a useful way of showing fresh content on your website.

Your website is a key marketing tool for your business. It has the advantage over printed media such as brochures and flyers that you can update it without having to have it reprinted. Make it your New Year’s resolution to give it an MOT and ensure it is fit for purpose!

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