I read an interesting article recently about the useful tips and tricks we can all adopt in order to organise our lives. This article suggested that if we devote just 15 minutes a day to
sorting something in our homes or businesses we will feel so much better in the long term.
Right, I thought to myself, I can do that. And, I am proud to say, that I have. And I do feel so much better for it.
As I sorted through one of my kitchen cupboards, I thought that this idea would translate really well to the issue of website maintenance.
Is that sad? Ah, I think I'm a lost cause!
You see, like sorting your kitchen cupboards or organising your sock draw, there are many website tasks that can find their way onto your to-do list and then just stay there.
Not because they are not important. Not because they won’t make a difference. But because you have so many other demands on your time and, quite simply, there is not enough of it.
Unfortunately, by ignoring these tasks we can run the risk of killing our website by degrees. So what is the solution?
The Solution: Ta Da!
There are actually two answers to this problem. One is to outsource those tasks that you are finding it hard to make the time for. It is okay to do this - just let it go. You may have started your business doing everything yourself. You may even enjoy doing all of these tasks. But, there will come a time when you owe it to the future growth of your business to delegate.
The other solution, and the one I am going to delve deeper into today, is to make a decision to devote a realistic amount of time every day or every week to accomplishing a small website task that is on your to-do list.
The key thing is to be realistic with your time. In addition, it helps to break your website maintenance down into manageable chunks. For example, do not have ‘SEO Update’ on your list. Instead have a list of SEO tasks that you can achieve in small bite-sized time allotments.
To give you a better idea of what I mean, here are five areas that you should focus on to keep your website performing at its best and the ways in which you can break these areas down to make them more manageable.
How often should you redesign your website? Well, there is no hard and fast rule. It is just something that you should keep an eye on in order to preserve the balance between maintaining a stable online presence and running the risk of your website becoming dated and irrelevant.
The key is to keep aware of external website design developments and consider these in relation to your own website. Then, by allocating some time at regular intervals to look at these areas you can ensure that your website keeps looking fresh, efficient and relevant.
Look at your website’s:
- Logo - do you need a new design? If so, why not take a look at Pixellogo or enlist the services of the designers at 99 Designs.
- Content - is your content up to date and relevant? Take some time to read through the text on all of your pages. Ask a colleague or friend to take a look at your content too to make sure everything makes sense and fits in with your brand's voice and character.
- Navigation - can your website visitors navigate around your website easily? Again it is a good idea to ask a third party to scoot around your website and then give you their feedback.
- Fonts - do you have too many? Would a fresh font pairing breathe new life into your website? Take a look at Dafont for some font ideas and install Google Chrome's WhatFont extension to find the names of the fonts that you like online.
- Colour Palettes - do your colours match your brand and do they compliment each other? Do you have too many colours on show? For colour palate inspiration try Colour Lovers.
- Images - are your images of a high enough quality? Remember that you don't have to be a graphic designer to create stunning images these days (see below).
- Videos - do you use video? Could you use it more often? (See 5 Reasons To Use Video In Any Business for some helpful hints in this area)
I am often asked just how often a business should update the content on its website. The answer to this question varies from page to page. Some pages will contain key information that will not change very much over time. Other pages, such as a news page or a blog page, will need fresh content on a consistent and regular basis.
Allocate a small amount of time each month to look at your website content to make sure that it still accurately reflects your business and your goals.
Key areas to focus on include your website’s:
Home Page Content - does it represent your brand's personality? Will a visitor know what you offer from this page alone?
About Page Content - is this content up to date? Does it tell a story that your visitors will be interested in?
Rates Page Content - make sure that your rates are accurate and up to date.
Service or Product Content - ensure that this page includes all that you have to offer and gives your potential customers the information that they need and the ability to convert their interest into a sale.
Testimonial Page Content: is this page up to date with all of your most recent testimonials? The power of positive feedback should not be underestimated or underused.
FAQ Content - don't neglect your FAQ page - it is a prime piece of online real estate! Inject as much of your brand's personality as possible here. You can even (if appropriate) add a little humour to this content - your visitors will appreciate it and find themselves warming to you and drawn towards your business.
Blog Content - Your blog is a powerful tool. There is much debate at the moment concerning how many posts per week a business should produce and how long each of those posts should be. Should you blog every day in order to keep your business in front of your customer? What happens if you just don't have the time? Should you produce high value, long form content that really delves into each and every topic or should you publish more bite-sized posts?
The answers to these questions cannot be found from this blog or any blog online. They can only come from you. Only you know how much time you have to devote to this task. Only you know if you would prefer to write in depth or fire off smaller articles. Only you know what your audience needs and they will be willing to read. Once you discover the answers to these questions from within your business you can create your blogging schedule and editorial calendar (for more on this see How To Create An Editorial Schedule And Love It).
The most important questions to ask yourself are these: is your blogging schedule realistic? Will you be able to maintain it? Can you be consistent? And we are not talking about now or in the next couple of weeks here either. We are talking about the next six months of content or the next year's worth. Don't start a daily blog that will only end up becoming a millstone around your neck. Be realistic - it is far better to increase the frequency of your blog posts than have to decrease it.
Nothing can date a website more than old images. And old stock images in particular.
Thankfully, as I mentioned above, you do not have to be a graphic designer in order to include stunning and effective images on your website. You can visit sites such as Pixabay to source attractive images and then use tools such as Canva and Pic Monkey to transform them to suit your brand (see Create Awesome Visuals With These Free Online Tools for more information).
It is always worth allocating some time to buzz through your website to check that your images represent your brand in the best possible way.
I would wholeheartedly recommend that you allocate a set amount of time every week to check your website analytics. There is an enormous amount of information there ready for the taking if we allow ourselves the time to watch and absorb.
Using Google Analytics or tools such as Get Clicky, you can see how people are finding your website, what pages your website visitors spend the most time reading and what blogs are the most popular. A word of warning, once you have taken the time to set up your website analytics, it can become quite addictive!
Search engine optimisation is a task that needs your constant attention. What works today may not next week as things change in this area all of the time.
The trouble is SEO can often seem too complex and feel quite overwhelming. Many businesses do not know what to focus on and whose advice to believe. As a result, they do nothing. However, there are a number of simple SEO tasks that you can do that can make all of the difference. I recently wrote a post about these tasks that you may find of interest: How You Can Manage Your Website’s SEO.
Thanks for reading! I hope that you have found these points useful.
Now it is over to you! How do you manage your website throughout the year? Feel free to share your tips and tricks below!
Take care, Jane