In today’s world, just having a website won’t cut it. Your website has to be worthy of attracting eyeballs and holding people’s attention. That’s a pretty tall order — especially if your website is littered with glaring problems.
Earlier this week, I wrote a guest post for Spin Sucks about some of the biggest mistakes I see on company websites. It lead to a spirited discussion about website problems and ways businesses can fix them.
And, while some of the suggestions would require a larger website redesign, many of the problems are easy to fix — especially if your site is built on a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Drupal.
Since I’ve been talking about spring cleaning for the past week (Social Media Spring Cleaning Checklist & Ways Clean Up Your Blog), I wanted to offer up a spring cleaning checklist for your website too.
Checklist: Improve Your Website
If it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed your web presence, here are some simple steps you can take today to improve your website:
1. Clean up typos and poor grammar.
Many of the commenters on my guest post noted misspellings and grammar problems as their top pet peeves when visiting a website.
Misspelled words and poor grammar usage are like missing chinks in your armor that leave you venerable and weak. And, they may scare off potential buyers as it positions you as unprofessional and unpolished.
The reason we have typos is that when reviewing the site, our mind sees what we think the content should say instead of what is actually there. The best way to remedy this is to have someone other than the writer of the content review the site.
And, it often helps to print out the pages. You’re more likely to spot the errors if you see it on a printed piece of paper and have your red pen at the ready.
Remove the jargon (aka cut the crap).
Let’s face it. Every industry and every business in the world has its own lingo. Although it’s perfect fine for all of your internal communications to refer to your Super Magnificent Acne Removal Treatment as SMART, perhaps your customers don’t know that.
In other words, drop the acronyms. Lose the insider language. Make it easy for readers to understand what it is you offer. If you must use these terms, remember to provide a definition. Also, remember to spell out acronyms the first time it is used on the page.
3. Update information.
When is the last time you checked your “about” page? If it’s been awhile, make sure all of the information is up-to-date. By now, you might have 15 years of experience or have added new service offerings. And, by all means, if there are people who no longer work at your company, please make sure to remove them.
Make it a practice to check the content on your site at least a couple times a year. After all, you don’t want to be promoting information that isn’t accurate.
4. Update or add photos.
Although stock photography has it’s place, it shouldn’t be the ONLY type of imagery on your website. Make sure there are photos of you and your team on your website so visitors can get to know the people behind the business.
And, if you do have photos on your website, make sure they actually LOOK like the people on your staff. If it’s been 10-15 years since some of your employees have updated their photos, go snap a new photo now. Or, bring in a photographer to get some professional headshots of your team.
Add testimonials and case studies.
Want to make an impression on prospects?
There is nothing more powerful than testimonials and case studies about the work you do.
If you don’t have testimonials on your website, now is the time to add them. You might have testimonials from your social media channels that you could bring over to your website.
And, if you haven’t collected testimonials from your clients, ASK THEM! If you need help doing this, here is a guide to help you get more testimonials.
6. Make it simple to connect with you.
If the goal of your website is for people to contact you, make sure it’s incredibly simple for visitors to do that.
Make sure your phone number and email address is prominent. Include a contact form so people can contact you right from the website. For others, you may even want to consider live chat or other ways to further simplify the communication process.
And, if you’re active on social networks, include easy-to-find links so people can connect with you there.
7. Ask for feedback.
Not sure what needs to be improved on your website? Ask other people!
Talk to your customers or send them a survey to discover what like about the site and what they think can be improved. Find out what you can do to make their experience better.
Also be sure to ask your employees — especially those who answer the phone or work directly with customers. Chances are, they will be quick to tell you about things the people often have questions about.
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As part of this exercise, you might discover that you need to undertake a larger website redesign. And, if you do, you might find Gini Dietrich’s website content checklist useful to you.
Whether it’s just making a few simple updates or beginning the process of a redesign, going through this effort will put you and your business ahead of many other websites out there.
When is the last time you reviewed or improved your website? What would you add to this checklist?
Image credit: emilydickinsonridesabmx