I hope this post finds you suitably plump from the Christmas cheer and you're feeling recharged and ready to get back to it.
With the New Year upon us it's a perfect time to check how suitable your site is for the next twelve months. We've compiled a handy checklist of things you should check with suggestions if your site isn't quite up to shape.
Is your regulatory / copyright warning showing the right year?
This is a common issue and one that's so easy to fix. Does your site still show last year in the regulatory disclaimer? If so, that should be updated pretty quickly.
If your site is running WordPress (or PHP) you can replace the date with the following bit of code:
<?php echo( date('Y') ); ?>
Is your site using HTTPS / SSL e.g. showing the padlock sign?
We mentioned this a few times last year but the most popular web browser (Google Chrome) has been given more kudos to sites that use HTTPS and actively warning visitors when sites aren't secured. Many years ago you would have been forced into buying an SSL certificate but with the advent of services like LetsEncrypt, you could secure your site free-of-charge. Securing your site means that the visitors communication to your web server is encrypted, unbreakable and cannot be intercepted so there's plenty of advantages for setting it up. Ultimately this will become a trust symbol for standard marketing sites, as it is currently for e-commerce, so get secured!
When was the last time you updated the images on your site?
You probably have images on your site as part of a moving slideshow / carousel or even within content. If you don't want to completely redesign your site you could just update those images to freshen it all up. Using paid-for services like stocksy.com or free sites like unsplash.com (has a WordPress plugin too) you can very easily and cheaply liven up your site again.
Is your site slow to load?
There's no excuse nowadays for having a slow website and Google and the other search engines actively punish sites for being slow. If you've noticed your site is taking a while to load then make that one of the first things you sort this year. Google have a fantastic tool that provides a decent outline of how fast your site is, so checkout how yours performs here. There are lots of ways of speeding up a WordPress powered website, so see how fast you can get your site to load.
Your site works on mobiles, right?
This should be a given nowadays but worth mentioning again just in case. Your website should look beautiful on a mobile device or tablet and this is another factor that Google takes into consideration when it ranks your site. Whilst you may not use your site for active lead generation most referrals will go and check you out online and don't assume they won't use their easy-to-access phone or tablet...
Have you blogged in the last decade?
If your site has a blog, when was the last time you updated it? If your blog displays the publish date and you haven't published anything new for several months this is going to leave a negative impression to any visitor as they might wonder whether you're still in business! Updating your site with fresh content provides you with mega brownie points from the search engines but if you really don't have time to write the content yourself either bring in a copywriter who writes bespoke content JUST for you, or drop the blog altogether. Don't make the mistake of buying pre-written content. Just don't.
Hopefully these pointers might spur you on to make bigger and more radical changes to your site, ready for the new year but even if you tackle a couple of these points you're in good stead. If you need any assistance with any of these points, feel free to get in touch with us or schedule a call with us to discuss.