I love this time of year and the opportunity to look ahead at the new year, and reflect on the year (almost) gone. From a web design point of view, this is also a great time to check over your website, and make a plan for the year ahead… that begs the question – is your website ready for 2018?
There are a hole heap of things that you could check that may make up more of an overall website review as opposed to a simple checklist (which is what I am writing about here). If you’re interested in something a little more thorough like that, then let me know, otherwise let’s have a look at a few things that you can check over, that shouldn’t take longer than a few to 60 minutes (depending on the size of your website!).
1. Check your website reflects what you do (in 2018!)
A pretty obvious one this – but you’d be surprised how many website owners have a website that has been sorely neglected. If you’re guilty (I’m not judging) of leaving your website to collect virtual dust, then there’s a good chance there is some information that needs attention. It may be the products or services you offer have changed, it may be you have new members of staff who need adding, you may have a new social media account that you pour time and energy into that isn;t linked to from your website.
Have a look over each page of your website to make sure that it is representative your fabulous business in 2018, and if it isn’t then make the change, or make a plan to make a change (ASAP!).
2. Check all your contact details are right (in all the right places) & work
It should go without saying that your contact details should be up to date and correct. After all, you’ve gone to all the effort of having a website built (or doing it yourself) and working to get visitors to it, so when they do go to your website, you want to make sure the details are right. Check that your telephone number(s) are correct, and that if they are links for telephone enabled devices that they open the right number and that they are consistent across all pages. Also check the email addresses are right (and again that the links work) and check your social links too.
All too often I come across a website that has inconsistent information, or the social media icons (links) just go to the social media website and not the businesses page or profile. Easy things to miss if you don’t check.
As well as checking that your contact information is up to date, it’s really important to also check that your businesses ‘critical’ information (‘NAP’ – Name – Address – Phone) is consistent not just on your website, but on your social profiles and business listings. This is really important as positive indicators to the main search engines and directories that your business is verifiable, and for Local SEO it’s vital to get right.
Another really important thing to check is that your contact form works. Again this might sound like a total ‘no-brainer’ but it is entirely possible that even if it has worked in the past, it might have stopped. This could be if the server environment you are has changed, or an update to the software you use has stopped it from working, or if the email address the form notifications goes to has stopped working… lots of viable reasons why this may have stopped working. Checking it every now and again is a good way to make sure you are not missing out on any potential opportunities.
3. Check your blog is up-to-date (assuming you have one)
If you don’t have a blog, you should (I’m not judging), as it is a brilliant way to tell your visitors alot more about what you do and who you are. In terms of search engines, a blog is critical as it allows you to deepen into a great level of detail about the ins and outs of your work and if you do it well (structured & targeted utilising your keyword research and SEO plan) then it can be a huge bonus to your marketing efforts.
Of course if you have a blog and don’t update it, then you may as well leave yourself critical service reviews, as there’s not a great deal worse (aside perhaps than having incorrect contact information) than having a blog and not using it. Oh – actually having a blog AND a structured and targetted SEO plan, and not using it may be worse.
If your blog hasn’t been updated in the last month, then make a plan to update it regularly, and get the plan into your diary. If your blog hasn’t been updated in a few months then make a plan to update it regularly, get the plan into your diary AND STICK TO IT! If it’s been longer than a few months then… seriously think about why you have a blog in the first place.
4. Do you have a green padlock / SSL on your website?
Not quite so obvious as 1 – 2 – and – 3, but how securely does your data transmit? You might think this is irrelevant or un-important, however the last few years have seen an increasing number of data protection issues – in small websites as well as high profile and governmental organisations. Going into 2018 it really is important to have your website running on an SSL certificate (which basically encrypts the data that is being loaded or passed when any function is loaded).
Not only is this really important for a website that transmits data, or captures potentially sensitive information, but it is also becoming a more important influence in terms of your website’s position in the search engines.
Perhaps even more critically having a green padlock and SSL Certificate will eliminate the chance that the most recent browsers will flag up your website as an ‘insecure site’ which (as of October this year) they are starting to do so more and more.
5. Do you date your copyright notice?
If you are sensible, then you will have a copyright notice on all your pages, to make it clear that the content of your website is yours and not to be duplicated or used without your permission.
All too often at the start of a new year this can be forgotton and your copyright notice can have last year’s date (or even worse, but still common, the previous years!). It’s not a big issue, but it is noticeable, and something easy to fix.
Can you check off these 5 items? If you’d like help working out what you need to do or if you want a more thorough review of your website to take you into 2018 with a really fresh, current and relevant website then please do get in touch with me.