Confession time: I’ve been going nuts with spring cleaning my business this year!
Maybe it’s because 2020 was out of control, but I need to pull some order out of all the chaos! And boy, it’s been challenging!
Some things go out the window when work is overwhelming, and business spring cleaning is usually one of them. For example, you might look at your office, think, “This is tidy enough,” then get back to work. Have you thought about spring cleaning your business? You’d be surprised how keeping things tidy at your small business can improve your productivity and overall well-being.
Over a single year, lots of things can slowly get out of order and disorganized. Maybe your billing and invoicing systems need a clean-up? Or it could just be that your entire home office is a mess and could use a LITERAL cleaning. (That’s one job our team can’t do for you, but I can give you some advice on how to go about it!)
Time for Spring Cleaning
One area that almost every business could do some spring cleaning is on their website. Even a well-managed website eventually needs to be revamped with an updated interface, fresh design, improved functionality, and a reorganization of content. As your products and services evolve, some of the webcopy on your site might be inaccurate, requiring some updating. Maybe you are still using outdated SEO techniques that are hurting where you are showing up in the search results.
Thankfully, you can address all of these problems with a simple tidying up. So, let’s get into the spirit of the spring season and do a cleaning! Here’s how I go about doing website updates for my clients (and myself, to be honest)!
Time for an Audit
No, not that kind of audit! A website audit!
How long has it been since you’ve gone through your own website? Chances are that it’s been a while. Most people go through everything once their site is complete and rarely do it again. But here is the problem: websites aren’t self-sustaining organisms.
Over the years, links to pages can break, images can vanish, and security measures that protect you from hackers can become outdated. Your SEO score might be dragging you down because you haven’t updated your search engine optimization techniques in years. Or you might be asking yourself, SEO, what’s that? Or how do I do that?
These are reasons why doing a website audit is one of the essential parts of website spring cleaning.
Before diving deep into your site, you want to do a quick tour. From the homepage, click around the site, checking out pages to see if they flow into each other logically. Don’t profoundly analyze everything; just try to take in the general user experience. Come at it from the point of view of a new customer. Are you able to navigate your website with ease? Is the information where you would expect it to be? Is there anything that makes you go, “Hey, why isn’t that working?!”
What is the User Experience
Your main goal is to find out, when someone pops into your website, do they know who you are, what you do, how that benefits them, and is there that ONE call to action where they can easily see it. You only have a few seconds to hook someone when they land on your website, so this is imperative.
Then as an experiment, go to the website of your biggest competitor and do the exact same thing: take a tour of their site. What kind of user experience are they offering their customers? If it blows yours out of the water, then you know that you need some help to get your website afloat again.
There are also parts of a website audit that you might not have experience in. For example, do you know how the backend of your website works? If not, you might be missing critical security updates or new features that will keep your website looking and functioning at its best. Auditing website backends is one of our specialties! Of course, we do the front end as well!
After your tours/audits, you will know just how much needs to change on your website for the refresh.
Unless you created your website more than five years ago, your homepage is probably in reasonably decent shape with a sufficiently modern design. However, there’s probably still lots of room for improvement.
First, take a look at the very top of the homepage. This page is the first thing that your customers will see when they go to your website. Back in the days of newspapers, they called this “above the fold.” That’s why the top story was always in an eye-catching, massive font. So, what kind of impression does the “above the fold” of your website make? A positive one? Would it make a potential customer want to know more? Is your ONE call to action there front and center?
The next place you want to look is at your small business’ logo in the upper-left corner of the page. This logo not only keeps your branding front of mind, but it also usually doubles as a “home” button to get visitors back to the homepage. It might be the single most crucial component of your website, which is why I’m constantly amazed how many small business owners leave it as an afterthought.
Is Your Logo Attention Grabbing?
Even if you are happy with your logo design, you should be asking if it could be a bit bigger to grab more attention. Or maybe an entirely new logo be the branding jumpstart your small business needs? Either way, your logo needs to be a part of your spring cleaning (and another area we can help you with professional graphic design).
Finally, carefully read through all of the copy on your homepage. Don’t skim it; really delve in. Coming up with some compelling web copy can be more challenging than just about any other kind of copywriting. If there is too much, the average person isn’t going to read it. On the flip side of the coin, having too little will result in them thinking that you don’t offer the solutions they need. Either way, they’re going to click off and look for your competitor’s site instead.
Thankfully, there is a happy medium when it comes to homepage webcopy. You could always experiment with the webcopy until you find that sweet spot. My preference is story-driven, personality infused web copy. You want your copy to be about your reader, NOT about you. It needs to tell a story to pull them in and then hook them with all of your amazing benefits. Or you could hire us, and we could take care of it for you!
Navigation Bar Order
In the real world, spring cleaning often has nothing to do with “cleaning” and everything to do with organization. Things can be spotless and still be a mess. For the parents out there, have you ever walked into your kid’s spotless room and looked under the bed? Yeah, exactly! Things might be “clean,” but they are far from organized.
Sidenote: Eben, my son just turned 20. This is the first summer he has taken off since his junior year of high school. He decided he wanted a summer job before heading back to college in the fall to wrap up his Bachelor’s degree. This is also the first time he’s been out of the house for long periods of time, due to the pandemic. Well, the other day when he was gone, I walked in to turn on the light on his fish tank, I saw something poking out from under his bed. It was the BIGGEST dust bunny I’ve ever seen. Haha. So even though his room looked pretty good from a distance, when I actually went in, it was a bit of a mess.
Make it Easy to Find What they Need
One of the first things a person will do when they land on your website is to look at the navigation bar to scan what you offer. That’s why you need to have everything they need logically laid out right at the top of your homepage. You don’t want to provide too many choices because they might get confused about where to go first. Similarly, giving them only one or two options will give the impression that you have a barebones site with no actual content to offer.
My personal recommendation is that you need at least five basic links in the navbar: About, Services, Blog, Testimonials, and Contact Us. If you want to expand on any of those topics, it’s best to add drop-down menus rather than add way more links to the top of your website. On the whole, these five categories are pretty standard, providing most users what they’re looking for in a website. If your business needs more, we can figure that out!
Tidying Up the Blog
If you’ve been keeping up with your content marketing over the years, you probably have a massive catalog of blogs on your website. And that’s great! The more free content you offer, the more you will have to provide potential clients! But over time, your blog page can start to get a bit cluttered! Thankfully, spring cleaning allows you to dig in and make some sense out of the content chaos.
First, you want to make sure that all of the links to your blogs still work. This process can be a little time-consuming, depending on how many blogs you have, but well worth it. A “Page Not Found” message might as well be a red light flashing at users, telling them to look elsewhere for a small business that maintains their site.
Next, how is the organization of your blogs? If you’d have a few years’ worth, then the older ones are probably buried under a ton of other content. You never want to clutter your “Blog” page with countless links, so I recommend using a grid pattern to keep them organized. Personally, I put nine blogs/podcasts per page. That keeps all of my newest content upfront and center.
Repurpose Your Content
Mind you, your old blogs are still helpful, so be sure to offer users a way to access them. On my site, for example, I have a search bar at the top. All someone needs to do is type in a keyword, something like “Digital Marketing,” and dozens of blogs will pop up, all offering users valuable info.
Finally, how dated are your blogs? A blog you wrote about back in 2015 could be hopelessly outdated today, offering inaccurate information to your users. Going through these old blogs and renovating them with updated information will make sure that the information on your website is accurate. It also presents you with opportunities to post those old blogs as “new” content. All they need is a slight rewrite!
Another reason why you might want to update your old blogs is to make sure they are utilizing modern SEO techniques.
SEO is one of those “magical” things that web developers talk about that confuses the average person, but it’s very simple. Search engine optimization should make it easy for people to find your content. You can help by creating high-quality content, using smart keywords and key phrases, regularly updating your website, and much more. If you have any questions about SEO, I would be delighted to walk you through how I help my clients boost their way up the search engine results!
So, What Did We Learn?
Let’s review what we learned:
- Spring cleaning all aspects of your small business can improve your productivity and well-being.
- Websites need regular maintenance, or they can slowly break down.
- A website audit is your first step to determining what needs work on your website.
- Checking up on the website of your closest competitor can give you some insight into what needs to change on yours.
- The first thing a person sees on your website (above the fold) will determine their first impression of your business.
- It’s important to find the right balance between too much webcopy and not enough.
- Having a logical navbar at the top of your site will help your customers navigate your content.
- Keeping your blog pages uncluttered will make it easier for visitors to view your content.
- Rewriting your old blog content is a great way to boost SEO (and give you something to post on social media)
- If your SEO is a mess, then you need to clean it up ASAP.
Spring cleaning is time-consuming and exhausting, even if you’re only doing it in the digital realm. If you don’t have the first clue how to get started fixing up your website, I can offer you a completely free guide, The Ultimate Step-by-Step Website Audit Workbook. In it, you will find the entire process I use to analyze and revamp websites. If you give it a read and decide that you can’t afford the time, then you might be able to afford me! I’d be happy to go through your entire website and tell you everything that could use a tidying website update!
Of course, that’s just the first step of digital marketing spring cleaning. I can come in handy here too. Need new eye-catching graphics? No problem. Want a web copy polish? You got it! Need to rebuild everything from the ground up? Then let’s get started! In fact, I’m doing a pretty big revamp of the content on my website at this very moment. Believe me, I know how overwhelming it can seem, but I’m getting through it, and you will too!
So, please contact me today and, together, we can “clean” your website so you won’t have to think of it ever again. Well, at least not for a few years!
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