I won’t go on about it but yes it’s scary how quickly time whooshes by. We’re already halfway through the first month of 2019 and you might be looking at your website thinking it’s in desperate need of an upgrade for the new year.
A lot of website owners sadly ignore their website shortly after it’s built, possibly imagining that it will somehow magically evolve over time. They don’t – in fact one of the most important things a website owner needs to appreciate is that a website should be reviewed and updated on a very regular basis. Neglected websites can lead to lost sales, a drop in search result rankings and a poor impression of the business (some might even conclude you’re no longer operating).
So if you’re one of the more diligent business owners who review their website often and have determined it’s time for an upgrade, where do you start? Where should you focus your time, energy and money?
The way to figure this out is the same as when first planning a new website – go back to the main reasons or objectives for your website as it relates to growing your business. These reasons could include:
- Visibility – Reaching a bigger audience of potential customers, and creating more awareness of what you offer and why customers should choose you.
- Sales – Business is a numbers game. The more visitors (preferably the right sort) you get to your website the more sales or leads you’ll get.
- Service – Websites are a great tool to improve your customer service (and often expected). Allowing customers to do more online – and making it easy – is a great way to build brand loyalty and increase sales.
- Brand – Websites can help you establish your business as a professional brand, that you’re current and you’re successful (hint: people prefer to shop with successful businesses).
So, if you have a clear picture of what you want your website to do for your business you’re ready to move to the next stage, which is creating an action plan. Action plans are even more exciting than lists (and I love lists!) mostly because they have the word ‘action’ in them and, well, that just makes me think of superheros. Let’s move on before I get too distracted.
Website upgrade action plan – An example
We’ll list some suggested actions that could be part of your 2019 website upgrade. Our suggestions are based on things you can do to stay current (the world of websites is constantly changing) and that are also relatively low cost and straightforward.
- Add an SSL security certificate – If you haven’t already this is definitely one you should tick off for 2019. There are proven benefits for showing that little green padlock beside your website name and in most cases it can all be done for under $50, with no ongoing costs.
- Review all the text – One of my first jobs out of school was working in a bank. One thing we had to every single day was walk in to the bank as if we were a customer: Was there anything out of place? Broken pens? Rubbish on the floor? All things we couldn’t see hiding behind the counter. The same goes for your website – read every page as if you were a customer: Does it make sense? Does it get to the point quickly? Is the information accurate? Is it helpful? Understand that most website visitors want quick answers to their question, not a full back story for the office dog (as lovely as that might be). Text changes are generally easy – with Pogostick websites you can use the built-in content editor to log in make changes – see the online help manual for more information or contact us if you don’t have a login.
- Check for visual errors (on both mobile and desktop) – Similar to the last point, browse your website on both a large and small screen (e.g. mobile phone). Try different browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Edge) and even in incognito (private) mode to see if there are any issues or anomalies that might need fixing. Feel free to ask us for help, or even if you’d like to start tracking what the most common browser or screen size your visitors view your website in.
- Create an incentive – We’ve discussed this before but you need to think about the reasons why someone would visit your website; what’s in it for them? You might have noticed DIY retailers (Bunnings, Mitre 10 etc.) do more than just list their address, opening hours and products – they have also put a lot of work into creating helpful instructional videos and how-to guides for many common DIY jobs. Yes, it would have cost them thousands to create but there’s no doubt they get a lot more visitors to their website (and more sales) because of it. Can you create (and then promote) an incentive for your customers?
Hopefully this gives you an idea of what you can do to review and refresh your business website for 2019. If you need any help let us know, or if your goal for 2019 is to get a website then you’ll be pleased to know we have affordable (cheap) website packages starting from just $299.