In this day and age, a professional website is a must-have, and if you want to showcase your brand effectively, communicate with customers, and share your products and services, an up to date website is imperative...but here’s the thing, it’s not enough to just “build” a website, you need to also maintain it.
You can't adopt a puppy and then not look after it...things will get messy!
And likewise if you don’t pay attention to your website, it will eventually have issues and cause you (and your visitors) distress...messy!! An unmaintained website vey quickly becomes an unhealthy one, here are the symptoms:
- It is hard for visitors to find (ie. doesn’t show up in Google search).
- It loads very slowly so your visitors quickly leave the page.
- It is not easy to navigate
- It doesn't provide up to date and useful content
- And it is not mobile-friendly.
To avoid the potential loss of sales and reputation damage to your business, check out the following essentials that you need to cross off your website health checklist.
External Health: Visitor Experience
Functional and Well Designed
Making sure you have a good-looking and easy to use website should be on top of your list. If you fail to give priority to user experience (UX), you cannot expect it to do its job, which is to professionally represent your business, keep visitors on your site, and make you money. People expect a frictionless experience. It’s also part of your customer service, so don’t expect them to check out your products and services if your site is problematic.
Visitors expect a fast loading site to browse. They will leave within seconds if a webpage is too slow to load. It should also be easy to navigate with a logical flow of elements and information. Remember to strategically plan your website's sections for smooth and natural scanning of information.
Once you're confident with the functional flow, do not forget it also needs to be visually appealing. Stay on brand and inline with your industry's acceptable themes. Whether it is modern, corporate, minimalist, creative, or retro, take into consideration how your potential customers might respond to the overall aesthetic of your site.
Put a lot of thought and research into the choice of colours, fonts, and images to show off your business brand. If your site design is more than 5 years old, it will probably look old and out of date...which is the message you will be giving your visitors about you and your business.
Lastly, your site is only considered functional and well-designed if it looks good and is user-friendly primarily on mobile devices. Don’t make the mistake of frustrating your visitors by having them zoom in to a non-mobile page on their phone. You don't tolerate that when you're on your mobile device...so don't expect visitors to stay on your site either. Test your website on a variety of mobile sized screens!
Up to Date Content
According to a GE Shopper research study, 81% of shoppers research products online before purchasing. Yup, if you have an online store, your customers love to research. They want to educate themselves and delve deeper to make sure that their purchase decision is the right one.
It's important to know the behaviours of your potential clients, so that your website content can align with the way they think and search online. Do they just want to research prior to contacting or visiting you? ...or will they search elsewhere because they can't buy from you online? Provide them with a frictionless experience through relevant up-to-date product information as well as the necessary online services that they expect in this day and age.
Don't be so clever with your website content that you forget to tell your visitors exactly what you do - in plain simple English.
Your business may also benefit from providing a deeper level of information with well-written blog posts that help your website visitors find answers to their problems while also giving you more trust factor and credibility in the marketplace. What questions do they have? What are their fears? What are they thinking? What do they need to know about your company culture? How can you help them? What are the features and benefits of your services? What’s new about you? If your customers are able to have their fears quelled and their questions answered, it will be easier for them to click that "BUY" or "CALL NOW" button without any hesitation.
Internal Health: SEO-Competitive
Basically, SEO’s job is to make your site appear as close as possible to the top of the first page of Google Search. The better your visibility, the higher the chance of getting good website traffic. Depending on your industry the competition may be tough when it comes to keyword ranking and Google ads, but there is more you can do...and if you have time and patience, and a good SEO strategy, you will gain positive results.
Speaking of strategy, here are 6 areas you need to look at first:
The need for speed!...You need to keep an eye on your site’s performance. Use a web speed test to find any issues with your sites load times. Google does not like slow sites...because your visitors don't like them.
Your website is not a 'set and forget' project...If you forget about it, Google may forget about you too...so login and keep your content fresh, don't duplicate content, and maybe try blogging!
As mentioned above, always remember that user experience is one of Google’s top priorities. With that said, avoiding tons of distracting ads, automatically generated content, intrusive pop-ups, irrelevant internal links, and poor quality backlinks can help you achieve your desired ranking.
Your visitors are not the only ones that need to find it easy to navigate your site, Google bots do too. Avoid short-form content - 500 or more words is the current standard for Google to consider your piece important and relevant. Your site also needs to be well coded so the bots know whats going on.
Google knows that more than 50% of people search on mobile devices and this figure is growing. Because of this, they now index mobile sites first. What that means is: Not mobile friendly = No show on Google Search
Secured from Threats
Last but not least to put on your checklist is to make sure your website is out of hacker reach! Website updates must be done regularly. If your website platform or hosting plan covers this sort of maintenance, you're covered...though it doesn't hurt to make sure your web provider is doing their job! If you manage your own site, make sure you receive email updates and act on them immediately. If your site is built on Wix or similar (website builder + hosting), you're covered.
Also make sure your site is served over SSL. The 'Secure Sockets Layer' ensures your site is encrypted. Your site will not show up in Google search if it is not. Web browsers will also not want to display your site if it detects that there is no SSL. You'll know if it is by the 's' in the https:// at the beginning of your url.
Better safe than sorry, so do the necessary steps to protect your site especially if it contains sensitive business data and customer information. You’re an easy target too if your website has been inactive for too long.
Your website is an important component of your business. It is an asset...and to serve it's purpose, you have to make that extra effort in protecting and taking care of it. Make sure it has all the characteristics of a well-maintained (puppy) website.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it functional and well designed?
- Does it have updated content?
- Is it fast to load?
- Is the content fresh?
- Is it Googlebot friendly?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Is it secured from threats?
If you say yes to every item on our list, congratulations, you’ve got an outstanding website! But if you’re worried you’ve neglected your site, don’t fret pet...we’re here to help...just schedule a FREE website health check today, we're just a chat away!
How's Your Website Looking?
Old?...broken?...hacked?...Don't know where to start?
Book a Free Website Health Check
Don't have a website yet? Book a Strategy Call!