As the days get lighter, you might have noticed the smudges on the office window – yes, it’s that time of year again to get out the polish and have a spring clean.
Our desire to spruce things up offline is intuitive, but what about online? Your website is your window for your customers - when is the last time you gave it a polish? Unlike your office or your house, your site is out there for the world to see 24/7 and if it is looking a tad dusty, contains out of date content, or is running slowly, are you really showing your customers your best profile?
If you only do five things to get your website back into shape, it should be these!
1. Make sure your customers find you
So, you appear reasonably high on search engine rankings, but customers aren’t taking the next step to your website? Check your meta description - this is the small chunk of narrative your customers see when their search engine returns your website link in their results. When did you last update it? Does it reflect their search and showcase your company? Is it punchy and immediately clear what you’re offering to your prospect customers?
Have a look at this example – on searching ‘everyday tea’, Google shows Twinings:
The search result gives an info-rich feature description and associated image along with a clear marker to the company - all digestible in a few moments.
2. Get your titles right
How many page titles are way over the recommend length? Too long (over 65-70 characters) and the search engine will chop off half your page name and render it meaningless! Also, a SEO-friendly URL will be based on lower-case letters separated by a dash (-), which helps the search engine to understand the context more easily and rank it higher as a result.
If the URL is built from the title with a dash (e.g. something – with something), it’s important to trim the dash in the URL. For example, instead of:
https://www.example.com/something---with-something, choose https://www.example.com/something-with-something.
Remember - any changes, even slight ones, on the URL must immediately be redirected with a 301 parameter (permanent redirect).
Duplicate H1 (header) tags result in search engines downgrading your ranking as it’s not possible for them to determine which page impression best fits the keyword search the customer has carried out. Remove the duplicates and see the affected pages jump up in the search engine ranking.
3. Make your assets work harder
Your site has beautiful images and interactive features that enhance the storytelling of your business and give your customer a rich immersive experience – but only if they wait around for them to emerge! Optimise your assets – are they responsive? Are they high resolution and quick to load, and do they have the right descriptive file names? It’s quite amazing just how many famous brands still use a boring old numeric description for their products – helpful to SAP maybe, but not to your customers.
Which is more likely to appeal?
Optimise your ALT text too - instead of <image36541> for an image, use, for example, <two person acme 400series> - or if a product, use <acme 400 series buy now for £399>
4. Ensure your content is compelling
When was that last article/blog/homepage audit conducted? Are there old articles that are out of date and really should be retired or updated, or worse still, are there 404 pages you aren’t aware of?
If you’re lucky enough to use Kentico, the platform’s integral Analytics has a great ‘subscribe’ feature to push invalid page reports to you to save you digging around for them. Just right click on the graph, and bingo - you can set up your subscribe parameters.
Ensure your 404 page is helpful too - here’s a great example from the BBC.
Have a look at your page layout – does it scan well? If a customer lands on one of your deeper pages as their first foray into the site, would it convey the quality and relevance of your brand, and be congruent with the rest of your site?
We’re by nature a storytelling species, so have a look at your company and team story and ensure it still sings. Maybe it needs a revamp - how about that award you won? Are the team members in your images still part of your company?
5. Prove how great you are
Customer reviews, sales testimonials, and case studies with juicy statistics all contribute to driving traffic to your site. If you’re not leveraging them, why not?
How about social media – are you participating? The key here is to ensure you don’t spread yourself too thinly. Only use channels where potential customers will find you and keep a close eye on activity and trends that can benefit your organisation.
Keep channels up to date with regular content. Take a look at your engagement rates and see which posts are working well. If some are not, why not? Review the quality and variety of content you’re posting, and ensure there’s a good balance between visual content and text wherever appropriate. If you’re posting images, go for good quality, and always try and link back to your website where possible.