New year, new website? Why not just update your current one?

Part 1 of our top tips for your site checklist.

That week between Christmas and New Year has gone once again. That time period of eating random foods (like part baked rolls, do we even eat them at other times of the year?), sitting in our PJ‘s till noon and not knowing what day it is has been replaced with January. Usually, most of us think about our goals and ambitions for the New Year, what is it that we want to achieve from 2019?

Whilst I also jump on the “New Year, New Me” bandwagon (have been to the gym twice this week!), it‘s also important to look at what we already have and what can simply be improved on. The new things are fun but can be costly so pacing ourselves is important. Within that is your website for your business. I bet if you look back at when your site was created, you‘ll have a bit of a shock. All that hard work that went into making sure the design fitted what you wanted, all that content you had to write and pictures to be sourced, it feels like only yesterday but the reality will actually be very different. Time passes on very quickly and in the world of websites, that isn‘t good if they‘re stood still.

Websites don‘t like being left alone, they don‘t like sitting at the bottom of your to do list getting trumped by other things and being left to gather dust. However, most of us (myself included) tend to procrastinate about making updates and having to in our own eyes “do all the work again”.

So, to help your website to feel happy for the New Year and to make it easy for you, we have come up with 10 top tips for you to do for FREE to give it a bit of a check over. The first 5 are in this blog, the next will be in our next blog.

1) Is your site mobile friendly? If not, think about speaking to your designer about updating this as it can help you in ranking on search engines. If it is, log onto your site from different devices. Does it look good on a laptop/desktop. How about on an android and iphone with a large screen and a small screen. What about on a tablet and ipad? Often styling of your site will need updating to suit as things can overlap or distort. Don‘t assume that because it did when it was created 2 years ago, it still does now.

2) Check your contact details. This is one that is often forgotten! People change service providers and their numbers change or their office has moved and they‘ve notified all their customers, suppliers, changed it on invoices etc but the poor website has been forgotten.

3) Check to see if your business is listed on Google Maps. Go into Google Maps and type in your business name. If it comes up on the right hand side as a listing, check through to make sure your details are correct. If it is there but says “claim business”, go through the process to claim it as yours. If there is nothing there, look into creating a listing. It all helps with SEO purposes and most importantly, having a good listing on there is the easiest way for people to call you/visit your website when they‘re searching in Google. The same relates to Apple Maps too.

4) Don‘t have any images on your site that you don‘t own the rights to. You cannot search for an image and then use it, if caught the penalty can be very high. If you‘re looking for stock images, there are various sites you can buy them from that have licenses (keep an eye on what this can exclude and whether they‘re life long licenses or renewable etc). There are also many sites that offer royalty free images (again, check restrictions, it is your responsibility to check you are using the image in the correct way).

5) Don‘t forget to humanise your site. Even the most corporate and high end have staff you will deal with. That staff member might be the most professional person you know but they‘re still a person. People deal with people and often customers like to know who they‘re dealing with before proceeding. Stock images have a huge place in web design but look at integrating them with real life photos from your work place. For some clients, we recommend them looking at having professional photos taken. If your budget is too tight for that at the moment, why not try capturing your own. The important thing when using your own photos is to make sure they are taken with a decent camera. As amazing as phones have become, it‘s often easy to tell what pictures have been taken with a camera vs a phone as the quality isn‘t clear, the zoom distorts it or the file has been compressed. Poor images reflect as a poor business when usually that isn‘t the case at all. Unless it looks great, don‘t use it.

If you‘re confused or in doubt, do contact your designer for advice. Many will give you some time for free to help you to understand or can provide you with a quotation to make the updates for you. It‘s really important to make sure your website is portraying you correctly, it is your online window after all so do invest the time (and money if necessary) into achieving this.

Part 2 of our blog with our next 5 top tips will be out next week. Keep an eye on our website and our social media for its launch.

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year,