You’ve freshened up your wardrobe; you’ve added a bright splash of summer colour to your house and perhaps your office; and you’ve done some summer maintenance on your car… but have you given a thought to your website? Even if it doesn’t need a full revamp, we recommend capitalizing on the slower pace of business and giving your website a good summer tune-up. Here are 8 things you should consider to clear out the cobwebs, freshen things up, and ensure everything is functioning smoothly:
Repair any bad links:
It’s easy to lose track of out-of-date links that may be sprinkled throughout your site, so take some time to comb through all your pages to remove or update bad links. This will lead to less frustration for your visitors, and may also improve your SEO and boost your search engine ranking.
Verify underlying software:
Does your site need any WordPress updates? What about your ecommerce tools – do you need to update your Shopify plug-in or your Woo Commerce extensions? Check that you have all the latest versions of your plugins for SEO, spam protection, automated site backups, website themes, multiple languages and translation, and user tools such as weather update apps. Up-to-date software tools ensure that your users’ visits to your website will be smooth and seamless.
Check for security vulnerabilities:
You probably already updated your website security software as part of step 2 above, but because this one is so important, we wanted to call it out separately just to make sure. Have your website administrator double-check that you have the latest and most effective security software to protect your website from hackers, malicious code, worms and viruses, and spam comments on your blog or contact forms.
Replace old technology in apps and plug-ins:
Still using Flash? Offering old versions of Adobe Reader for download alongside your .pdf resources? Beyond just updating old versions of your website software as described in #3 above, we also recommend that you clean house and use the latest or most popular apps and plug-ins on your site. Your users will appreciate your website keeping pace with their current favourite tools.
Make sharing easy:
Make sure your site visitors know where else they can find you online by providing links to all your social media channels in a prominent place on your site. And take it a step further by including social media sharing buttons on all your value-added, shareable content to make it easy for your fans to spread your message and circulate your knowledge resources.
Identify RWD issues:
Your audience will view your website on many devices: smartphones, tablets and iPads, laptops, and desktops. So, your web pages need to look good, be easy to use, and properly display key information regardless of the device being used – this is Responsive Web Design (RWD). Take some time to ensure that your web content adapts to fit any screen size and performs well on any device – it will pay you back in improved traffic, lower bounce rates, and increased time spent on your pages. If this task seems daunting, start with your key pages now, and tackle the rest over time.
Comply with AODA standards:
Ontario has laws to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The requirements and deadlines you need to follow depend on the type and size of your organization, with the law stipulating phased-in compliance standards. At the very least, you need to keep pace with these phased-in deadlines, but it’s also good idea to get ahead of the game and try to implement upcoming AODA compliance regulations early so you aren’t faced with a last-minute scramble to comply. The requirements and deadlines for various types of organizations can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/accessibility-laws.
Last but not least,
Refresh or remove old content:
Visitors and search engine algorithms alike will reward you for continuously refreshing the content on your website. This task may be the most time-consuming one on our Summer Refresh list, but it is well worth the effort. Remove any old content that is no longer relevant, so it doesn’t clutter up your site. Make sure your remaining content is current by making any necessary updates or changes to it. Add new content regularly in the form of blog posts, articles, photos, videos, and more. Doing so bumps your site higher up in search results, making you easier to find. It also keeps your existing prospects and customers coming back for more.
Take advantage of these 8 tips to revitalize your website this summer season. Staying on top of these elements of your site on an ongoing basis will help keep your site highly ranked and top of mind. Combined with clear objectives and compelling content, your website will deliver the business results you seek.