7 simple ways to revitalize your website in the new year

7 Simple Ways to Revitalize Your Website in the New Year

It’s time to revitalize your website!

This is the time of year when we re-evaluate what we’ve been doing, figure out how well it’s been working, and make changes. It’s the time to develop new habits.

You should do that with your WordPress site, too.

Why Have a Website Anyway?

Your reason for having a site will vary depending on your type of business.

If you run a local piano tuning and repair business, you want your site to bring new customers into your showroom, and encourage more piano owners to hire your tuners and technicians.

If you’re an author, you want to showcase your books, and maybe even sell them directly from the site. You also want to promote any services you offer, like editing or teaching.

If you run an e-commerce business, you want to attract qualified buyers and make sales.

Your site should do a lot more than just act as a static advertisement, what we used to refer to as a “brochure” site.

Just as you don’t achieve fitness by going out and exercising your brains out during the month of January and then forgetting it the rest of the year, it’s hard to keep your website on its toes if you don’t work on it regularly. So set up a regular schedule for making site improvements — you’ll get better results, and the task won’t feel so overwhelming.

The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to start your revitalizing campaign, but it should continue throughout the year.

Are You Happy with the Results You’re Getting?

If you’re completely satisfied with the amount of traffic your site gets, and the way it supports your business, you can stop reading right now. (Actually, you should contact me and let me know your secret!!)

If you’re like most of us, though, you know there’s room for improvement, and this is the ideal time to reevaluate and refocus.

Here are seven basic questions to ask yourself — these same questions apply to any site on any topic. When answering, be as objective as you can possibly be.

Your answers will show you where you need to make changes to improve your site.

1. What’s a visitor’s first impression of your website?

Does your WordPress site welcome the new reader and encourage them to stick around? Or do new viewers bounce away within seconds?

If you’re not sure, take a look at your Google Analytics.

You want to know whether visitors to your site look at more than one page and how long they stay on your site, or whether they leave directly from the same page they landed on initially (that’s the bounce rate).

There are several ways to view this information within your Google Analytics dashboard. I like to look at Acquisition/All Traffic/Channels. This shows me a breakdown of whether visitors are coming from search, social media, a referral, or whether they’re typing in the URL directly.

My highest bounce rate comes from search, which isn’t surprising. If someone is looking for an answer to a specific question, they’ll read the appropriate article and leave. I’m fine with that.

My lowest bounce rate comes from referral traffic, with social media a close second.

Yours may be different, depending on your niche and your audience.

If your bounce rate is higher than you’d like, ask yourself some additional questions:

  • Does the site load quickly? You only have a fraction of a second to make a good impression, and Google also uses load time as a factor in its algorithms. If your site is too slow, you’ll show up lower in search rankings.
  • How about the site’s design? Is it welcoming? Does it appeal to the audience you’re trying to reach? You can have terrific content, but if it’s visually off-putting to your intended audience, your site won’t perform well for you.
  • Is it mobile responsive and mobile friendly? (Yes, those are two different things.) If it’s not, Google has a shocking change in store for you in March, 2021.

2. Is your business clear?

Your initial response to this question might be an eye roll, but bear with me for a minute.

I’ve seen sites for local businesses that never include the address, or even the part of the country the business is in. That’s an example of a business that isn’t clear.

Or maybe you’re a freelancer, and you offer writing services for medical supply companies and also sell travel videography. Those are pretty disparate services, without audience overlap. Will your business be clear enough to both cohorts that they’ll want to hire you?

There are ways to make it work, but they take some thought, planning and attention.

3. Is your navigation logical and easy?

Your navigation links are not the place to get cute or punny. Navigation should be clear, concise, logical, and make it easy for a new visitor to find what they’re looking for — ideally in three clicks or fewer.

Visitors expect to see a page that explains you and your business, and they expect it to be named “About” or “About Us.” So that’s what you should call it. No, it’s not imaginative, but your navigation is not the place for your flights of fancy or whimsy. Just sayin’.

4. Is your website easy to read?

Now, I’m not talking here about the quality of your content here, I’m talking about how your content appears on the page.

Does it invite the visitor to start reading. . . and then read a little more. . . and then keep reading? Formatting and design play a big part here.

Of course, the quality of your content should be as good as you can make it. (That kind of goes without saying.) The reality is, if it’s not easy to read — visually — nobody will read it, no matter how good it is. If you’re going to spend some time improving your website, pay attention to how the text shows up on the page.

5. Is your copy friendly?

Does it focus on the visitor?

You might think your website is all about you, but it’s really not. It’s all about how your readers can solve their problems with your help. Big difference.

6. Does your site support your sales and marketing?

If you sell products or services and you never mention them anywhere except on your sales page, the answer to this question will be “no.”

7. Is your site secure?

Your site must meet minimal security standards if you want to keep visitors reading, and help them to feel comfortable doing business with you.

Nothing is more unsettling to a visitor than that big “danger, danger” warning from Google that says “this site is not secure.” And, if your site isn’t secure, they’re not going to want to do business with you.

After Answering the Questions Above, Create a Plan of Action for Revitalizing Your Site

After answering the seven questions above, you’ll know which areas of your site to focus on.

Some are obvious. If your WordPress site isn’t secure, then do what you must to bring it up to standard. This should be priority #1, and this is a good place to start.

If your site loads slowly, figure out why and fix it. You’ll get a lot of helpful information if you analyze your site with a free service like GTMetrix or Pingdom.

To identify and fix other issues, you may want to get help from a friend or family member, someone who hasn’t stared at the site for hours and isn’t invested in it.

Or, request a site audit.

I’ll bring my objective best judgment to your website, find the answers to the questions I’ve outlined above, and create a customized report. I’ll point out the good, the bad, and the ugly, and make suggestions on how to fix and improve the problem areas on your website.

Revitalizing your website is a great way to start the new year, and will boost your bottom line.

Click here for more information about site audits.

This article was updated on December 10, 2020.

I totally get it.

You’re a freelancer or solo business owner. You need a website (or maybe you need to update the one you’ve got), but you don’t speak Geek and you just want to get it done.

You know that WordPress can make that website-building-thing a whole lot easier for you, but you’re not sure where to start. Or maybe you’ve bounced around a bunch of “helpful” sites and social media and now you’re more confused than when you started.

You just want to cut through the clutter, put up a site that will help you grow your business, and get back to the things you’d rather be spending your time on.

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