Is your website in need of a little TLC?

make your website work for youYou know your website is one of the most effective tools in your business toolbox, working for you day in and day out.  And you probably know you should be keeping it in tip-top form, performing regular maintenance and installing upgrades.  Business growth and the growth of your site go hand in hand.

But you’ve been busy. And something always comes up. Perhaps your site meets most of your business needs and doesn’t require a complete site overhaul.

Good news.  You can have a big impact by focusing improvements on targeted areas of your site.  Here are 6 updates that dramatically improve your site’s performance, speed, seo rank, digital reach (mobile sites) and its value to your customers and prospects: smaller commitments with big bang for the buck.   Also, these 6 updates set your wheels in motion for bigger and better improvements when you’re ready.

  • 1. Be sure you have standards-compliant and SEO-semantic HTML

You may not see the endless lines of coding and scripting that are the building blocks of your website but your website’s foundation is crucial–on many levels.

Compliant websites differ significantly from poorly-coded peers. This is especially true with older sites built pre-standards. Non-compliant sites are riddled with errors that can cause major structural issues, which negatively affect your site’s SEO ranking and appearance.  To many website visitors, your site may appear broken.

Yes, you can do a quick check to see if your site looks good.  Beware! Just because your site looks good on your monitor doesn’t mean it looks good across the spectrum of popular browsers that your users employ.  Have you considered Windows, Mac and Linux users? You can’t afford to ignore any user group.

Standards-compliant and SEO-semantic html and css can improve your search engine findability and ensure that your site looks great for 99% of visitors.
If your site is more than a few years old you may benefit from upgrading your site’s html coding. Call us for a free assessment of your website’s compliance, seo-friendliness and user-friendliness.

  • 2. Upgrade your hosting

Your site visitors have the world at their fingertips. They’ve landed on your site with a goal in mind. They want to get what they want and get out. They don’t have time to wait–and with countless other businesses competing for attention, they don’t have to.

It is a fact:  The typical site visitor waits only 8 seconds for your site to load before bouncing to a competitor’s site.  If your site is not performing at optimum speed, you could be losing a significant segment of your audience.  They come to your site ready to hear your message but are gone before you have the chance to show them how great you are.

Upgrading your site’s load speed and performance can significantly improve your visitor’s experience.  We see bounce rates (aka abandonment rates) drop double digits after our clients upgrade their hosting accounts or switch providers. Why bother?  The more visitors and the more time they spend on site are key success factors.  Also, these factors affect your search engine ranking.  Search engines know that when viewers choose between quick loading sites and “load speed challenged” sites, they prefer the quick—of course.  Load speed is a factor used by Search Engines to rank a website’s usefulness.

Can your website’s hosting benefit from a speed boost? Give us a call for more information about affordable and reliable website hosting solutions that will give your competitors performance-envy.

  • 3. Overhaul the home page

Your home page is prime selling space, with a key purpose and a load of responsibility. It must capture and keep your visitor’s interest and compel clicks and the desire to stay awhile.

Like an ambassador, your home page is the first thing visitors see, and when you overhaul, you make a measurable difference in the way your company is perceived. Connect visitors with the content, products or services they are looking for.  Organize and focus content.  Guide your visitors through easy, stress-free pathways.  With mere seconds to make a good impression and explain your site’s purpose, appearance definitely matters.   The great home page makes every second count.

Are you interested in improving your website’s homepage? Call us for a complementary home page review to discuss tangible ways that you can improve your home page for better results.

  • 4. Implement website analytics

Consider your website a work in progress.  Always plan for updates and improvements to enhance every visitor’s experience.  However—how do you know which aspects of your site are working, and which are not?

Enter Website Analytics. Web Analytics gives you invaluable information about the people who visit.  Website Analytics tells you how people find your site — by search engine, from a referral link or directly. You can track goals and marketing campaigns, discover usability issues and learn what is functioning optimally, and what needs improvement.

Analytics sheds light on more than your website.   This great tool illuminates your business, giving you information that you can use to improve your products, services and more.   Measure results and make business decisions based on facts not feelings, whims or guesses.What else can analytics data do for you? Call us for a free consultation to discuss your business goals and learn how you can start tracking your website and building your business.

  • 5. Enable your site for mobile

People are spending more time on their mobile phones than ever before. The mobile web is growing exponentially with studies predicting that by 2014 more people will access the internet by mobile phone than PCs.

While your website can be accessed by any mobile phone with a browser, chances are it won’t look and function optimally; mobile users won’t find it very useful.  Great website content isn’t necessarily great mobile content and although your desktop website may load very quickly, load times are quite different for mobile users.

Mobile websites are built specifically for the medium—a smaller screen—and with the unique needs and limitations of the mobile user in mind.   For example, folks on their mobiles read even less than desktop counterparts.  They’re on-the-go and just don’t have time to sift through tons of content.

These visitors have specific goals. They want access to local services and products. Studies estimate that nearly 50% of all local searches are accessed through mobile devices.  Overwhelmingly, mobile users are more likely to call or visit your location immediately after finding your website.  Half of such searches lead to a sale.

If your site doesn’t consider these users, you’re missing out on a huge piece of the pie.  Take comfort in knowing, though, that you’re not alone: Nearly 8 out of 10 businesses do not have a mobile site.  Get there first.  What a great opportunity for savvy businesses to optimize sites.

Will your business benefit from a mobile website? We can help you find answers by reviewing business objectives and understanding your customers. Give us a call for a no-commitment consultation to help you envision what a mobile site can do for you.

  • 6. Make regular updates to your blog or company news
Regular updated content on your blog or news section helps boost your SE ranking, keeps customers returning, and helps build confidence–while elevating perception of your company and its expertise.

For your visitors, blogs add a wealth of knowledge and offer tremendous value. Tune into your visitors’ needs and interests.  Provide information that is useful.  When you regularly create quality content, you outshine the competition.

We can help you with expert copywriting and ghostwriting services written in your voice. From content ideas and research, the creation of an editorial calendar to simple copyediting and polishing of your rough drafts — we can help you stand out, in a very manageable way.

Give us a call for a no-commitment consultation.  See what regular blog updates can do for your website.

The Take-away…

These 6 cost-effective and focused upgrades can boost your site at every level of performance, from visitor ease-of-use to bottom-line site spending.  And you don’t have to do them all—any one will give your site a visible and measurable boost.  We’re here to help you decide what works best for your site today, to provide a foundation for the continual growth of both your site and business.