The web is a living thing – always changing and evolving. I often tell my clients that nothing is “set it and forget it” – you should always be reviewing and evaluating what’s working or isn’t working for you and your users. Standards and technologies change rapidly and a site you created more than a few years ago is likely out of date.
Sometimes it’s difficult to step back and see what’s not working when you’ve been looking at your own site for years – you may not realize what is hard for visitors to find or how users are really interacting with your site.
A few things to check out:
1. Is it time to make your site mobile friendly?
If you designed your site more than 2 years ago, it’s likely that it wasn’t done with mobile friendliness in mind – the standards just weren’t there yet. Techniques and standards are still being fleshed out — this is by far the biggest change to web design in years. I personally made it a mission that every custom site I designed in 2012 would be responsive.
Responsive sites adjust their layout based on the viewport of the device that is used – whether phone, tablet, laptop or other device. For smaller businesses, I prefer creating responsive sites rather than mobile specific sites – this means you only need to update one site, not two. With increasing numbers of smartphones and other devices accessing websites it’s smart to plan ahead.
Check out the recently launched elenabrower.com as an example of a responsive site.
If you have google analytics installed, you can easily see what types of devices people are using to visit your site – you might just be surprised how many mobile and tablet visitors you have!
2. Are your users able to find the information they need easily?
I’ll often check up on sites I created a few years back to see tons of badges, photos and random text all over what was once a clean and easy to navigate home page. You know that adage when dressing – step back, look in the mirror and take off the first distracting thing you see? You can apply this to your website as well.
Think back to your primary mission – what do you want people to do?
– Sign up for your newsletter?
– Get your class schedule?
– Purchase a product/session?
– Contact you?
– Start reading and interacting with your blog?
THAT call to action is what should take prominence on your site.
Take a fresh look and see if you’ve added a lot of unnecessary clutter to your site.
3. Does everything still work?
Plugins stop getting supported, links get deleted, videos get moved – when was the last time you checked every page and link on your site?
Have a work study student, intern or assistant? This is a perfect opportunity to have them review all the content and links.
4. Are you backed up?
I know. it’s like flossing. But backups are critical, especially if you get hacked or want to move to a new webhost.
One of my newest favorite plugins is backup to dropbox – this free plugin will backup your wordpress site files and uploads to your dropbox account.**
I’m a believer in redundancy, so I also make a backup of the database using wp-db-backup and save it to my hard drive.
5. Are you protected?
Recently, one of my former clients reached out in a panic – her site had been hacked. I’ve created hundreds of sites over seven years and have rarely seen a hacking. After a bit of digging, I discovered she had another site on the same server that hadn’t been kept up to date – leaving the hackers a wide open terrain. Since that other updated site was on the same server, the site I had created also got attacked.
I was able to restore her site quickly due to 2 things:
– A recent clean backup (see #4)
– The amazing team at securi.net** – they will investigate, clean up and remove any issues on your site in a matter of a few hours. Once your site is clean, follow their recommendations to maintain a clean site. If you’re going to invest in your online presence, I highly recommend using a monitoring service like Securi – peace of mind for a few dollars.
Is is time for a website review?
I offer a few spots each month for one-on-one in-depth site reviews and consultations.
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