Parachute

Parachute’s 12 Steps to Improve Your Website

1) Update Your CMS

If you are using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress then you may very well need to update your software. Similar to mobile phone software updates, CMS updates will improve your interface and amend any bugs that may be present. Not updating your software may weaken security and increase the risk of hacking.

CMS updates can be daunting if you don’t know much about development and may be beyond your expertise. If your site was created by a company, then they will most likely update your CMS on your behalf. If you would prefer to update your content management system yourself, WordPress have created a guide that you can follow.

2) Revisit Your Websites Goals

When you first decided that you would like a website for your business, you no doubt had some goals in mind, most likely ones that coincided with your business plan. Take this opportunity to revisit your initial goals, find out if you are achieving them or if they need to be revamped a little. Goals and aspirations naturally diversify as a business matures, there is no shame in scraping old goals and creating new ones if you feel as though they do not fit with the way the business is currently going.

Not sure where to start? A good website, is one with a clear and concise vision which is portrayed well to users through the use of various techniques. In simple terms, what do you want your website to do? Sell? Inform? Convert?

3) Rethink The Website Navigation

The navigation of your website must be simple and holistic in order to make a good first impression. Ask friends who are not as familiar with your site as you are to try and navigate around your site and provide you with feedback. No matter how much content a site has on it, there is no need for a user to feel as though they are in the Crystal Maze when they are trying to find a piece of information. Discuss any feedback that you received with your web team to find a solution to any navigation issues.

4) Do a Quick Sweep of Your Website

Run through your site and make a note of any information that needs to be updated. This is a great task to do if you only have 10 minutes to spare; make a note of any changes and pencil them in for later on in the week.

 

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5) Do a Technical Sweep of Your Website

This is a more thorough sweep of your site. Look for broken links (links that do not work or direct to the correct place), run through any e-commerce sections of your site to ensure they are working and check that your mailing list is working. I’m sure you have experienced websites with technical flaws and you have come off of the site, reluctant to return. Be sure to check the technical elements of your site regularly to encourage users to return. To save time, consider using a Broken Link Checker Software to sift through your website for you.

6) Do an Image Sweep of your Website

Visual content is an excellent way to increase user engagement IF you are using quality photos. The last thing users want to see is a website that resembles their Piczo profile from 2006! Consider hiring a photographer to take professional photos of your business that you can use time and time again. This is something that’s worth investing in, a good photo will speak volumes for your business.

7) Do a Consistency Evaluation of Your Website

Check over the punctuation of your site. Does all of the copy speak with a similar tone or could some paragraphs be revisited? More importantly, does the tone accurately reflect your business and does it speak to your customers in the correct way? If you don’t feel as though the copy on your website represents your business well, then you may want to consider hiring a copywriter to make these changes for you since it’s a relatively large undertaking. The content on your website will have a huge impact on your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): using relevant keywords in your copy in moderation to increase your search rankings. This is something that can be undertaken on your behalf by a professional web copyrighter or could be something you do in your spare time after a bit of research.

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8) Update Your Testimonials

Think back to the last item that you ordered off of amazon, did you read the customer reviews before completing the transaction? Why did you do that? Quite simply put, you wanted a candid review and you trusted complete strangers to give you their honest opinion. It’s quite odd when you think about it, really.

9) Dust off Your Social Media Accounts

Is the information on your social media accounts up to date or could it be doing with a revamp? Be ruthless here; social media is vital to a strong digital marketing strategy, however, bad social media can be detrimental to a business. Do you have accounts which haven’t been used in months? Make the choice to either revamp them or delete them permanently. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a social icon on a website and being redirected to their Facebook page which hasn’t been updated since 2013. In my opinion, two strong social media accounts are far better than 5 lackadaisical outlets.

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10) Check Your Site is Responsive

2016 is the year of frictionless design: websites should be clean, concise and focused around the user journey. If your site is not optimised for mobile devices, potential customers will most likely abort your website and go to a competitor’s. Responsive design is no longer a bonus to a website, it is necessary and search engines will penalize you for not having a fully optimised site which will have an impact on how your website it ranked.

If you already have an optimised website, then good job. Check over your site on various devices to make sure that your site works efficiently across all platforms. If you have any issues, then you should contact your web company.

11) Set up Google Analytics

We’ve said it before and We’ll say it again, you NEED Google Analytics in your life! Analytics are invaluable to your business strategy; find out what time users are landing on your site, where they’re from, what pages interest them most and much more. How is this useful to you? Well, let’s say that your website peaks at 8pm on a Wednesday night, especially in Glasgow and most users visit your bedding page but sales have been low over the past few weeks. Maybe you would like to consider placing an exclusive offer on bedding on a Wednesday night between 6-10pm to increase sales? Ideally, you would want to contact everyone in your email database before the offer goes live to alert them of the exclusive deal.

12) Create a Content Planner

A content planner does what it says on the tin. Plan your blog content and/or social media content weeks in advance to keep you on track. Consistent content which has a clear message is highly shareable and will do wonders for your online presence. Think about what your reader will be interested in, use tools like Keyword Planner or look on competitor’s site’s to see what they’re doing. The key here is to create unique content which users won’t be able to find anywhere else. Maybe it’s an exclusive interview with a designer or your top 12 tips on how to look after your clothes. Planning in advance will keep you on track during busy periods and will prevent you from regurgitating the same content time after time. Not only will the content planner allow you to consistently produce, quality content; it will also improve your SEO, especially if you use quality backlinks and keywords (in moderation).

 

At Parachute we thrive on holistic content, flawless design and dreamy interfaces. No really, we actually get a kick out of it. If you would like to find out how our digital virtuosos could help you develop your business’ online strategy, say Hello:
Email: hello@thisisparachute.com
Glasgow Address: 4 Lansdowne Crescent, Glasgow, G20 6NQ
Tel: 0141 357 4556

Photo Credit: Gizmodo