Why Maintaining Your Website is a Must

Why Maintaining Your Website is a Must

As a business owner, you’ve got to wear many hats in the course of a day. You might be a salesperson one minute and a human resources manager the next. It’s a lot to do.

And, when it comes to add items to your to-do list, you might do everything you can to minimize what you take on. Your time’s limited – and valuable – and there are only so many hours in a day.

Website maintenance is the perfect example. It might seem unnecessary – and you might wonder if it’s something you can ignore.

Hot tip: It’s not. In fact, website maintenance is essential to everything from SEO to user engagement – and those things both lead directly to your bottom line. Here’s why.

Google and Website Maintenance

Let’s start with something that’s a huge priority for most business owners: earning (and keeping) a high Google rank for your primary keywords.

Let’s start with something that’s a huge priority for most business owners: earning (and keeping) a high Google rank for your primary keywords.

As you know, Google doesn’t make its search algorithm public. However, we do no some things about it. For example, we know that:

  1. Google prioritizes fresh content
  2. Websites with a high bounce rate don’t rank as high as websites with a low bounce rate
  3. Google cares about security and will sometimes penalize sites that aren’t secure

Put these three things together and it’s pretty clear that failing to maintain your website can affect your search rank.

WordPress and Website Maintenance

If you used WordPress to build your site, then you need to do routine maintenance to ensure that your theme, security, and plugins are all up-to-date.

In fact, that’s true of any Content Management System (CMS) websites, including Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and others.

A failure to do regular (at least monthly) updates on your website can lead to a host of problems, including slow loading times, security breaches, and even a drop in your page rank with Google.

Most updates don’t take long and considering the negative impact they can have on your website, they’re worth doing regularly.

Website Maintenance and the User Experience

What does website maintenance have to do with the way users experience your website? The short answer is: quite a lot.

You’ve probably had the experience of clicking on a link from Google’s SERP and landing on a page that’s slow to load. You may have hit the back button to return to the list of search results and try another site. In other words, you bounced – and that means that, as a user, you had a negative experience with that site.

A user’s experience on your website can also be affected by these things:

  1. Stale or outdated content
  2. Broken internal or external links
  3. A confusing menu or a lack of intuitive navigation (such as having your logo be a hotlink back to your home page)
  4. Page not found (404) errors
  5. Spelling and grammar mistakes

If it’s been a long time since you’ve updated your web content or checked your links, this might be a good time to do an audit of your site, identify potential problems, and fix them.

Website Maintenance and Security 

We’ve already covered several reasons that website maintenance should be a priority, but there’s one more – and it’s hugely important.

The security of your website – that means everything from your data to your users’ privacy to your server – depends upon regular website maintenance.

Let’s use WordPress as an example. If you have a WordPress site, then you’re probably using multiple plugins, whether they’re free or premium, to give your site the features you want. Any plugin has the potential to give hackers access to your site if it’s not properly maintained.

It’s your responsibility to install any updates and patches as soon as they become available. You’ve also got to ensure that your code is up-to-date and that you’ve done things like update your site to HTTPS to protect and encrypt your data.

What You Can Do Right Now to Maintain Your Website 

You know why website maintenance should be a priority, but what can you do about it right now? Here are some quick suggestions.

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard and check for updates to your WP theme and any plugins on your site. Install them immediately and then create a schedule to remind yourself to log in at least once a month to take care of updates.
  2. Do a quick audit of your site. Check for:

    a. Broken internal and external links
    b. Outdated or stale content
    c. Slow loading times
    d. Spelling and grammatical errors

  3. Fix any of the errors you identified in your audit. Internal links you can fix yourself. If an external link isn’t working, you should either remove it or find a link to replace it. If spelling and grammar aren’t your strong suit, hire a proofreader or editor to review your content for you.
  4. Update your content. Your basic content (like your homepage and About Us page) don’t need to be updated regularly, but it can’t hurt to make a few tweaks to get Google to crawl and re-index your page.
  5. Find a way to post fresh content at least once a month. Whether you add a blog to your site, write a press release, or add a news page that you can easily update, do something to ensure that you’re posting new content regularly.
  6. Backup your website to ensure you can recover your data in the event that something happens. Specifically, you should back up:

    a. Your website’s code, including Javascript, HTML, CSS, PHP code, themes, plugins, and other files. Plan a backup anytime you change or update your site, as well as any time your CMS releases an update.
    b.Your content, including audio files, images, text, and videos. Backup at least once a quarter – but, if you have a blog, you may want to create a new backup every time you post something new.

  7. Create a comprehensive web maintenance schedule to remind yourself of what you need to do and when you need to do it.

It might seem like a lot to do, but once you’ve done your initial maintenance, it should only take you a short amount of time to stay on top of things.

Maintaining Your Website is a Must…

Website maintenance might not be glamorous, but it can spell the difference between building a meaningful web presence and having your website fall off the map. Dedicating just a little time to it each month will ensure that users to your site have a great experience – and that your data is safe.

Your Website Redesign Checklist for 2020

Your Website Redesign Checklist for 2020

Is your website in need of a facelift? Even if you’ve spruced it up in the past couple of years, it might be outdated. And, if that’s the case, your website’s lackluster design could be hurting your business.

The key to a successful web redesign is understanding what the latest trends and tools are. Here’s what you need to know.

Website Redesign Checklist 

Let’s start with an overview of what you should be looking at. Then, we’ll drill down into some of the specifics, including my recommendations for the best tools to use for your redesign. Here are the steps to follow for your redesign.

  1. Audit your existing site. It’s important to make an impartial accounting of your website as it is now to determine whether you need to invest in a redesign. Your review should include:
    a. A review of your Google Analytics to see which aspects of your site are still performing up to your expectations, and what things need improvement.
    b. A look at your website’s aesthetics to see if its appearance is negatively impacting the user experience.
    c. A look at the technical aspects of your website, including plug-ins, security, links, and so on.
  2. Decide what your goals are. Perhaps you want to increase conversions, attract more leads, or increase your profits by 10% this year. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to keep them in mind during your redesign.
  3. Think about design options. Are you rebranding at the same time you’ll be redesigning your site? If so, your new design should reflect your new logo, colors, and brand identity.
  4. Create a site map. Your site map is an overview of the site’s architecture. It should include a complete overview of your menus and navigation with an eye toward creating an optimal user experience.
  5. Employ design best practices. Why mess with what is proven to convert best? That means including plenty of white space, putting your call to action above the fold, implementing light boxes and other conversion boosters, and linking your logo back to your home page.
  6. Research keywords. Keep in mind that recent trends favor long-tail local keywords and voice search. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to rank for top keywords anyway, so you might as well laser-focus your SEO to get the best results.
  7. Research the market and your competitors. It’s always a good idea to review your competitors’ websites and see what you can learn. For example, you might see that most of your competitors blog twice a week and have online stores. That’s information you can use in your own redesign.
  8. Research the market and your competitors. It’s always a good idea to review your competitors’ websites and see what you can learn. For example, you might see that most of your competitors blog twice a week and have online stores. That’s information you can use in your own redesign.
  9. Create evergreen content. If you have outdated content on your site, your redesign is the best time to update it. Evergreen content is extremely useful because it remains fresh with the passage of time.
  10. Take advantage of the latest website tech. The internet has evolved since 2012… Your web redesign should employ the latest plug-ins and technology. For example, you may want to consider adding a chatbot for customer service or using a plug-in that allows visitors to your site to write reviews.

Using this quick checklist will ensure that your redesign covers all the bases.

Tools for Your Redesign

I always like to recommend tools and resources to business owners. After all, you’ve got enough on your plate!

Let’s start with web design platforms. Here are the three I’d recommend.

  1. WordPress. WordPress is the single most popular web design platform in the world for a reason. They’ve got thousands of templates, a huge library of plug-ins, and an interface that’s easy to use even if you don’t have web design experience.
  2. WebFlow. WebFlow is a low-cost web design interface that’s ideal for beginners. It has a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface that will create HTML or CSS code for you. You can try it out for free and even start designing your site to see if you like it.
  3. Adobe Dreamweaver CC. Adobe Dreamweaver is a well-established web design product. While it costs a bit more than some of the other products on the market, it allows you to create a truly custom website even if you don’t have design experience.
Once you’ve chosen a platform, the next step is to choose the other tools to make your website look and perform up to your standards. Here are some other tools I recommend.

  1. WotNot is a bot-design platform that’s easy to use and can help you add automation to your customer experience. The thought of designing a bot might be an intimidating one, but this tool makes it easy enough that anybody can do it.
  2. ThriveLeads is a list-building plug-in that makes it easy to add opt-in and subscription forms to any page on your site.
  3. Yoast SEO is a WordPress plug-in that takes the guesswork out of search engine optimization. You can use it to choose keywords, optimize images, and create the best titles and meta description to attract traffic to your content.
  4. WP-Rocket is another WordPress plug-in that I recommend. It gives your site an instant speed boost when you install it. Considering that many business websites lose traffic due to slow response times, this is a premium plug-in that’s a worthwhile investment.
  5. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP gives you the option of viewing your Google Analytics directly from WordPress, making it easy to keep your website up to-date by responding to the data you collect.
  6. Akismet is a plug-in that eliminates spam comments that can clog up your website and create problems for your visitors.
  7. WooCommerce is a must-have plug-in if you have (or plan to add) an eCommerce store to your website. It’s the most popular eCommerce plug-in in the world.
  8. SearchWP is a WordPress plug-in that addresses an issue that a lot of people have with WordPress: its lackluster search function. With this plug-in, you can make it easy for your customers to search your website and find what they need.

Once your site is redesigned, I recommend reviewing your Google Analytics regularly. That way, you’ll be able to spot potential problem areas and fix them before they have a negative impact on your business.

Top Marketing Tools to Check Out in 2020

Top Marketing Tools to Check Out in 2020

The world of marketing is constantly evolving. What worked in the past may not be effective now – and if you never update your methods and tools, the chances are good that you’re missing out on opportunities to engage your audience and grow your business.

Since we’re at the beginning of a new year, this is the perfect time to update your marketing toolbox and add some new tools to the mix.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the top marketing tools that should be in your toolbox for 2020.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is my first pick. It’s a terrific tool that allows marketers and local business owners to understand how people find their businesses on Google.

This is a free tool that you can access via your Google account. The only preliminary step you must take is to verify that you’re the owner of your website. Once you’re verified, you can:

  1. View the keywords that visitors use to find your site
  2. Check out your most popular pages
  3. Check your backlinks
  4. Submit sitemaps to Google
  5. Track clicks on your site and links
  6. Understand how Google “sees” your page
  7. Check your site’s mobile usability
In other words, the Google Search Console is a versatile analytics toolbox that gives you a way to understand and improve the way Google (and your target audience) see your website. If you pick only one new tool to try out in 2020, make it this one!

Revive by Animalz

One of the biggest threats to your online visibility and viability is stale content. If you’ve been blogging for a while – or if your site hasn’t been updated in a few years – you probably have some content on your site that’s languishing from a lack of attention.

Revive by Animalz is a tool that’s designed to help you address the issue of stale content. Without it, you’d need to review every post on your site to determine which posts are outdated and in need of a refresh.

With it, you can simply plug in the URL of your website and let Revive do the rest. It will crawl your site and identify posts that are in a state of decay. (That sounds awful but really it just means pages and posts that are trending in the wrong direction.)

Revive is a free tool. To get your report, you’ll need to provide access to your Google Analytics account. In return, you’ll get a report that identifies the pages, blog posts, and other content that’s in need of an update. You can then use it as a roadmap to refresh your site and attract more traffic than ever before.


Have you ever wondered what your competitors are doing online? If the answer’s yes – and it should be! – then SpyFu is a marketing tool you should know about.

SpyFu allows you to “spy” on your competitors’ keywords and determine which ones are the most lucrative. You can use it to:

  1. Search for all domains and see where they show up on Google
  2. See every keyword your competitors have bought on Google AdWords
  3. See their organic search rank for each keyword
  4. View ads and ad variations for the past 13 years
You can also use it to track your own keywords and keyword rankings, making SpyFu an invaluable marketing tool for 2020.

SpyFu is a paid tool with pricing starting at $33 per month. The basic plan should be plenty for most businesses.


Hustle is a WordPress plugin that allows you to capture email address quickly and efficiently. It allows you to design pop-ups, slide-ins, email opt-ins and social following bars.

What I like about Hustle is that it’s fully integrated with just about every email marketing service. (I use a combination of Mailchimp for newsletters and InfusionSoft  for nicely passed follow-ups to opt-ins.)

As a bonus, Hustle includes exit-intent, which displays a pop-up or slide-in when a visitor is about to leave your page, and Google ReCAPTCHA to prevent spam. Best of all, it’s totally free.


Proof is a tool that makes it easy to display your – you guessed it! – social proof on your website. To install it, all you need to do is copy and paste their pixel onto your site page.

Once you have installed the pixel, it will integrate with your site or your CRM and show your targeted customers:

  1. Customer reviews
  2. Video testimonials
  3. Social media posts
  4. Hot streak notifications
  5. Live visitor counts

I especially like the hot streak notifications which Proof says are their top driver of conversions. You’ve probably seen these notifications when you check out an online product and see pop-ups letting you know whenever someone buys the product.

Pricing for Proof starts at $29 for the basic plan. They offer a free demo as well!


Flashyapp is a marketing automation platform that can help you improve your conversion rate in a variety of ways. You can use it to:

  1. Add smart pop-ups
  2. Manage your email marketing
  3. Manage your SMS (text message) marketing
  4. Send push notifications

It even has tools to help you manage retargeting ads by specifying what to do based on a customer’s actions. For example, you can offer different coupons based on the value of what a customer adds to their cart.

If you want to try it out, the Starter Plan is available for just $7 a month and the professional plan is $40 per month.


Tailwind is a scheduling tool that’s designed specifically for Instagram and Pinterest. It will walk you through creating an optimal posting schedule based on your audience engagement, traffic, and virality. Then, it will re-post content for your according to your schedule.

If your business is active on Pinterest, I think Tailwind is a must. It’s just as useful for Instagram. They offer a free trial that allows you to schedule up to 100 posts or Pins without a time limit. After that, the pricing is separate for Instagram and Pinterest, coming in at $9.99 per month for each platform.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few honorable mentions that I think deserve some love in 2020:

  1. Canva is a free tool with hundreds of design templates. If you don’t have the money to hire a professional designer, you can use Canva to create beautiful newsletters, presentations, and social media posts. Their basic plan is free, or you can upgrade to the Pro plan for $12.95/month.
  2. Hemingway is a readability tool that you can use for free online or download to your desktop for just $9.99. I like it because it helps eliminate complicated sentences that might deter readers.
  3. Pexels is a site with a decent collection of free stock photos. You can use them without attribution. Their selection isn’t huge but if you don’t have the budget to pay for photos, this is a great option.

With the right tools in your marketing toolbox, there’s no reason that 2020 shouldn’t be your best year yet!

How to Bring Your Social Media Presence Back from the Dead

How to Bring Your Social Media Presence Back from the Dead

How long has it been since you did anything with your company Facebook page (or Twitter or Instagram)?

If it’s been a long time, then you might feel stuck. How can you resurrect your social media presence? Is it possible? Should you bother?

The short answer is yes, it’s possible. You’ll need to be methodical and persistent. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Update Your Page

The first step is to update your page. Look at your profile and make sure that it includes:

  1. The full name of your business
  2. Your address
  3. Your telephone number
  4. The URL of your website
  5. Your email address

You should also update any additional information that’s outdated. For example, if you’ve changed your logo then you should add your new one. Have a new sign in front of your store? Take a new picture and post it.

Decide on Social Media Goals

The next step is to set some reachable goals for your social media marketing. Marketing is most effective when you have a clearly defined goals – something you want to achieve with your social media presence. Here are some examples:

  1. Increase your social media following and build your brand
  2. Get more readers for your blog
  3. Increase your views on YouTube
  4. Build your list

By articulating your goals, you’ll be able to steer your social media pages in the direction you want to go.

Create Original Content

If you’re going to reach any marketing goal using social media, you need original content to do it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on content creation, but you do need to keep your brand and goals in mind.

Original content can take many forms, including:

  1. Facebook status updates
  2. Written content (blogs, articles, white pages, etc.)
  3. Photographs
  4. Graphic content, including illustrations, infographics and cartoons)
  5. Video content
  6. Memes

Your content should always speak to your brand and the way you want your audience to think of you. In other words, it’s not a good idea to create cat memes unless cats are relevant to your brand.

Keep in mind that you can create original content on your own or hire someone to do it for you. For example, you can hire a freelance writer for your blog or commission a graphic designer to make infographics for you.

You should intersperse original content with curated content that you get from relevant websites and publications. Always be sure to put your own spin on the curated content you share.

Create a Content Posting Schedule

Social media marketing is about consistency – and that means you’ll need a schedule to follow when you post social media content. The good news is that there are lots of tools that can help you set up and stick to a schedule.

Facebook has built-in scheduling tools that you can use to set up posts ahead of time. The one thing I don’t like about it is that you can’t share posts from other pages on a schedule. You’ll need to open and copy the link to use the scheduling tool.

If you’ve got a social media presence on more than one site – say Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – then you may want to consider using a paid social media scheduling tool to help you keep track of everything. I like Hootsuite because it allows you to schedule posts and track their performance.

Speaking of scheduling, it’s a good idea to think about your posting frequency as well as your content. You should post:

  1. 1 or 2 times a day to Facebook
  2. 5-10 times a day to Twitter
  3. 1 to 2 times a day to Instagram
  4. 5-30 times a day to Pinterest
  5. 20 times per month (once per business day) to Linked In
  6. 2 or 3 times a week to YouTube

That might seem like a lot but check out the next step for tips on how to keep your social media marketing work manageable.

Eliminate Pages Based on Performance

What if you don’t have time to manage a Facebook page, an Instagram feed and a YouTube channel for your business?

I’ve got good news for you: you don’t need to. You are perfectly within your rights to choose to focus on just a few social media sites and let the rest go. If you have pages set up on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn and only your Facebook and Instagram pages are generating significant income, you can (and should) simply deactivate your other accounts.

Why? Because a dormant or inactive page is worse than no page at all. If people find you on YouTube and see what you haven’t posted a new video in years, it’s not going to impress them. There’s no rule saying you must be active on every social media site – so don’t be. Pick the sites that give you the biggest ROI and let the rest go.

Focus on Engagement

Engagement is what happens when someone comments on your post, shares it with their followers, or clicks on a link. In the world of social media marketing, nothing else matters.

Here are some pointers to help you engage with your social media followers:

  1. Ask questions and respond when people answer
  2. Monitor your social media mentions and engage with people who talk about your company
  3. Use hashtags wisely – for example, getting involved in social media community tags such as #ThrowbackThursday can help attract new followers
  4. Encourage participation by holding contests or requesting user-generated content

The more you can get people to interact with your content, the more organic traffic you’ll get.

Track Your Results

Finally, you should track your results on social media and refine your strategy based on what you learn. For example, you might notice that when you post a video on Facebook, it gets 10 times the engagement of your written content. That’s useful information because it tells you that it’s a good investment to make more videos.

Metrics can also tell you:

  1. What times of day and days of the week your followers are online
  2. What topics your audience wants to hear about
  3. Which social media pages get you the most traffic and sales

Using that information, you can refine and update your overall social media strategy and your marketing goals to give you the best possible chance of success.

The bottom line is that it’s never too late to bring your social media presence back from the dead. The key is to be practical, methodical and realistic – and to listen to your audience!

How to Turn Your Website into a Lead-Generating Powerhouse

How to Turn Your Website into a Lead-Generating Powerhouse

Your website is the headquarters of all your online marketing. It’s the first thing most people will find when they search for your business.

Between 70% and 80% of all consumers say that they research businesses online before buying products. In addition, 38% say that they’ll navigate away from a website if it is poorly designed.

It’s not a good idea to throw together a basic business website that doesn’t help you to generate new leads for your business. Your design must be user-friendly and intentional. Here are some tips to help you out.

 Facebook Business Page

Choose the Right Domain Name

It’s always surprising how many small businesses choose confusing or difficult-to-remember domain names for their business websites. Your domain name must be:

  1. Descriptive of your business
  2. Easy to type and spell (skip the dashes and weird abbreviations)
  3. Easy to remember

In addition to the name itself, you should also focus on finding a domain name that’s got one of the most popular extensions. These include:

  1. .com (by far the most popular)
  2. .net
  3. .biz
  4. .org

Less popular options, such as .info or .us, can confuse potential leads and make them choose a competitor over you.

Leave dashes and other punctuation out of your domain name and try to keep it short – under 15 characters is ideal. However, a lot of shorter domain names aren’t available and you’re better off choosing a .com name with a longer root than a shorter name with a less-common extension.

Design a Killer Home Page

In many cases, your home page will be the first thing a visitor to your site sees. That means it must be clear, attractive, and easy to read and navigate.

Your home page is like the cover of a book. It’s got to be welcoming and intriguing. You should have concise and compelling copy that explains who you are and what you do. You’ll also need original, meaningful images that sell your business.

We’ll talk more about calls to action later, but your home page absolutely needs a clear CTA and an irresistible offer, as well. The CTA should appear above the fold for the best results.

Boost Your SEO

If it’s been a while since you’ve researched keywords and optimized your page, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Google changes its search algorithm constantly. There are a lot of business sites that haven’t even taken mobile optimization seriously – something that’s inexcusable considering that more than 60% of all searches are done on mobile devices.

Optimizing for voice search should also be a priority. That means choosing long-tail keywords that are highly focused and specific. Make sure that the content on your website answers the most commonly asked questions about your business and products.

You should also use Schema markup to ensure that it’s easy for Google, Bing, and other search engines to scan and index your site.

Tell Visitors What to Do Next

A lot of small business websites have only one call to action. It’s usually on the home page, but a lot of times it’s hidden deep in the website’s structure. It may be out of sight at the bottom of the page, overly complicated, or unclear.

If that’s the case with your site, it’s time to ramp up your calls to action to make them obvious, easy to find, and simple to fill out. Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Include a call to action on every page
  2. Make sure your forms have the fewest possible number of fields
  3. Auto-complete fields whenever possible
  4. Tailor the CTA to the page it’s on
  5. Use strong verbs and wording that makes it clear what the user will get if they fill out your form
Your call to action should not be the only way for people to get in touch with you. You may also want to include a “Contact Us” option in your header or footer and include your email address or phone number on every page, too.

The point is, you want it to be easy for people to contact you.

Build Multiple Landing Pages

Another common mistake that local business owners make on their websites is not thinking of every page as a landing page. Including a CTA on each page is only part of the process.

Each landing page should be specific to a common search query. Why? Because it can be confusing if you try to pack too much information on a single page. If someone comes to your site looking for tires, they shouldn’t have to wade through tons of content about mufflers and brakes.

HubSpot’s research shows that businesses with 30 or more landing pages perform best in organic search and lead generation. 30 might be too many for your business, but you should give some thought to creating specific pages that speak directly to a searcher’s intentions and needs.

Focus on the User Experience

Creating a great user experience on your site isn’t a direct lead-generating strategy, but it’s something that will help to keep visitors on your site long enough to respond to your calls to action and offers.

Creating the right user experience includes:

  1. Creating clear, easy-to-find menus that appear on every page of your site
  2. Using lots of white space to make your content easy to read
  3. Breaking up text with images
  4. Using short, easy-to-read sentences
  5. Building a system of internal links
When users enjoy being on your site, they’ll stick around. If it’s difficult to find what they need, you’ll lose them.

Use Your Content to Generate Leads

One of the best ways to generate leads is to create content that sells your business and makes people want to buy from you. You can do that by choosing meaningful blog topics that allow you to demonstrate your expertise and talk about the solutions you provide.

Come up with topics by asking:

  1. What problems does my business solve?
  2. Why do people need help with X problem?
  3. What’s different about my business?
  4. What surprising benefits come with patronizing my business?
Providing answers to these questions will ensure that you’re giving your readers the kind of content they crave. You can expand the reach of your blog by sharing your posts on social media and repurposing blog posts as videos or infographics.

There’s no reason that your website can’t be generating leads every day. The tips we’ve outlined here will help you take your lackluster site and turn it into a lead-generating superhero.

7 Ways To Make Sure Your Website Is Up To Date

7 Ways To Make Sure Your Website Is Up To Date

Is your website hip and modern – or is it out-of-date and sad? If it’s been a while since you updated your site, there’s at least a chance that it’s a dud. That doesn’t mean it’s poorly designed, but it does mean that it’s your job to give it an honest evaluation and update it if it’s not good enough.

Fortunately, an update doesn’t mean a full redesign. Here are 7 simple things you can do to make sure your website is offering the user experience and value your customers deserve.

#1: Optimize for Voice Search

One of the biggest problems I see with websites is that many are using keywords that haven’t been updated in years. The days of short, generalized keywords are long past. Instead, focus on voice search, which is already important and on the rise.

As of 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice-based. With virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana more popular than ever, it’s safe to assume that a hefty percentage of the people who land on your site will get there via voice search.

#2: Add Structured Landing Pages

Structured landing pages have content that’s easy for Google to interpret. They provide context for your content and identify how it relates to your metadata.

The best-known tool for structuring your content is Schema markup. Schema provides a vocabulary that web developers can use to structure data around people, places and things on the web.

When you add Schema markup to your site, it delivers rich snippets and rich cards as part of your search result on Google — making it easy for users to choose your site over the others that are available.

#3: Update Your SEO

Optimizing your website takes times, which is why a lot of companies do it only when they notice a big drop in their traffic. If it’s been a while since you updated your SEO, then it’s time to take another look. Why? Because Google updates its algorithm constantly.

The most important update in the past few years has to do with relevance. Google Rank Brain, which is now part of Google’s search algorithm, prioritizes sites based on their overall relevance to the term being searched. It measures bounce rates and the amount of time visitors spend on your site. The longer you can get them to stay – something that’ll happen if you provide tons of relevant content – the better off you’ll be.

#4: Be Ready for Mobile

There’s really no reason for any website not to be mobile optimized at this point. Google rolled out its Mobilegeddon update back in 2015. That’s when they started to penalize sites that weren’t mobile optimized.

It’s not enough to have a mobile site now. You need a site that’s perfectly optimized for mobile users. That means that mobile visitors can get the same content and functionality as a visitor using a desktop computer regardless of which device they’re using.

Some things that are particularly important are having buttons that are right-sized for mobile users, content that’s easy to read with no teeny fonts or horizontal scrolling, and access to ALL the relevant content on your site – not just a few things.

website design

There’s plenty of research that shows that people give just as much importance to third-party reviews online as they would to a recommendation from a trusted friend. If you’re not including some type of social proof on your website, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to show casual visitors to your site that they can trust you.

#6: Improve Your Page Loading Time

How quickly does your website load? If the answer is more than four seconds, then it’s a virtual certainty that you’re losing visitors as a result. After just three seconds, approximately 53% of mobile users will navigate away from a site and try another one. The numbers are just as bad for desktop users.

The problem with not updating your website often is that technology keeps moving. You can use a free online site loading speed testing tool such as Pingdom to see how fast your site loads. If it’s not making the grade, you’ll need to upgrade it to ensure that you’re not losing customers faster than you can attract them.

#7: Update Your Call to Action

Call to Action

However, not all Calls to action are created equal. And if your calls to action are outdated and tired, then you might be losing subscribers and leads as a result.

Think about the opt-in form for your mailing list. What’s the call to action? Does it just say SUBSCRIBE or SUBMIT? If it does, then it’s time to rethink it and give it some spice.

I’m a big fan of calls to action that emphasize something positive about subscribing to your list. Here are a few examples:

  1. Yes! Send me special offers each week!
  2. Download our “10 pounds in 10 Days” Workout for FREE!
  3. I’m ready to save 20% on my car insurance!

I also like the idea of using humorous opt-outs because I think they nudge people in the direction of subscribing. Here are some opt-outs that could pair with the calls to action above:

  1. No, saving money is not for me
  2. I don’t need any weight loss help – my abs are perfect.
  3. No thanks, I’d rather pay more somewhere else.

 Those are goofy, but I’ve seen a lot of opt-in forms with similar wording – and for good reason. They’re effective. Let’s face it, it feels a little silly to click a button to say you don’t like money.

Your website might be out of date, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. The 7 quick fixes here will help you give your Google rank a boost and ensure that you’re not missing out on leads and subscribers because your website’s more vintage than modern.