Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Website
Spring is here and with it comes spring-cleaning. For many of us, this might be something we reluctantly put off until mid-June, while others (like me) jump right on it with all the pent up energy held in check over the long, cold winter.
Personally, I have been undertaking a full KonMari Method on my home. Created by a Japanese organizational expert (and now superstar) Marie Kondo, her method is optimistically entitled, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her methodology creates a sorting process that leads you to keep only items that spark joy.
This has worked well for my home but I wondered what would happen if I applied the same principles to my worklife. I began applying KonMari to my email, my to-do list, and even my iTunes playlist (a tool just as important to my sanity as the computer itself), and my load lightened immediately. This got me thinking, "Can this method help with website maintenance and digital marketing efforts?"
First Step: Sort by Category
The genius of the KonMari Method is the structure. You sort items by category, allowing you to take an efficient, easy to manage inventory. For websites, I would suggest sorting by these functional areas:
- Website Content Areas (pages with text and information)
- Pictures and graphics
- Links (internal and external)
- Pages (all pages on your site)
- Functional elements (contact forms, calls to action, etc.)
- Plugins (if using WordPress)
Step Two: Discard Anything That Doesn't 'Spark Joy'
Now you think I'm crazy, right? To eliminate pages that don't spark joy could eliminate half the pages on your website. But really, what sparks joy in your life and the life of your business? Very often, there's work to be done that can help those pages spark joy.
When doing your annual website refresh, make sure your content is current, share a recent case study or testimonial, and remove clutter. Freshen up the look of your website by replacing old images. If parts of your website don’t work, or don’t speak to solving your customers’ problems, fix, revise or delete the offenders.
For those pages you love, but that aren’t performing well on the search engines, check your SEO and review ways to boost on-page optimization by adding additional content and more relevant keywords.
Step Three: Give Everything a Home
Once you've freshened, optimized and rededicated your website elements, give every element in use on your site a true home. If you add content regularly, make sure there is a blog function with pagination so your visitors can navigate through helpful articles. If you have multiple case studies, don't just pepper your site with them (although you should do this as well), but give them a page of their own, so people can view multiple case studies.
The same goes for project galleries, testimonials and contact information.
Step Four: Care For the Things You Have
Content management systems (CMS) make updating and maintaining websites easier than ever. Keep in mind that all software needs updates to keep working safely and efficiently.
One of the reasons WordPress is the CMS of choice for so many is the wide variety of plugins available to add functionality. One of the most important yet neglected areas of website maintenance is updating these plugins. Be aware that this process does carry some risk but the risk of not updating your plugins far outweighs the possibility of breaking your website (which can always be fixed) especially if there is a security flaw that leaves your site vulnerable to cyber spam or hacking.
Since updating plugins can potentially break your site, be sure to back up your site before updating in case there is a conflict with your version of WordPress.
Step Five: Re-Promote Your Website or Content
If you've gone to the trouble to do this spring cleaning, why not promote your site to your customers? Draft an email that says, "We've recently updated our site to offer helpful information to our customers. We'd appreciate your feedback after visiting www.oursite.com." You might be pleasantly surprised by the feedback you get.
At a minimum, try promoting an article or page on your site you feel is particularly important or relevant to your customers’ concerns. Keep in mind every new visitor to your site has never seen your content before - you can always make a new first impression.
Now on to my desk...
Spring cleaning can be hard, but it's also a fun way to renew your business' online energy. Need help finding the magic? Check out our Free eBook, A Website Redesign Guide, to help you get focused....