There isn’t a site online that couldn’t use a little dusting off and reorganization. Spring is a wonderful time to have a close look at yours and do some cleaning. You can start by visiting your website like you would if it belonged to someone else. Better yet, have a friend or two visit and give it an honest evaluation. We’ll get you started with the following tips and tools.
- Optimize – There are several ways to optimize your website to reduce the strain on resources like file limits. Find your image/media folder and scan it for bloated file sizes that can be run through an image optimizer. You can also use blog tools that delete post drafts, remove spam and optimize databases, such as the free WP-Optimize plugin for WordPress.
- Check all links – Nothing frustrates a visitor more than a dead link. You can check outgoing links with a free tool like Broken Link Checker. Be sure to also check for any broken internal links via your website’s administration panel and set up a “404” page that directs people if a page has been permanently moved.
- Check navigation – Can you combine some blog categories into one? Are visitors able to easily find your products with a minimum number of of clicks? Is there enough white space? Clean, efficient navigation can seriously increase your conversions.
- Update information – Contact information is only one part of the info that should be up to date. Read all website pages to ensure they’re still current, like your advertising options/rates, company mission statement, product descriptions, or even facts in articles. Update or create a media info page while you’re at it. In this age of online information gathering, people expect to find a media page with information about your company, who to contact for media enquiries, etc.
- Reexamine keywords – Are your keywords still relevant? Have you been using them too much or too little? Are they in compliance with Google guidelines? Tools like SEMRush can do wonders to modernize and optimize your keyword strategy.
- Check for spammy content – Familiarize yourself with Google guidelines and clean up your site so you aren’t slammed at the next update. Polish your content, tag all advertising links “no follow” and/or “sponsored”, and make sure there are no lingering “blackhat tricks” like keyword stuffing. Evaluate how much advertising you’re doing as well, especially banners.
- Remove, replace or add blog plug-ins – If you are no longer using a blog plug-in, unplug it. Deactivating plug-ins will speed up your site load time and make it much easier to trouble-shoot incompatibility issues. Seek out the latest in plug-ins, avoiding those that don’t add function. Select plug-ins that will truly benefit your site and its visitors.
- Be social-friendly – There are tons of ways to make it easy for visitors to share your content on social media. For starters, make sure you include social sharing links on every page. Also include attractive images and use social sharing tools like SumoMe’s Image Sharer or Click to Tweet.
- Test, tweak, then test again – Use Google analytics or a myriad of other free tools to check out how individual pages are performing. Tweak this and that, then check again later to see the results. Always check your most popular pages because they speak volumes about what your visitors want (or don’t want) from you.
- Refresh affiliate programs – If you do any affiliate marketing at all, check the stat’s and income of each program and switch some out to keep it interesting. If you are a merchant who has an affiliate program, it’s a great time to design new banners and ask affiliates if they need anything from you. If you’d like to join an affiliate network, we recommend Share-A-Sale. For more information about starting or improving an affiliate program, check out How to Start an Affiliate Program for Your Canadian Business.
Most of these tips should be implemented on a regular basis. The first day of any season is a great reminder to do some online cleaning to keep things fresh and lucrative, but more often is better.
Do you save most of these chores for a certain time or are they ongoing tasks? Please share your routine in the comments below, or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.