A website is never really “done.” There are always things to add, remove, refresh, and improve in order to make it more valuable to your organization and your audience.
But it’s often hard to know what to change and how to prioritize updates. As you start making plans for the year, here are five questions you should ask about your website.
1. What pages should you optimize?
Website optimization is an ongoing process. As you look at your home page, and pages for your product or service, free trials, demos, consultations, etc., are you getting the kinds of click-through rates and conversion rates that you want?
Sometimes this has more to do with the traffic you’re driving to these pages than it has to do with the pages themselves (if your audience isn’t relevant, they’re not going to click, sign up, etc.), but there’s always room for improvement.
You may already have strong feelings about why a page isn’t working the way it should. Maybe it’s too long, too short, or unclear. Or it focuses on the wrong benefits. This is a great time to put your theories to the test.
Note: A lot of organizations make the mistake of acting on whims and completely redesigning their website based on one person’s feelings. That’s not optimization. And it can seriously hurt your brand and reduce your website’s effectiveness. If someone thinks a change will improve your website, A/B test it.
2. Does your content meet your audience’s needs?
As you learn more about your audience, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of the problems they’re trying to solve, the goals they want to reach, and how you can help. This may come from a formal process like developing customer personas. Or it might simply be things you’ve heard from customer service or comments your customers make on social media or forum sites.
When you learn something new about your customers’ needs, that should shape how you talk to them and what kinds of resources you create to support them. Are there gaps in your content offering? Be sure to include those in your content strategy.
3. Is anything redundant?
Over time, websites tend to accumulate pages that cover the same things. Sometimes they’re even based on the exact same idea and intended to serve the exact same purpose.
It may seem insignificant, especially if these pages were published years apart, and you only promote one of them . . . but those redundant pages can actually be harmful. They create a confusing web of outdated content, and they can also hurt your rankings in Google—which means people are less likely to find your website.
That’s why cleaning up redundant content is an important part of blog maintenance.
4. Is your site mobile-friendly and fast enough?
About half of your website visitors are on mobile devices. And Google is getting ready to call out websites that tend to load slowly. So for some organizations, the biggest step they can take this year to improve their website is to increase speed and make sure it uses responsive design. It may mean changing the image file types, cutting down on excessive graphics, or even using a different website hosting service.
5. Will people find your site when they research your niche?
When your target audience has a question or wants to learn something related to your product category, Google is often the first place they turn. Ideally, you want people to find you at this stage, so they learn to see you as a thought leader who has helped them, and they get relevant exposure to your product or service.
But that can only happen if you take the time to explore what your audience is looking for (and finding) when they start researching your product category. Maybe this year you need to look into search engine optimization (SEO) and how you can strategically use your content to reach more of the right people.
Get the most from your website
Your website is a valuable asset to your business and an important resource for your potential customers. Make sure you’re asking the right questions about how you’re using your website and what you can do to improve it—for you and for your audience.