Spring is here (nearly), and you know what that means? SPRING CLEANING! Time to start cleaning up, cleaning out, and starting fresh. But why limit that to your house or your closet? Now’s the perfect time to also take a closer look at the functionality, usability, and relevance of your website, and where you may be able to make some improvements.
When was the last time you took a close look at the content on your website? Does it still reflect your mission, expertise, and target market? I have to admit I’m not checking my website as consistently as I should, but I actually used to prepare for this episode to give my website a good look over and updated a few things.
It didn’t take me long, just a few hours overall, and it feels really good knowing that everything is working and in tip-top shape. Curious what I did? Well, you’re in luck – I have 10 things that you can do to spring clean your website and make sure it’s up to date. Some of them will only take you a few minutes, and some of them will take you a little bit longer. They are in no particular order and you don’t have to tackle them all, just see what you can do and what maybe inspires you to put it on your to-do list for later.
#1 Exchange Your Homepage Header Image
The first thing I did was update my homepage header image. I don’t have any new images yet, I really have to organize a photoshoot here in Hamburg because all my pictures are from Bali and that’s not really my life anymore. But that’s not a small thing, that’s something that I need time to prepare, and if I’m honest, something that stresses me out because I hate doing it so I’m always postponing it. So, I used an existing image, but one that feels more like Spring, with some green color in the background.
You won’t believe how powerful images are when defining your site’s vibe until you replace them. That’s why new visuals make such a big difference in a website makeover. Adding and removing images from your site is one of the simplest ways of giving a fresh look and feel to it. One simple click and you’ve got yourself a whole new look.
#2 Update Your Brand Message
Next, I updated my brand message – that’s the text that I have in my header where I tell my website visitors what I do. I just created a lesson on how to write your brand message for my brand-new course, Blissful Brand Blueprint, and that got me to update mine.
Here it is in case you’re curious:
I help yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs build a soulful online business that’s aligned with your values AND successful.
This way my visitors know right away what I do and who I’m working with. I strongly recommend that you have something like this on your homepage, close to the top. The most important thing to remember here is to keep it simple. If your message is confusing, people tune out. Instead, you need a simple, quick message everybody can understand at a glance.
If you don’t have that, potential customers might get confused about what you offer, or they can’t see the picture of how their lives will improve by working with you. When this happens, your message falls flat.
#3 Update The Copyright Date In Your Footer
Okay, moving on to something really simple that will take you only a minute, but that a lot of us oversee! Tell me the truth, are you still displaying the copyright year of 2020 (or even older) in your footer? If yes, you’ll want to update this to the current year.
Legally I don’t think it’s an issue if you don’t have the correct date, but as I see it, updating this communicates to your visitors that you actually update your website. This matters less at the beginning of the year, but as the year goes on, you don’t want people to think that you aren’t updating your website! You don’t want to look unprofessional, right?
#4 Test Your Website For Broken Links
While this should be done more than once a year, now is a great time to check your website for broken or outdated links. There are few things more frustrating for your visitors than clicking on a link that brings you nowhere, or to a 404 (Page Not Found) page, and it can seriously lessen your credibility. I know it’s not the most fun thing to do, but it’s necessary.
Thankfully there are free tools that make the task of finding broken links much easier. If you google Broken Link Checker you get many options, like Deadlinkchecker.com. What you want to find are 404 errors. When you have them on your website, you should either fix the links so they go to the correct page, or set up redirects.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress website, you can do easily this with a plugin, for example, the free plugin “Redirection”. This is what I use and it’s great. You simply add the name of the page you want to redirect, for example, your broken link, and the link for the correct page.
#5 Test Your Forms
After looking for broken links, you should also test all the forms on your website and make sure they are still working. So, fill out the contact form and sign up for your newsletter and any other forms that you have, and make sure everything is working as it should.
#6 Add A New Feature
Just like you want to have some new clothes in your closet come spring, it’s also nice to add a new feature to your website. There are of course a million different things you can do, but I added a chatbox!
This is a little icon at the bottom of my page, and when visitors click on it they can chat with me (if I set myself to available) or send me a message and I get an email and can get back to them later. I’m using HubSpot because it’s integrated with my WordPress theme, Avada, and they have a free plan that works great. I also think it looks nice and is easy to use.
It’s normally really easy to set up. You need to sign up for an account on their website and install their plugin. If you’re not using WordPress and can’t install plugins, you’ll need to check if it works with your website platform first, or if maybe they offer different tools. You then log in on their website, open the dashboard, and set yourself as available whenever you want, or just reply by email when someone sends a message.
I have to admit that I’m not saying I’m available very often because I’m always afraid that I will miss the notification that there is a message, and then people will wait for me to reply in the chat. I want to do it more, I just have to train myself to change the setting every time I’m taking a break and am not looking at my screen.
#7 Update Any Dates On Your Website
Again, we want your website to be current and as up-to-date as possible. So for example, on your about page, make sure that you update things like “I’ve been teaching yoga for 3 years” when now it’s been 4 years. Even subtle things, like if you mention your own age or your children’s ages or how long you’ve been married. There are so many “date” opportunities on a website.
#8 Add Fresh Testimonials
This is something we all tend to forget, myself included. We add some testimonials to our website when we launch it, and then we forget about them. But maybe you got some amazing feedback from some of your students recently, or launched a new offer and got great reviews for it! Look at the testimonials on your website and decide if you want to add new ones or exchange older ones for more recent feedback.
It’s not about having a ton of testimonials, but more about the quality of them. It will help you much more if you have the right testimonials that are relevant and relatable for your customers. If you’re not sure how to get great testimonials, I recorded an episode a few weeks ago where I share my step-by-step process of how to get great testimonials. Definitely check it out here.
#9 Update Your Theme, Plugins, etc
So, this is something that you should definitely do more than once a year. I actually have a recurring task once a month to update my website. Check if there is a new WordPress version, theme updates, or plugin updates and update everything. If you have a WordPress website this is really important, because otherwise, your website could be open to attacks if there was a safety issue.
It’s nothing to worry about too much, normally nothing ever happens, just make sure that you update everything consistently, like once per month. While you’re at it, also check if you still use all of your installed plugins, and deactivate and delete any that you no longer need.
#10 Add a Welcome Video
Having a welcome video on your homepage that explains what you do is one of the easiest and most effective ways of engaging a user and building trust (especially one that is new to your brand). It doesn’t have to be a big production – try to keep your videos on the shorter side (less than 3 minutes) so that you do not lose your visitor’s interest.
The idea is just to give someone a quick overview of what you do; not your entire life story. You can simply film yourself with your computer webcam talking to the camera, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, and then embed the link to the video on your homepage.
And there you have it: 10 small but mighty ways to refresh your website for spring!
Now it’s your turn, promise me you‘ll take action and implement at least some of the things I’ve shared.