New Year Website Resolution

Resolution one: Regularly audit your site

When you first launch your website, you’re careful to double check every last pixel, making sure that everything’s perfect. But after a while, standards can slip. When did you last look through your website, page-to-page and check for any errors or issues? Typo’s, 404 pages, broken images… the only way to catch everything that needs fixing is to go through and have a look.

When any of our team need to go onto our own website, we make sure we’re vigilant and look for any issues whilst doing what we need to do. This can be anything I’ve mentioned above, but also pages that load slowly, or maybe something doesn’t look right on mobile or in a different browser from the one you usually you. It can be a slow and tedious task, but if you do it as you go along or specify a specific day in your calendar, you’ll have a better, cleaner website that provides a more straightforward and seamless experience to your site visitors. Plus, you’ll be in the mood to tackle some more New Year’s Resolutions…

Resolution two: Check your website security

Nearly 70% of UK firms were hit by a cyber-attack in 2018. While government institutions, known brands and bigger companies are the main targets for hackers, that doesn’t mean you can stay complacent when it comes to security. Even if you’re a smaller business and website owner, you need to take it seriously.

in 2019, you should pledge to make your website more secure, especially if your business relies on your website to make money. Anything that accepts payment or deals with sensitive information from customer’s needs to be:

– Backed up, so if something did happen, you can restore it quickly and easily.
– Look into a something that regularly scans your website for vulnerabilities so that     you can proactively take care of them before they can be used against you.
– Ensure all your software is up to date.
– And finally, if you’re tech-savvy, review and complete these website security steps.

By keeping your software up to date and ensuring that any vulnerabilities in your code are dealt with, you can make it much harder for any hackers to attack your website.

Resolution three: Analyse your analytics

As a website owner, you should regularly be checking your Google Analytics. But, at the beginning of the New Year, it’s even more useful to do a thorough review of the data. Expand your usual time parameters and look at trends for the year previously and see how they compare to years before those.

Sit down with the analytics and consider the bigger picture. Perform a thorough analysis and note important insights and takeaways that you may have missed just looking at the weekly or monthly results.

When used properly, Google Analytics is an absolute Godsend. You should be using it to get an overall feel for your website pages and whether or not they’re doing they’re job. Google Analytics gives you the opportunity to investigate why they’re not working to their true potential.

By doing a review, you can expect to walk away with a list of action items (or more resolutions) that you can take to improve your website in the New Year.

Resolution four: Change your passwords

You know in your heart of hearts, that “Password1234” is not a secure password. So now is the time to change it. You should set yourself a reminder for once or twice a year, to remind you to change it. If it’s been a while since you updated the password for various logins, now is the time to get on and change them. 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error

Cyber-criminals and hackers will infiltrate your company through your weakest link – which is almost never in the IT department – it’s scarily, quite often insecure passwords.

We know that changing all your passwords is a faff, but it could be the difference between your having a website, and not. Plus, for extra security, make sure your various logins are unique – don’t use the same password to access your WordPress login that you use for your debit or credit card accounts.

New Year’s Resolution number five: Find and update all broken links

Broken links are frustrating. Plus, they’re often one of the culprits behind high bounce rates. Have you ever clicked on a link only to land on a 404 page or *shudders at the thought* an error page, with no information at all? Inevitably, a website that has been around for a while, will more than likely have them.

You can use a free online tool that will automatically check your entire website for broken links.

Whilst you’re checking your website, make sure to have a look at your 404 pages. Is it boring looking? Does it point your visitors in the right direction? You should ensure that landing on the wrong page for your visitor, isn’t a bad experience – it should be useful and even fun! Obviously, we don’t want visitors ending up there, but if they do and it’s a good 404 page, they’ll be less likely to leave your site altogether!

Resolution six: User Experience Testing

When you first built your website, it might have offered an intuitive experience, it might have been ultra-modern and up with the times.  But if that was 5 years ago and you’ve done nothing with it since, it could be out of date and user habits may have changed.

The only way to ensure your website provides the best kind of user experience, e.g. easy to use, whilst still helping to drive them towards the actions you want them to take is to do user testing.

Before we launched our brand-new website, we asked our team, our friends and family and some of our clients to navigate themselves around our website and provide some outsiders eyes. We made observations on how they use the website and whether or not they came across any difficulties, e.g. when they were trying to find a service etc.

If you have an e-commerce website, get them to make a couple of purchases and listen to their thoughts on the transaction process. AND never forget to include mobile testing as a part of the user experience; in 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, meaning it’s crucial that you provide a good experience for them there too.

Resolution seven: Time for a website redesign?

Every couple of years, your website will require a full redesign. The digital world is a fast-paced one, which is constantly changing. Your website should reflect that your business is up with the times. If it’s been a while and you feel like you need a refresher, consider what you WANT from your website.

Use a digital agency that you trust and work with them to clearly define your goals. They will ask you what you want; everything from visual style, layout and colour schemes. Are there any other sites that you like and want to emulate? What isn’t working for you on your current website and any feedback you’ve had from your own clients.

The hashtag #NewYearNewMe is now #NewYearNewWebsite – an exciting and refreshing way to start 2019 and a great way to improve on the previous year.

Resolution eight: Mobile friendly

I mentioned in resolution number 6 that over half of all internet browsing is now done on mobile phones. So, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer optional.

Your website should be intuitive and user-friendly for people on mobile. If you haven’t already ensured that your website works as wonderfully on mobile as it does on the desktop, 2019 is your year to ensure it does.

Resolution nine: To blog or not to blog!

If you’re not, you should be. Fresh content gives you a greater chance to engage with visitors and gives them a bigger reason to keep coming back to your website. It also helps you rank better in search engines, especially when using correct keywords.

If you’re trying to build and email list, the promise of regular, informative and interesting content updates will give your visitors an incentive to sign up.

However, blogging can be a little bit time consuming (you need to research the right topics for your brand, write the article, make it SEO friendly and then of course share it), so if this is one of your New Years resolutions, make sure you can easily commit to it, or have the resources to out-source it.

Before you start writing your blog, create a strategy of things you want to write about. Consider the tops you want to cover and how often you plan to post them. Don’t be too ambitious, your blog won’t reap rewards if you burn out too quickly.

If you can commit the time and/or budget to writing and maintaining a blog, it can be a powerful tool to make your website more popular and more valuable to you and your site visitors.

Resolution ten: New and improved marketing plan!

As of December 2018, there are approximately 94 billion websites in the world. So what can you do to make sure yours stands out from the very saturated crowd? If you want to ensure your website keeps/starts getting visitors, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to find you. The New Year is a great time to revisit your marketing plan and make sure it’s up to date and working.

Firstly, you need to evaluate what’s currently working for you. In the Acquisition section on Google Analytics, you can see how many visitors you get to your website. This allows you to evaluate how well your SEO and social promotion efforts are doing. Combine those analytics with the metrics provided by any marketing software you use (e.g. a CRM or email marketing software) to get a bigger picture of how well your current efforts are paying off.

You should also research into new online marketing technique or channels you want to try this year – anything from a social media platform you’ve been avoiding (but is proving to be a hit!) to changing your CRM system. 2019 is the time to embrace those changes. Explore new trends and see if they work for you and your website.

We don’t know what will happen in 2019, but we can help you make sure you’re going into it with a stronger and better website. Use the beginning of the year to do some cleanup and make some improvements, both you and your visitors will benefit from the changes.

If you need any help, with your website and marketing needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Check out our services here.

Happy New Year from all of us at Jerram!

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Author: Marie Roberts

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