How to Improve Your Website in 6 Steps

How to improve your website - photo of website code

Are you making the most of your website?  Here’s 6 actionable tips to make sure that your website stays effective, useful and ultra-relevant in a competitive business environment.

Does your website work as hard as you do?  Would some tips on website improvements help your business thrive online?

Creating a powerful first impression, generating leads, and strengthening your reputation as the go-to supplier of your services or products makes it your most influential marketing tool.  Your website: it’s your shopfront and it’s open every day (and night). Plus, it’s so much more than just an online profile for your business.

Let’s look at some important reasons why your website needs to look great and perform at its best.  And, because we like to make your life easier, we’re drawing on our many years of expertise to offer you a 6-point website actions list for you start thinking about your next steps right now.

Why is a website so important?
At the risk of cliché, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.  Equally, as with almost everything online, the average visitor is somewhat unwittingly brutal.  That means that although they don’t realise it, they take no longer than about 5 seconds to decide whether – or not – to stay on your website.

It may sound harsh, but a site that fails to engage your audience, for whatever reason, could be losing you business. And, enable your competition to clean up. (That competition, who, incidentally, may have spent the long months of lockdown getting ahead of the game, website-wise.)

Your website is the central core of your business. Something which you can keep coming back to; a constant, strong presence. A place where you highlight new services, special offers and events.
Further, from a search engine optimisation perspective (SEO), being found through organic search, being mobile-friendly and ensuring that the internal processes (including the user journey) in your website work smoothly and efficiently, all benefit your rankings in the search engine results pages.

Modern Website Design - client example

1. Do You Have A Modern Website?
Websites can date.  Not just visually but in the code behind the scenes.  A site that looks tired and is a bit awkward to navigate appears uncared for. Your business is being judged as potentially, not to put too fine a point on it, behind the times.  Offering an easy path throughout the site, a bright clean and attractive “look and feel”, as well as a super-simple way to get in touch with you is, quite frankly, good for your business. A contemporary website for a modern business. It’s a subtle yet vital message.

2. Under the Bonnet – Is Your Site Well Structured?

Website improvements aren’t just about how the site looks.
If you struggle to add new content yourself for fear of messing your website up, there are ways to make your website almost unbreakable and easy to use from within the content management system. A benefit for you and your team, reducing the need for a developer.  Technophobes can breathe a sigh of relief.  We can ensure that the back end of your WordPress site is templated and structured to make adding content, blogs and images a breeze.  Which means that it’s easy to update the website with the latest information from your business.

3. Is Your Site Secure?
Neglecting to update plugins and databases can leave your website open to hackers.  And not being on a secure protocol (https) will penalise your organic rankings.  Likewise, should key behind-the-scenes amendments be necessary at some stage, there may be a compatibility issue. It’s a situation you should avoid.  Talk to your developer and your hosting provider.  You’ll also want to make sure that forms have some spam protection to avoid too many unwanted messages.

4. Consider a Technical Audit
Are there broken links?  Is the URL structure clear enough for Google to rank the site well?  Is the hierarchy strong?  We’d be happy to check all these things, not to mention site loading speed, whether there’s duplicate content and whether every page has a meta description in place.
A structurally sound website is more likely to be found on Google than one that’s weaker.
On a related issue, do you own your website?  Is your domain name registered to you/your business and are the account access details at your disposal?

5. Is Your Site on the Right Platform?
If you have a template-builder website, it may not be working hard enough for you.  It’s well worth considering a migration to WordPress as your business grows – or Shopify for eCommerce – if you’re not there already.  Backing up the content and rebuilding it on this much stronger and more customisable platform offers greater flexibility, security and autonomy. When it comes to website improvements later on, this is a massive plus.  We’ve written about how to back up your website before, see here.

And finally, of course:

6. Consider Your Content
It’s important to update your website content.  Consider the words, videos and images on your website from your user’s point of view.  Is everything useful and current? For example, creating new web copy that;

  • helps
  • educates
  • adds value
  • is authoritative
  • is trustworthy

to your readership will deliver engagement results. “How To” blogs, or “What is…”-type pages are good examples here.

Top Content Tip: Remember: shorter sentences and paragraphs; focus on “you” and “your” rather than “we” and “our clients”.

Images are part of the picture – literally. Free stock images are often overused, so although this may be tricky in the current climate some fresh, professional photography -particularly for your homepage- could make an impression like no other. Did you know that we’re naturally drawn to human faces?

Here at Shake it Up Creative, when we build a new website we always offer training to show our clients how to add blogs, images and web content. It’s your website, after all.

To summarise… Think of the above as a way of stopping your future customers from going elsewhere. After all, you’re not in business to generate leads for your competitors now, are you?

Rachael Dines, Director of Shake It Up Creative