One thing we are constantly discussing with our clients is how to update their website and keep their content fresh. Providing a reason for clients and readers to come back, again and again, is incredibly important for any business, online or off.
It’s a no-brainer for brick and mortar businesses with a shop front or store where their clients physically come in to buy goods or services, but we believe a website is no different.
You change, your services and products change, your prices change, and so many countless other elements unique to you and your brand update each year. Why should your website be any different?
Some of these might seem like a no brainer for you, but hopefully, others are new and help inspire you to rethink the content on your website and how to make it that much more valuable for both you and your clients this year.
1. Conduct a Website Audit
One of the most valuable things you can do each year is audit your website, (hence why it’s number 1 on our list). Understanding how your current site is performing, despite your personal feelings about it, can provide you with a wealth of information on where it is strong, as well as where it is weak. While you may or may not love the design, or be sick of your colors, doing a thorough website audit will provide you with more important details like your top landing pages, how people are navigating through your site, where they might be getting lost, what your top posts or products are, and how well it’s performing in search engines or social media. All of those details will help you make smarter updates and investments into your website v.s. spending money that’s not necessarily necessary.
Here at Whiskey and Red, we always say “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it” meaning that while you may be sick of looking at your site every day, there are still many people who are seeing it for the first time and love it.
Before changing anything major, audit your site and identify really where your attention is needed.
2. New Photography
This is by far one of the best updates you can make to a site. As we are so overwhelmed with media these days, imagery is one of the first things our minds register when we experience a new person, place, or thing – and that includes your website.
Take a look through some of your all-time favorite sites – what do they all have in common? I’ll bet you professional photography is on that list. For many of us, when we’re first starting out, we don’t always have the funds to invest in professional photography so we’ll use stock images or attempt to take the photos ourselves. As soon as the option is available to you, update the images on your website as they will give you that polished professional image you’re looking for, making the rest of your site look that much more credible and clean.
Not sure where to find a photographer? My favorite go-to for inspiring photographers is Instagram. We follow more photographers than any other industry on Instagram as each has its own style and we love using them for inspiration in the brands and websites we build.
Still don’t have the budget for a professional photographer? Then stepping up your stock photos with new ones that are less used across the web is a worthy investment. We wrote a whole post listing our favorite stock photography shops that you just might find helpful here.
3. Update Your Portfolio/Shop
As designers ourselves, one of the things that often gets pushed to the back of our list is updating our portfolio. Creating promotional graphics and piece to showcase your best and most recent work takes time, but is an incredibly valuable update to your website. And this is not just for designers. If you have a portfolio of case studies that showcase your best clients and the work you did with them, keep it updated so that the top pieces in your portfolio are always your highest quality examples for potential clients to review.
Focusing your limited time in showcasing only your best work will help you target and bring in more of those ideal clients.
Another update that might seem less intuitive is to remove older work that might not showcase your skill sets in their best light, or even older work that is no longer relevant to the target clientele you are aiming to attract. While you may do a number of projects each month, focusing your limited time in showcasing only your best work will help you target and bring in more of those ideal clients who will gravitate toward your ideal work.
This goes for those of you without a portfolio, but another heavily populated element on your website – a shop. If you sell products or even services, audit what you are providing and identify the packages that are the highest performers vs the outliers that aren’t top sellers. How can you edit those services to better attract buyers? Or for products, what products are your top sellers? Are you promoting anything that you are no longer making? Or are you not clearly showcasing your highest quality products? Rethink how you organize your shop as it directly relates to your target clients and make updates from there.
4. Update Your Bio
Again, this is often an easily forgotten element on a website, but as you continue to change and grow as an entrepreneur or your team grows, updating your bios is an important task to complete. Have your target clients changed? Or have your specialties changed? Be sure that is reflected clearly in your bio so that the person they meet online is an accurate reflection of who you are in person.
When designing websites, this is often one of the biggest updates to a client’s site. They have been in business for 40 not 20 years, or they have a number of new certificates and credentials that are important to notate on their bio.
Beyond your bio, reflecting on the relevance of your entire About page can bring fresh life to that section of your site and bring a stronger sense of social proof and credibility to your online brand. We wrote a whole post on How to Maximize Your About page that you can check out here.
5. Invest in SEO
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean that they will come. One of the greatest updates we added to our services was including SEO in each website package. While we are capable of designing you a beautiful functional online platform for your business, being successful on the web is a whole nother story.
Understanding how to leverage what makes you unique with what your target clients are searching for online is one of the most valuable investments you can make.
Yoast SEO is a great plugin for those just getting started and are heavy content creators with blogs that bring in traffic. But SEO is a much bigger beast. Understanding how to leverage what makes you unique with what your target clients are searching for online is one of the most valuable investments you can make into your business, and an SEO specialist can help you do just that.
Investing in an SEO specialist to come in and optimize your site, set you up on any directories, create any backlink opportunities, mark up your content for search engines, and properly submit your content to Google will dramatically affect your overall searchability on the web.
6. Update Your Contact Forms
One of the most underutilized elements on websites is contact forms. Having a custom contact form beyond just “name, email, message” will provide you with a wealth of valuable information that will make the first time you connect with a potential client that much more effective and increase your chances of booking clients. Seriously.
Think about the typical email exchanges you have with someone after they submit a contact form: what are some of the frequently asked questions that you find come up again and again that could be addressed right away if included in your contact form?
Streamline your entire intake process but updating your contact form. We believe in this update so much that we dedicated an entire post to maximizing your contact page here.
7. Invest in a Copywriter
Content is king. You’ve probably heard that phrase before from other content specialists, but it truly is. Go to some of your all-time favorite websites and think about what it is about them that makes them so compelling. Beyond just the images, their copy is usually on point.
You are an expert at what you do and probably have so much value to offer your ideal clients, but if you can’t clearly communicate that through your website, then your site isn’t doing its job properly. Copywriting is one of the hardest things to do for yourself. Explaining what you do in a way that is both easily digestible for your clients in a very short amount of time, but also compelling and inspiring to convey the experience that builds the trust people need to invest in you is hard. Really really hard.
When first starting out, this is an area that generally isn’t invested in as funds are tight. But once you are ready to bring in an expert to make you sound like the expert you are, you will be so glad you did. There are many cost-effective copywriting and editing options available out there, including platforms like UpWork who provide an arsenal of available subcontractors specializing in copywriting who are just waiting for you to reach out.
8. Create Branded Graphic Templates
Content may be King, but consistency is his Queen. Having consistently branded templates might make lots of sense for social media, but templates can be hugely helpful on your website as well to give a consistent feel to your website’s branding. Think about your various website pages or blog content. Where can you create branded page templates or graphic element templates to bring more consistency to your site?
The more your content is consistent, the more it will be recognized, which in turn will establish more trust amongst your followers and clients.
Do you have consistent branded featured images for your blog posts? This is not only valuable for on-site consistency, but when your content is shared off of your website, it will have a consistent branded look and feel that your business and blog will be recognized by. The more your content is consistent, the more it will be recognized, which in turn will establish more trust amongst your followers and clients. You can purchase branded featured image templates at shops like Creative Market for a very reasonable price and easy to use templates.
So you don’t blog? Do you have a portfolio? Creating a consistently branded portfolio template so that when you showcase your work – while each project may be different, the look and feel of your presentation will be consistent and give a smooth feel to your portfolio.
Don’t blog and don’t have a portfolio? What about your shop? Do you have products you sell on your website? Consider revisiting your product pages and creating a consistently branded template for how you present your products. Both in the styling of images, all the way to how you present the product information. Creating a consistent feel to your shop will make you feel more professional in the eyes of your potential clients, and will help them navigate your shop more successfully.
Less is truly more when it comes to website design and functionality. In our world of constant stimulation, people are spending less and less time on any single page, and more time quickly scrolling through your site to scan and absorb whatever information they are looking for as quickly as possible. Eliminating any excess that isn’t 100% necessary to the successful scroll of your content is critical. While you want to give people the feeling of free-will and choice, you also want to be sure to give clear and intentional directions. Think about the main goal of your website: to contact you, to book you, to purchase from you, to follow you… how few steps can you outline that will accomplish that end goal? Anything extra, remove it, or move it to a separate area of your site for those who will spend more time and read every word on every page. Keep it simple, yet significant, and you’ll find much more user success.
10. Full Website Redesign
In the end, if you find that these updates aren’t enough to really help you step up your business’ online success, it might be time for a full redesign. We love working with established small business owners who have a few years of business experience behind them and know what they love about their online presence as well as what’s not working or missing. This knowledge and experience allows you to take the most advantage of our services and we are able to really help you elevate your online brand to a whole new level of success and confidence.
Hiring a team of professionals whose expertise is in helping you to maximize all the opportunities of the web can be one of the greatest investments you’ll make in your online business. Not sure if you’re ready? That’s fine! Most design teams offer free design consults to meet and discuss your business with them to see if they are the right team for you and if now is the right time for a redesign. If this sounds like the right direction for you, contact us today and schedule your free design consult with us.
Now, we could go on and on with different updates and adjustments you could make to your online presence that could truly make a world of difference for your online success, but when it comes to the ultimate basics, these are our top 10 ways to update your website.