Last week I refreshed the design of my website. I love how it looks (thank you Mark Tatro and Barry Shuchter).
The last time I updated it was about three years ago, when small businesses and solos were just turning toward having “responsive” websites. I decided to hold off back then, but these days it’s a necessity.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, a responsive website responds: It adjusts depending on the device it’s being displayed on, whether that is a desktop, phone or tablet. That makes it easily viewed whatever the situation.
Although the text and images on my site mostly stayed the same during this process, I took the opportunity to review every single page – including all my past blog posts. I love reviewing web sites, so you can imagine how happy I was to give myself the gift of doing it for my own!
It was a good reminder too of things that can go wrong and/or need updating on a web site over time.
Here are some things to watch for on your own site:
1. Check Your Links. I was shocked by the number of broken links I found. But I guess it makes sense – some of them were put there seven years ago when I first launched my RocketGirl website.
By the way, make sure that when a link takes somebody off your site (e.g., to a book you mention), that it “opens a new tab” in the browser. That way your website visitor can easily click back to your site and keep looking around. Making this happen is just a simple setting when creating the link.
2. Read Every Page. Yes, read every single page on your site. Does it represent you? Is your message clear? Could someone reading your site understand why they would want to work with you? Is your phone number on your contact page (really, I saw this missing on a website just today)?
When I relaunched my website I read every blog post too. Some had font discrepancies, spacing issues, links that were different colors than my website palate. Some just plain needed to be taken down because they no longer made sense. It took some time, but it was worth it to be confident that every page looked consistent.</9>
3. Get Great Graphics. Take a close look (with your reading glasses on if necessary) at the graphics on your website. Is your logo pixelated (fuzzy)? Do you have images with a white background instead of transparent on pages that have a colored background? How old is your head shot? Are you using bland stock photography? Time to upgrade if any of this is you.
4. Check Your Phone. More than half of the visitors to your site will do so on a phone – make sure your site looks good and is easily readable.
5. Review Your Dashboard. Take peek at the backend of your website (or get a qualified professional to do it with you). Are there plugins that you aren’t using that might be slowing things down? Is your website running on the latest version of WordPress (or whatever you run your website on)? Keep your website running smoothly by paying attention to these important details.
Remember that for many people, your website is the first place where they will form an impression of you and your business. Take steps now to make sure the impression is a good one!