22 Mar 7 Steps for Freshening Your Website in 7 Days
If it’s been over 15 months since you updated your website, odds are it’s already out of date! We know it can be tough to keep up with the fast pace of technology – but you don’t want to have a website like lingscars.com, do you?
We hear it every day from clients – do any of these sound familiar?
- There’s no budget for a new website.
- There’s so much to do, where do I start?
- Are changes really worth all the time and effort?
- I don’t really know what you’re talking about, and I don’t have any clue how to do it – or how to communicate this stuff to my website person!
But I sell wholesale, does it really matter what my website looks like?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer: Yes, because your website will still be seen by your end consumer, but also by prospective retailers. This first impression is key to the know-like-trust funnel, since your website is (hopefully) the first thing that comes up when someone searches your company name. It needs to represent your company, what you do well, and build trust with your customer.
The bottom line is, you probably know that your website needs to be updated, but you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to start. Even if you don’t have the time, budget, or inclination for an overhaul of your entire site, we’ve identified seven easy tasks you can do to update your website in just one week (or two weeks, if you complete a task every other day).
Here’s a checklist of what you should review and optimize for maximum impact, broken down into simple tasks you can complete at your own pace:
Day 1: Responsive Design
A responsive website is one that responds based on the size of the screen, platform, and orientation of the user’s device. This means your website should be easy to navigate from both a desktop computer AND a mobile device. Check that your website passes the Google Mobile-Friendly test (it’s free!). If your website doesn’t pass, it will give you suggestions for updates that will make it more mobile friendly; if you use a platform such as WordPress, you can update to a theme that is mobile friendly.
Day 1 Homework:
- Test website for responsiveness.
- Correct any errors/problems for responsiveness.
Day 2: Newsletter Building
Your newsletter is key to the know-like-trust funnel. This is an ideal platform to connect with your customers and deliver valuable content in a more personal way. Across the board, we see the highest conversion rates from newsletters than any social media platform. And unlike social media, nearly everyone who has subscribed to your newsletter list has the opportunity to see and engage with your email, whereas many social media posts won’t even show up in the feed for some of your customers. Needless to say, it’s critical that your newsletter sign-up mechanism is featured prominently on your website!
Pop-ups can be a great way to prompt website visitors to sign up for your newsletter. You can sweeten the deal with an offer for a free pattern, discount, or free shipping offer. To read more about best practices for pop-ups, read our blog post: “When Pop-Ups Can Work For You”.
Whether or not you decide to employ pop-ups on your website, your newsletter sign-up should be easy to find from any page on your website. One way to achieve this is to put it in the header or footer of every page.
Day 2 Homework:
- Add newsletter sign-up to website.
- Consider a pop-up to encourage signups.
Day 3: Remove Clutter
A clean, crisp, easy-to-navigate website converts better. Who can figure out what car to buy on our example above, Lingscars.com, when there are chickens and cats moving across the screen?
Decide what the ultimate call to action (CTA) is for your website: is it to sell sewing patterns, or get a retailer to sign up to carry your products? Everything on your website should be working towards that goal, and if it isn’t related to driving people to make that decision, than it has no place on your website.
Be ruthless when cutting extraneous content from your website, because if it isn’t working for you, it’s working against you. Keep in mind that some pages may have sub-goals that are related to the ultimate goal of selling your product. An example would be your blog, where you educate customers on the quality of your product, the depth of your expertise, all of which builds trust. The action for that page, which supports your goal, might be to get visitors to sign up for a newsletter/RSS feed of your blog.
Day 3 Homework:
- Choose a goal for your website and actions for your pages.
- Delete anything and everything that doesn’t fit with your chosen goal and actions.
Day 4: Improve Photography
Your photos should represent your brand aesthetic and inspire your customer. Unpolished photos that are blurry, dark, or poorly composed are driving customers away. Consider your lighting and location, and utilize lifestyle photos when possible so that you customer can envision herself using or wearing your product.
Consider these two examples: In the first, our mannequin shows the garment, but it’s not very inspiring. Once we put our cute top on an actual model, viewers become engaged.
A new trend in photography that’s popular, particularly on social media, is called FLAT LAY photography, as seen in the example below. Flat lay photos can be done in a home studio without a model, and are ideal for solopreneurs who don’t have a professional photographer available.
Day 4 Homework:
- Update photography.
- Experiment with flat lay photography.
Day 5: Meta Data & Keywords
Optimize your pages for the highest rankings. There are many tools to help you check your optimization; one we like and use on our own site is Yoast.
Here are the top 3 things you can do to improve search engine optimizations (SEO) to get more people coming to your website:
- Your page title is the most valuable piece of real estate on any content page on your website. Google uses page titles to create links in search results.
- Edit your page descriptions, don’t use the default generated text. Your description is what appears immediately underneath the search results, so put the most important words at the top.
- Google uses the alt text on images to determine what the image is, and to determine the topic of the surrounding text. Thus, including alt tags on all your images will improve the SEO, and including your keywords for the page in your images for that page will further increase the benefit.
Day 5 Homework:
- Update title tags.
- Update page descriptions.
- Make sure all images have alt tags.
Day 6: Add a Blog
Blogs are critical for the know-like-trust funnel. This platform is an ideal way to educate your customers and provide valuable expertise. Google also values new content, so blogging consistently and building content focused around keywords will continue to drive traffic to your blog. Be sure that blog posts are centered around a topic that’s important to your consumer, and utilizes images (with alt tags). Blogs can also be used to promote your company on your website, so make sure you’re creating images that include your logo/branding, and don’t forget to post entries to social media.
Day 6 Homework:
- Choose & implement a blog platform.
- Plan themes and create a schedule.
- Write and publish blog posts.
Day 7: About Us Page
How do you build trust quickly with your customers? By telling them who you are, why you’re in business, and how passionate you are. As a small business owner, you have to be tenacious and dedicated to survive, so share your story with your customers. People buy from people they know, like, and trust, so make it easy by including a bio of yourself and key people on your team. Also include a photo of your entire staff, and you can also show photos of the history of your business as it’s grown and evolved over time, if you’re so inclined.
Day 7 Homework:
- Add or edit your ‘About Us’ page.
- Include a photo of you and/or your employees.
Once these 7 steps are complete, pat yourself on the back! By taking the time to update your website, you’ve made it easier for people to find you online, and you’ve also ensured that you make a stunning first impression to keep them coming back for more! Congratulations!
Didn’t make it through the list? That’s ok, too – we’re here to help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get help with all of your website updates.