For many businesses, the economic realities of the pandemic that forced them to furlough employees or to move them to home office scenarios have stabilized, somewhat. As such, many employees are returning to their office sites, necessitating a kind of spring cleaning. Neglected maintenance also is taking center stage, and as part of that, it’s probably a good idea to review your company website, especially if you haven’t updated it in the past six months.
With only a few simple steps, you’ll be sprucing up your virtual front door to invite online customers inside.
Update your content
Out-of-date website content, such as staff lists that still include former employees, broken links, old locations, incorrect business hours and contact information are a recipe for disaster. It’s as if you’ve unwittingly hung a “Closed” sign on your business’ front door. Now is the time for you, or your marketing person or IT person to remove out-of-date content and make sure the rest is current.
Remove stale content, too, such as articles or blog posts that are more than a year old. Newer content is bound to excite your existing customers and entice new ones. Also, really new content is a great way to show the community that your business has been reinvigorated, especially during these uncertain times.
Give the home page a makeover
A change to the look of the website home page is a great way to draw customer interest. Replacing the main photo, aka the hero image, doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; even a simple switch will enhance the first impression your company makes online.
Scrutinize the words you use to describe your business. Might there be a better way to tell potential customers who you are and what you can do for them?
No one likes confusing or boring home pages either. Without compelling images and text, your business home page runs the risk of “bouncing” potential customers off the site in search of a better online presentation.
Reframe the ’asks’
If the first job of a website is to inform, the second job is to ask customers to engage. For example, a small ask may be to request that folks follow your business on its social media platforms; a larger ask might be for customers to sign up for the company’s electronic newsletter.
Such adjustments to your website “asks” may be small, but they have the potential for big gains in customer retention and loyalty.
Sharpen clarity and readability
There is really no excuse for typos, broken links or mislabeled images on your company website. Vigorously edit and clean up any mistakes, or better yet, enlist an outside party who isn’t associated with your business to do it. This outsider may also provide a welcome, unbiased opinion about the clarity and flow of your website.
Consider website maintenance
After those above basics, think about working with a web design and maintenance firm (especially if you don’t have dedicated IT staff ) to take the next step in website improvement. These experts can easily and relatively cheaply enhance the following:
• Website loading speed
• The “crawl budget,” ensuring Google only sends searchers to pages on your website that are operational
• Software and plug-in upgrades
• Compatibility with popular web browsers
Let’s face it, over these past several months, in reality, your business web-site has probably been doing more of its fair share of work, what with so many people using the web to shop, to order maintenance, to obtain goods and services. It really is the “front door” to your operation, and so, by taking the time to optimize your website, you can help to ensure that the door, whether in person or online, is always open.
Michael Dunne ([email protected]) is a longtime PR manager who has worked for both large and small businesses, and PR agencies. He believes that in business, what you say and how you say it are just as important as what you do.