I am a resolution-hater, but that's why I’m qualified to suggest different resolutions that you can apply to your own website. The reason? Each suggestion is extremely doable, and doesn’t require some miraculous change in your personality, habits, or schedule. They don’t require sustained effort over time (the whole habit thing again) but rather one burst of effort to get them done, and then it’s over. Best of all, they will leave your website feeling refreshed and ready for the year ahead.
1. Update your Jimdo template
If your website looks dated compared to your competition’s, customers are certainly taking notice. The fastest way to give your site a modern, refreshed look is with a new template design. Back in August, we released a “New Jimdo” with an advanced user interface and brand new templates. If you haven’t seen them yet, definitely check them out. Our Template Selector has all of the new, modern options on display, and you can easily switch back and forth between them. Plus, these new templates are easier to customize than our old ones, so you can pick the exact fonts and colors that are right for you.
The new templates incorporate some of the latest web design trends, and make it easy to structure your content in a clear and compelling way. So take the plunge and get a new look for the new year.
2. Treat yourself to a new logo
I’ve always believed that a good new year's resolution is a treat rather than a burden. For example, one year I made a resolution to go to more live concerts. Another year it was to try five new restaurants in my neighborhood. Both were things I wanted to do, but for whatever reason I kept putting off.
In that same vein, it would be a great resolution to treat yourself to something that you may have been eyeing on your competitors’ websites: a nice new logo. Before you say that it’s out of your price range, check out the options at 99designs. For just a few hundred dollars, you can start a design contest and get entries from lots of professional designers. It's a small price to pay for something that is stamped on every product, marketing material, or storefront window.
A good logo isn’t just a frill—it’s a way to convey important messages about you. It can also lend legitimacy to a new business venture. So not only will you end up with something you love, you’ll also end up with something that will help your business stand out. And that’s a resolution worth the investment.
3. Set up Google Analytics
The best resolutions can resolve those tasks that have been hanging over your head for a while. You know you should be using Google Analytics, but many people look at their dashboard and are completely lost. If this is you, it’s worth the very small time investment it will take to set up your system properly.
Lots of GA tutorials jump straight into the weeds, talking about conversions and acquisitions. That’s valuable information down the line, but none of it is worth anything if you don’t have a basic grasp of what you’re looking at when you log in. Done correctly, Google Analytics can provide you tons of information about what pages people are visiting, how long they’re staying, where they’re coming from, and more.
Make the resolution to finally get your Google Analytics dashboard in order, and start with these two tutorials:
If you walk through the steps in these posts, the set-up really only takes a few minutes, but you will reap the benefits for the entire year to come.
4. Refresh the photos on your website.
Step away from the generic stock photos! If your website is full of photos of smiling people you’ve never met, sitting around a fake conference room table having the best meeting ever, then it’s time to swap in some more natural, engaging images. You can do better, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
If you answered with "What photos?”, this resolution is especially appropriate for you. Good-quality images keep your audience more engaged and make your pages easier to read by breaking up your text. Make it a goal to have at least one high-quality image on each page of your site. Our post on website graphics for beginners can help if you need good photographs or aren’t sure how to prepare the images you find.
There are a number of different websites that offer free, high-quality images you can use commercially without any royalties. Three of our favorites are Pixabay, Fotolia, and Unsplash. Death to the Stock Photo and Twenty20 are other options we like, too.
If you don’t have a professional headshot, make a resolution to get a photo that fits your personality and your business. Nowadays, professional headshots don’t have to be stiff and stilted. They’re much better than those grainy, low resolution photos you might have been using (you know, the one where you had to crop out your family members?)
Personally, I also love websites that show the “behind the scenes” of a business, including the workshop and the staff. These kinds of photos can really show the personality and charm behind your business, and help visitors connect with you.
Also, start the new year off with good karma by always making sure you follow proper protocol re: licensing and sharing images. No cropping out watermarks or downloading mystery images from Google.
5. Ask a few friends to user-test your site
It may sound a little cheezy, but watching some friends as they use your site can be an invaluable way to gain insight into how real-life visitors behave.
Ask them to perform a few tasks—sign up for a newsletter, choose an item in the online store— and observe what, if any, issues they come across, like dead ends, confusing navigation, or unclear directions.
The important thing is to actually watch what people do, rather than just asking their opinion. Ask a friend what they think of your site, and they’ll probably say “Oh, it’s great!” Watch them use it, and you’ll get a more honest glimpse of what problems there might be.
Get more information from our post on DIY usability testing.
For example, when I did this with my mother and my own website, I was astounded to see that the font I was using was too small for her to read, and that she hadn't noticed some of the important information in the sidebar. I wondered how many other website visitors suffered through the same issues, without me even knowing it. As a result, I rearranged some text blocks, increased my font size, and I am much happier with the result.
So invite a couple of friends over, open a bottle of wine, and ask them to test your site for you. You’ll definitely benefit from what you learn.
There you have it—five new year's resolutions that can make a huge difference to your website’s success in the coming year. Any others you would add to this list?
On a roll? Want more easy things you can do to improve your website quickly? Take our quiz to see how your website stacks up.
And last but not least, Happy New Year!
Content Editor at Jimdo
Maggie joined the team to craft the voice of Jimdo for all products and marketing channels. In her previous work, she edited for organizations covering the environment, cities, and sustainable business. When she's not adding serial commas, you can find her camping with her husband, cooking, and reading New Scientist.