Ah, May, The flowers are coming up, the snow has melted, and the spring issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine arrives in my mailbox. Not surprisingly, Martha has a lot of projects in mind for spring cleaning—washing pillows, scrubbing windows, cleaning gutters…all of which I’m sure she does herself, right?
But there’s actually an emotional benefit to all that hard work. A little spring cleaning can improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost your creativity. It’s not just that we spring clean because things are dirty. It’s because the act of doing so actually makes us feel better.
Now that your hygge-full winter hibernation is over, take a few minutes to straighten up your workspace and your website with these ideas. You may find that it clears your mind and gets you ready to achieve your next big thing.
Clean off your desk—and get a plant
Piles of paper don’t just increase stress—they can actually make you feel as though your work is endless because even though you’ve finished what you’re working on, it still looks like there’s tons more to be done.
But don’t assume that a “clean” desk has to be completely bare. Researchers have actually found that the trend towards spartan or lean office spaces makes people miserable. Piles of paper and dirty plates aren’t helpful, but pictures, souvenirs, and greenery can make you perform better. Just having a houseplant in your line of sight increases someone’s productivity and memory, they found.
Delete outdated info on your website
It’s the website equivalent of cleaning out your junk drawer. Outdated, irrelevant information is one of consumers’ biggest pet peeves when it comes to business websites. And we’re all guilty of it. You update a web page with news that’s “coming soon” and then weeks later forget that it’s there. To your customers, it looks like you think January 2017 is just around the corner—and that’s not the best way to come across as the on-the-ball entrepreneur you are.
So take a few minutes to review your pages:
- Is your contact information still current? Are you directing people to a voicemail or email inbox that’s full?
- Are you displaying a social media feed for an account you’re no longer updating?
- Are you promoting events that have already happened, products you don’t sell anymore, news that’s stale, or classes from February? Delete, delete, delete!
- Are you making references to things you’re going to do in the future….but those things have already come and gone?
Hint: If you decide to delete or hide an old page, check your statistics first to see if it gets a lot of traffic. It might be a good idea to set up a URL redirect to more current info so people visiting the old page don’t get a 404 error message.
Add some fresh content
When you clear away the old, it’s probably time to write something new, too. For many of us, we write our “About” page once and then forget all about it. But maybe you’ve accomplished something new, added a new skill, or started a project.
As an added bonus, adding fresh content will also encourage search engine crawlers to visit your site more often and improve your search engine ranking.
Check how your website looks on a mobile phone
If you usually edit your website on your computer, you probably don’t actually see it very often on a mobile phone or tablet. This means you might be missing some small design fixes that could make life for your mobile visitors much easier.
You can even check your mobile website right from your desktop when you’re in “View Mode.” Just click on the small mobile or tablet screens in the top right corner to switch between desktop, mobile, and tablet views.
What are you likely to find? You might see that your font is a bit too small to be comfortable on a small screen, or that your pages have so much content that a mobile user has to scroll…and scroll….and scroll to get to the good stuff. Or you might find that your links are a little too close together for someone with “ample” thumbs to press comfortably. We have more design tips here to help make sure your mobile website is looking its best. Are you new in the mobile friendliness topic? Check our comprehensive tutorial on how to make your site mobile-optimized.
Clean your keyboard and phone (seriously)
If you had to guess what the dirtiest part of your house is, you might look towards the bathroom or the kitchen. But look right in front of you instead. Your keyboard, phone, mouse, and trackpad are some of the dirtiest items you come across every day, mostly because you’re constantly touching them—and you probably clean them less often than your bathroom. The average person touches their face 15 times per hour and touches their phone 9 times per hour and, well, you get the idea.
You can go all-in and follow this tutorial for removing your keys and giving each one a thorough cleaning (warning, there will be q-tips involved). If you don’t have time for that, just keep a pack of keyboard cleaning wipes or even disinfectant wipes nearby and give your keys an occasional once-over.
Finally set up your custom email address
This may be one of those things you’ve just been putting off. If you’re like me, choosing and successfully setting up a domain felt like such an accomplishment that you completely forgot about the email address that’s included. (This is the email account that matches your domain name, like firstname.lastname@example.org).
Or maybe you skipped the email address because you didn’t want yet another account to keep track of, with another password, login, and messages to answer.
But that custom email address can go a long way towards making your website look more professional (especially if you’re currently directing customers to a personal email address or, worse, the “email@example.com” email address you’ve been using since high school.)
Fortunately, it’s really easy to create your custom account and then set up email forwarding so that any messages from your website’s email account can go straight to the inbox of your choice (for example, the one you actually check regularly).
If you’re not sure where to start, we actually have a new email helper in our Support Center that can help you choose the method that’s right for you.
Any other spring cleaning tips that make you feel ready to tackle your next project? Let us know in the comments.