Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you that hard work and consistency are the keys to success. The same goes for your website! Although building a successful website isn’t a one-off task, you can save time if you do a little maintenance and optimize your content regularly.
If you run your own business, you know all about writing to-do lists and juggling all the tasks that need your attention. So finding the time to evaluate and fine-tune your website can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this handy website checklist, so you can do your own website audits and make improvements in super-quick time.
What’s the point of a website audit?
Website audits give you a chance to check that everything on your site is working as it should. Carrying out an audit will also give you a baseline to work from if you’re considering major changes—like a redesign or brand overhaul. But they’re just as useful for regular maintenance.
Most audits include a technical component but because Jimdo handles all of that for you, we’ll focus on the performance of your website’s design, content, and user experience.
Your aim is to make sure you’re giving visitors the best possible experience on your site. So they’ll be more likely to convert into customers.
Reasons to do regular website maintenance
While the words “website maintenance” might not have you on the edge of your seat—virtual housekeeping is easier than you think. And just like a tidy shopfront or a well-prepped pitch, maintaining your website brings a host of benefits for your business.
- Your visitors count on the information on your website being relevant and up to date. If you want to keep them happy and your conversion rates high, then regular website checks will make sure your customers can find what they need and aren’t confused by out of date information.
- For search engines, your website is just one of many possible results. Google is designed with one thing in mind: to help people find what they’re looking for. And to do that job well, it wants to send searchers to the most reliable source of information. By actively maintaining your site, you will help Google and other search engines recognize that your website is one of those reliable sources.
- We all make mistakes. Who hasn’t missed a typo or left an old phone number on their website? It happens. But when it does, all your visitors can see it. Doing regular audits will let you catch these errors and fix them, so you always present a professional image to your customers.
Here’s what you need to maintain your website throughout the year:
- A monthly check. This is the time that you set aside each month to carry out a website check. If any errors have slipped through the net, this is when you catch them.
- A yearly review. Your website is part of your overall marketing strategy. In your yearly review, you’ll evaluate your whole website and take note of what’s working well, and any elements that could be improved.
- A content calendar. This is your plan for publishing anything new. It can be anything from a simple list to a meticulously detailed action-plan.
We’ll cover all of these below. Let’s dive right in!
Make small improvements with a monthly check
Even if you’re a total beginner, it won’t take long to audit your website. Just an hour each month is plenty of time to fix any issues and spot areas where you could improve your site.
Here’s how to carry out your monthly website audit.
1. Check your website visitor numbers
A website without visitors is like a restaurant with no diners! Keep an eye on your website’s traffic and you’ll be able to monitor any changes in their behavior (good or bad) and tweak your content to maximize conversions. You can use Google Analytics or the Statistics on your Jimdo Dashboard to check your visitor data.
- Are there any major changes to your visitor numbers?
- Which pages attracted the most visitors this month?
- Are these different from last month’s top-performing pages?
It’s normal to see small changes in your visitor numbers. What you’re looking for are any significant differences compared to last month. If you do spot any major changes, ask yourself these two questions:
- Can I explain what caused the change?
- Is this a good or a bad change? Should I do something about it?
And a lot of the time, change is good! You might notice a surge in website traffic around the time you promoted a new product or tried out a new Facebook ad. So your visitor numbers can help you decide how to split your time and resources, to get the best bang for your digital marketing buck.
2. Assess your website content
Visitor numbers only tell part of the story. Your website itself holds important clues. When carrying our your audit, check that the content on your site still matches your goals.
- Is the information up to date?
- Are the images still correct?
- Does every image have an alt tag?
- Is there any really old content on your site (like that project you did in 2011)?
- Are you active on all the social media accounts you link to on your site (we’re pointing at you, Google+ users)?
- Does every link lead to the right page?
3. Do you need a separate website check for broken links?
Normally, the answer would be “yes.” But when you have a Jimdo website, we’ve already done the hard work for you. Because broken links are pretty much impossible to avoid completely, we’ve primed the Assistant to help you find and fix them easily. For example, if you’ve linked to a page that no longer exists on your website, the Assistant will let you know so you can remove or change the broken link right away. No more searching for broken links (or worse, getting an awkward heads-up from one of your visitors!).
4. Stick to a schedule that works for you
If you have a meatier website, you might prefer to audit a certain number of pages each month. Another option is to check all your entire website for one thing at a time, like making sure every image has an alt text, for example.
By spreading the workload, you only have to invest a little time each month to keep your website up to date. During busy spells, you can prioritize the most important pages on your site and leave the rest until next month.
5. Create action items and put them in your calendar
You can fix small things right away. But taking new photos or rewriting a text can take a bit more time. Remember, your monthly check is there to show you how your site is doing and you don’t have to make your changes all at once. Make a note of any bigger changes you’d like to make and schedule them in your content calendar.
Review your website strategy with an annual check
If you’re serious about growing your business, it’s good practice to take a step back and look at the bigger picture about once a year. Although you can call on data from individual pages, your focus should be on evaluating your website as a whole.
Look at the numbers to see what works
You can use Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Jimdo’s Statistics, or a combination of all three to evaluate your website data. Use the numbers to get an overview of what’s working well on your website and you what might need to change.
- What were the busiest times on your website?
- Which pages got the most visits?
- Did they get regular visits across the year or were there seasonal peaks?
- Which pages had high bounce rates?
- Which pages had very long or very short sessions?
- Can you think of reasons why?
Notice any seasonal peaks? Use them as inspiration for next year’s content calendar. If you schedule new content for when website traffic is at its highest, you’ll get more views and clicks!
Evaluate your overall marketing strategy
Your website is a part your brand and your marketing strategy. During your annual check, remember to consider any changes you’ve gone through over the last year. Does your website still reflect your business and your goals? Is your content aligned with your marketing plan? If not, it’s time to plan your changes for the upcoming year.
Your annual website check is a good time to get back to basics. Who is your website aimed at? And what actions do you want them to take on your site?
Ask yourself these questions for the yearly check of your website:
- Does your website still have the same role in your marketing strategy?
- Has your tone of voice changed since you wrote your texts?
- Are you still covering topics that are a) aligned with your brand and b) interesting to your audience?
- Can your website help customers answer their frequently asked questions?
- Are there pages you want to delete?
- Are there new pages you need to add?
- Are there any new features that could make your site more efficient, or easier to use?
Plan any changes
During your annual check, you’ll often notice just how much your business has changed in the last 12 months. If you want to make changes to your strategy, it’s best to plan a bit of time.
For example, if you have a designer who takes care of your corporate identity, ask them to go through your website too. Designers always find a way to freshen up your look and often it only takes a few small tweaks.
How to optimize your content after a website audit
You’ve audited your website, found out where you can improve performance, and now you’re ready for the fun bit!
Plan regular updates in your content calendar
With so much going on in your company every day, planning is essential. You don’t need to spend ages planning your website content but it definitely helps to set some time aside. You’ll thank yourself later!
Make time to prepare your updates. There are lots of ways to do this, so it’s worth experimenting to find a system that works for you. For example, you can create new updates and upload them to your website straight away, or prep all of your content in one go then publish it bit by bit.
Plan your publishing schedule. There’s no secret recipe for how often a site needs to be updated. The basic rule is: make sure visitors can find all the info they need on your website. But it does help to set a schedule for yourself. I recommend you start with a monthly update and see how you get on. If you’re not sure what to write, try putting together some useful tips inspired by the questions your customers have asked that month.
Make sure your changes add value. Every update to your website should make it easier to use, more interesting, or more informative for your visitors. Don’t make tweaks just for the sake of it. You could make more work for yourself in the long run.
Here are a few content ideas for your monthly update:
- Remind your visitors about an upcoming event
- Add a new employee headshot to your About page
- Update your client list with new logos and descriptions
- Refresh your portfolio with a recent project
- Add seasonal specials to your menu
The more you can plan, the easier it gets. Over time, you’ll develop an eye for what makes interesting website content and you’ll find it easier to plan ahead.
When you’re ready to add something to your website, just log in, make your changes, and hit Publish. Your website will look fresh and you’ll know you’re giving visitors the best impression of your company. That’s a good feeling!
Maintenance will always be a part of any area of your business. Your website is no exception. By doing regular website audits, you can build a really useful resource for your customers and still have plenty of time to run your business.
One last thing: open your calendar and schedule an hour for your first monthly check. If you want to make maintaining your website a habit, there’s no better time to start than right now!