In an attempt to make clearing the clutter from your website sound like more fun than pulling weeds, I have created this handy-dandy checklist with some free software to help you make your website the shining portrait of your business and a true reflection of your values. Make this list an annual review of your site. Using a date, like Earth Day to spring clean, clear the clutter and conduct major updates will make it not seem so overwhelming.
There are some items you should do monthly, weekly or even daily – simple updates, blog posts, specials, news and events – all should be done as required. The list below is to do annually, page-by-page and dot by dot… heck, you paid for it, might as well keep it up. Just like putting oil in your car, it’s the regular maintenance that will keep your website humming.:
1. Check Your Site in Various Browsers: Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer. An easy (and free) piece of software to use is Browser Shots: http://browsershots.org – type in your URL and in a few minutes it will show you how your site looks in various browsers.
2. Check Your Links – The easiest way to do this is to set it up to be checked automatically for you. A free software named Link Tiger http://www.linktiger.com/ will do just that and send you emails anytime there is a broken link on your site that needs repair.
3. Check Your Site’s Rankings – Alexa.com is one of the best known and most widely used. Go to http://www.alexa.com/ , set up an account and then get back more information than you will know what to do with… it’s a little bit humbling to see ba-zillions of websites and to try to get excited about ranking in the 6 figures…
4. Feedback Forms – fill them all out, update the software (always new updates available) , and make sure that they are all working properly, going to the right people and still requesting relevant information.
5. Update Your About Section – update your staff, add photos, add awards and certifications, edit content.
6. Check Any and All Flash Files and Videos – when was the last time you sat through your entire Flash introduction? Do you have additional videos to upload? Do you also have them uploaded on YouTube? If they are your videos, establish an account (or add to your current one) and send out your updated Flash and video content via Twitter and Facebook to promote.
7. Work samples / Portfolio – make sure this area really speaks for your business – update and add photos, add more links, eliminate old links, do a more thorough cleansing than simply adding new content.
8. Clean Out Your Email List – are your newsletters going to people who really want to get them? Send them an annual confirmation email in an attempt to keep your list limited to only the people that really want to receive your information. These are your best, best, best customers.
9. Newsletters – is it time to update your look? Your information? Your send out frequency? Now is a good time to think about that. Is your email newsletter available on your website? Some people may want to read it at a later date, or having it available online may encourage more new sign ups.
10. Social Network Links – are all of your Social Media links available on your website? Can people follow you on Twitter through a single click? If not, time to add those links to your site.
11. Analyze Your Visitor Statistics – your host should offer you a link (for free) on viewing your statistics. How do your visitors look today compared to a year ago? Where can you improve? Which pages are gaining the highest traffic? Where is your traffic coming from? For example, if your highest traffic is coming from Twitter, whenever you have a site update, please make sure you post a tweet encouraging your friends to come and see your news.
12. Give Your Site a New Toy – maybe offer some new information, add a calendar, perhaps add your RSS feed from your blog, or even monetize your site. Do one thing for to make your site more profitable and give yourself a little more motivation to make it fun.
Have a great Earth Day cleaning out and updating your website. It will smell April fresh when your done. Could smell-a-vision be coming soon?