An annual checkup is good for your car. It’s also good for your website. Internet trends and technology seem to change overnight. The way we live changes the way we search, our habits, our preferences. The web responds. If you want your business to remain competitive you have to change too.
An annual website checkup keeps your performance high and forces you to take a fresh look at who your customers are and how they behave. It’s one of the best website management habits you can adopt that will help keep your systems and overall functionality performing effectively.
Start Your Checkup With Goals
Most importantly, use your annual checkup as a chance to gauge your progress toward established goals and to set goals for the next year.
Identify potential design or technical improvements. What kinds of changes in your traffic would you like to see? Develop priorities. Make notes about anything you want to incorporate in your next redesign.
Once you’ve made your list, share that information with your team and anybody who contributes to your website. If you aren’t sure how to examine your website for strengths and weaknesses, Web Design by Knight is here to help you with that process. We have been building and securing websites, for all kinds of businesses, for more than two decades. We monitor internet trends and best practices on a regular basis. Need some help with your website? Feel free to contact us to learn more.
Know Your Competition
Get a general sense of how you compare to the competition. Is your business falling behind? Do you see innovations you might like to build into your own website?
Give Your Content a Checkup
Review the overall state of your content, again starting with pages that are visited the most.
- Is your contact information and other basic information about your business correct and complete?
- Do your forms work?
- Does your website presence reflect your brand and message standards?
- Are there areas of duplication?
- How does it “look?” Do you need updated photos, graphics, maybe a complete new look?
- Are you talking to all kinds of customers? Does your website attract a diverse audience of all kinds of customers?
Answers may help you create specific goals for the coming year, or send you in a different direction for developing new content.
People And Processes
As part of your website checkup, take a look around at the people in your business who contribute to your website and your social media. Do they have the training and experience to represent your business in a way that works for you? Internet trends change so quickly. Maybe the person assigned to your website needs to update their skills. Or, there might be parts of your website that could be improved, simply because no one has been directed to work on that area.
The Need For Speed
How Can I Test My Website’s Speed?
There are a few user-friendly tools designed to test your website’s speed and provide immediate feedback to the tester. Web Design By Knight recommends customers test multiple sites to provide comparable results. Since Google is one of the main search engines that penalizes under-performing websites, testing at Google PageSpeed Insights can provide real-time information to users wishing to see how Google views their site’s page speed. Once analyzed, suggestions are made to help your website perform faster.
Another useful speed testing tool is Pingdom. Here users can connect to a test server and receive categorical breakdowns of their website’s performance. Some of these include viewing file sizes and load times, performance history over time, and the ability to test from multiple locations. This last feature is especially important and ensures local, regional, and international customers all receive the same, high-quality site experience as someone located in your town.
How Slow Is Slow?
While expectations can vary by individual users, most website visitors expect a page to load as quickly as possible. In fact, a study by the Aberdeen Group has found that just a one second delay can drastically affect a business owner’s bottom line. A slow website equals customer dissatisfaction. The reduced speed can also affect performance directly related to both the website’s and business’ financial health. Two of these most common areas are page views and conversions.
Because a customer may abandon a slow-loading website, the ability to have the visitor stay on that site and browse all aspects of it are lost. This results in a site that has potential to end in a conversion, but due to lack of performance, has lost that prospective customer. If coming from a paid search or email marketing campaign, this directly affects revenue spent on advertising and, if using Google AdWords, can result in a lower quality score, lower ad position, increased bid expenses for a prime position, and unfavorable conversion data.
The Eight Second Rule
Once you’ve tested your website’s speed, if it takes longer than eight seconds to load; chances are your business is not as profitable as it can be. At the eight second mark, approximately 33% of website visitors will abandon their wait, and move on to a competitor’s website. At ten seconds, it increases to an approximate 50% abandonment rate.
Finally, it is important to remember your customer. If trying to access your website on a slower-speed mobile connection, or in a location with less telecom infrastructure, the experience of your potential customer is already compromised. As a business owner, this lack of updated connectivity is not fixable on your end; however, having the fastest website possible greatly compensates for this obstacle.
Analytics are crucial for business. Take a look at your Google Analytics setup. Is it collecting the correct data, in a way that makes sense to you? Check out any features that might make things easier or better in the coming year.
Then review the past year in Google Analytics. Focus on the prominent and the busiest areas of your site. Start with your home page and then move on to second level pages. Check any pages or sections that have been recently redesigned. For starters, explore the following:
- Audience: Compare the last year’s views and sessions to previous years. Make a note of any big changes, even if you aren’t sure immediately why the change occurred. This information might help you later.
- Devices: Check the mobile versus desktop performance, especially if you need to make the case for mobile-friendly improvements.
- Traffic: Where is your traffic coming from? How much is local? Look for spikes in visits from particular cities or states.
- Acquisition: Examine where visitors are coming from. Are they coming through social media, from a recent blog series?
Tracking simple top-level analytics is fine. It provides an overall picture of the trends. But you might want to study analytics a little more closely, to answer more precise questions.
If all of this is confusing, rest assured. The team at Web Design by Knight is here to help. If you are overwhelmed with managing your website, or if you just don’t have time to do it anymore, we offer several levels of website security and support. Click here to see how we can help.