Your website is your business’s online home. Though it may have a nice condo (Facebook), a sweet summer home (Pinterest) and a dumb little timeshare you got tricked into signing onto (Angie’s List), your business’s forever home is your website. It’s the place you want to bring people to show off all your cool stuff, the place that’s going to say the most about you and, most importantly, the place where you have the most control of what it looks and feels like.
Just as you tidy up your house every so often, so too you’ll want to tidy up your website. Now this doesn’t mean totally redesigning or adding new pages constantly, but it does mean stopping to pick the dirty laundry up off the floor and ensure that everything is in its proper place. Let’s take a look at a basic checklist of web updates you need to make on a regular basis.
Note: Our expertise is primarily in the WordPress platform, so not all of these items will be pertinent to every business website.
No matter what platform your website runs on, be it WordPress, Weebly, Wix or whatever, that platform is going to have regular software updates. Whether to fix bugs improve user experience, or any of a litany of things these updates accomplish, you need to stay on top of them or else run the risk of your site not functioning properly.
In WordPress, each of our web design clients will have a plethora of plugins that we install on their sites to enable various features (photo galleries, contact forms, etc.). Because these plugins form a kind of machine with lots of moving parts, it’s important to keep them up to date with the latest versions so that they interact correctly not only with the latest version of WordPress, but also with each other.
For each website platform, there are multitudes of resources online on how to operate and update them. If you’re using WordPress like us, we’ll be glad to walk you through the basics of keeping your site up to date.
Functional Web Updates
If you’re running your own website, you’re probably only ever on the back end, operating the various gizmos, knobs and levers. Spending all your time behind the curtain can sometimes blind you to malfunctions on the front end. Broken links, images not properly loading, redirects going haywire and more can happen if you’re not vigilant. Staying on the back end may prevent problems from occurring within your platform, but it won’t be much help if there’s a problem with your hosting service, or an angry Internet wizard casts a spell on your website. To ensure neither of those happen, take the time every so often to go to your site as if you were a brand-new visitor. Try using a different computer/mobile device, or a different OS or web browser to take a look around your site, visit different pages and try to interact. You may be able to find and fix problems with your site before they ever become a deal breaker to a visitor doing business with you.
The longer you’re in business, and the longer you maintain your business website, the more likely it is that additional pages will become part of your site. Whether these new pages highlight new services, serve as additional landing pages for visitors directed from referral sources or any other reason, integrating them into your existing site isn’t something you can do willy-nilly. Though you may have an idea of the perfect spot on your navigation to cram the new page in, you may have the disadvantage of knowing your site too well to make a decision.
What may seem like a natural fit to you may seem completely bizarre and an incomprehensible design choice to someone else. When making these kinds of changes to your site, we recommend consulting someone with a fresh pair of eyes, be they a professional web developer or just a friend whose judgment you trust. Having someone with a neutral point of view experience your site is a great litmus test as to whether or not your design is intuitive and user-friendly.
You should be proud of your online home, you put a lot of work into it – just don’t neglect giving it the TLC it deserves to look and feel its absolute best. If you’re feeling like one of those people on the show Hoarders and feel like an intervention is in order to get your home back in top shape, we’re here to help. Start with our free web audit, and then decide if having a conversation with some professional fixer-uppers is right for you.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.