Plus a 10-point checklist to help you get started
Chances are your website started out great. It was simple, clean, and easy to navigate. But websites often take on a life of their own. Things get messy as you create more pages, add plug-ins, and post new content. Before long, your helpful online resource becomes a tangle of words, images, forms, and password-protected content. You, Dr. Frankenstein, have created a monster.
But never fear. Websites have a pretty short shelf life (or at least they should). If it’s been a few years since your organization has purposefully revamped your website—to throw out the old, clean up the clutter, and update it for modern times—it is critical to do so now.
Everything is virtual
In the post-COVID-19 world, your website takes on new significance. It is the home base for your brand, your mission, your offerings, and your community of followers. It could be years before people feel comfortable interacting in person once again. Until then, your website needs to do some heavy lifting to deliver on your promises, engage and connect people, provide products and services, and do so much more. And you can’t accomplish all of this with an outdated, ineffective site.
Sure you could go wild with high-tech features like virtual reality or artificial intelligence. We will likely see more and more advanced technology on the web in the near future. But for most organizations, this just isn’t necessary. Plus, it won’t make up for outdated content, confusing navigation, and incongruous images. Solidify the foundation first. Then think about adding bells and whistles.
8 ways to improve your website
Here are eight back-to-the-basics web improvements you can make now to help you engage people, convert prospects, and build loyalty in a virtual world.
1. Out with the old
Create a process for regularly retiring old offerings and outdated materials. Take a hard look at what is on your website to make sure it all still applies to what your organization delivers today.
2. Less is more
Part of your role as an organization is to curate resources and information because your target audience doesn’t have time to do it themselves. Your website should serve up only the most helpful, time- and money-saving, life-enhancing information, products, and services. Ask yourself: “What is the least people need to know?”
3. Freshen up your design
An effective modern website is fresh and clean. It has plenty of white space. Images are human, professional, diverse, and uncomplicated. Keep the number of fonts and colors to a minimum. Make it easy for people to see what they need and take action.
4. Simplify navigation
A beautiful website is useless if people can’t find what they’re looking for. Simply your navigation using these best practices:
- Identify 4-6 buckets that your site’s content falls into for your homepage navigation headings.
- Avoid making people click too many times to arrive at a desired resource. Aim to get people to their destination in three clicks or fewer.
- Add quick links on your home page to the most popular areas of your site.
- Enable keyword search for even faster navigation.
5. Update your copy
Edit references to in-person offerings that no longer exist or anything else that’s changed due to COVID-19. Then go deeper to make sure all your messaging is clear, concise, and aligned with your core brand.
Focus on benefits and value vs. features. Use action verbs. Answer your audience’s question: “What’s in it for me?”
6. Be smarter with user data
Turn your website into a data-gathering machine that helps you create laser-focused marketing. Capture information such as user demographics, behaviors, preferences, and topics of interest. Then, automate integration with your other marketing platforms for timely follow-up and targeted lead nurturing that drive conversions.
7. Consider UX
User experience, or UX, considers all interactions a user has with your organization and how each element involved shapes the perception of your brand. For your website, good UX design focuses on what the user needs and makes it easy and enjoyable to navigate your site.
8. Stay active
Designate personnel to maintain interactive components of your site. Regularly moderate discussion forums, job boards, chat boxes, or message boards, to ensure productive interactions and gain valuable insights into the mindset of your audience. This will also add an important human touch to your brand.
Don’t miss out
A fresh, modern, up-to-date website has so much value—in potential leads, sales, members, customers, credibility, brand recognition, and so much more. It’s worth investing time and money to transform Frankenstein’s monster into a purpose-built site that serves and delights your base.