With the vernal equinox upon us (officially spring next week!), the first blooms of crocus popping up in my yard, and baseball opening day right around the corner (Go Red Sox!), it’s time for an annual ritual that I both love & dread: spring cleaning. While you think about opening up the windows to air out the house and mopping up the mud on the kitchen floor (spring’s full of mud too), take some time to give your digital home some love too.
Take a couple hours to air out and clean up your website. I’ve made you a handy checklist. Go in, see what’s working. Fix the things you can. Make a list of the stuff you can’t. Then let’s talk.
5 Ways to Clean Up Your Site This Spring
From what you look like from afar to some nitty gritty details, we’re going to clean up your site.
1. Take the broad view
You want your site to look good no matter where people view it. Otherwise, they’re going to leave before they make it to the door.
Try this: Browse your site on your phone, your iPad, your friend’s phone, your computer. While you’re at it, check it with different browsers — Chrome, Safari, Android Webview & Explorer. Does it look good on ALL these screens and in all these browsers?
If not, you might need to make some changes to your theme settings or code. (Don’t freak out. If you’re not sure what to do here, just make a note of what’s not working.)
2. Get found
While house hunting last spring, we saw some beautiful houses that we couldn’t believe were in our price range … until I looked them up on google maps and realized that they were on dirt roads in the middle of nowhere. Unless we bought a Range Rover, we couldn’t get to the house.
You can have the most amazing site in the world, but people need to find you. That means a clear metadescription, solid keywords in the right places (like your header and slug) & using alt-text for images. If that’s all sounding a little techy for you, set up the Yoast SEO plug-in and use it’s step-by-step guides to optimize every page & post.
3. Dust off the welcome mat
Take a good look at your home page. Does it welcome people? Does it give them a clear idea of who you are and what you do? Do they know what to do next? If you didn’t answer Yes to all three questions, spend a little time here.
4. Freshen up
Google “freshen up a room” and you’ll get all kinds of hacks and tricks for making your house look, feel, and smell better without a whole lotta work. What can you do to freshen up your site:
- Update your about page
- Add the new testimonials you’ve been collecting but not doing anything with
- Choose a style for all your pictures from now on and set up a system to use it
- Add a call to action to any page that doesn’t have one
5. Tidy up
This is where you throw out all the broken things that have been sitting around in the corner and put away that stack of papers you’ve been meaning to file. On your website, let’s get rid of the old stuff you don’t need, bad links and typos. Why? They make you look bad and can slow things down and drive people away.
On your website, you may have photos you uploaded that you ended up not using, the old version of your about page, a sales page for a service you no longer offer “just in case”. . . you don’t need all this. Getting rid of crap you don’t need makes for a cleaner experience (read streamlined, less time wasted) when you or a team member does stuff in the back end of your site. More importantly, it can also help with load time. Want people to stick around? Load speed matters. Here’s my favorite tool to test my site’s speed: Pingdom Tools. Try it. See what you can do make the experience quicker for your visitors.
Then check your links. To clean up bad links use the Dead Link Checker to find broken links. Then pop in the right link.
Do you have typos in your site? They make you look bad, and when they are in links or contact info they case big problems. So how do you know? Read through your site. It’s probably been a while since you did so, and errors may pop out at you. Go in and fix them. Other ways to find these? Ask a friend to read it (fresh eyes help) or hire a proofreader.
After a day of clean up, I’m usually exhausted, but it feels good. Go order pizza for dinner and enjoy looking at your clean site.
If you working through the checklist left you a longer list of things you should do, let’s talk about a site refresh.
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