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 the big picture to some nitty gritty details, let’s clean up your site.
1. 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 to boost the SEO of your homepage.
2. Make your home more accessible
Just as you’d make some arrangements for someone with limited mobility visiting your home, you want to do the same thing for your website.
There’s a free tool, WAVE which is a web accessibility evaluation tool that will tell you all of the ways in which you could make your website easier for people who are using screen readers or need some sort of assistive technology.
BONUS: making your website more accessible will often also help with SEO!
3. Boost your curb appeal
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.)
4. Make sure you’re find-able
While house hunting a few Springs ago, 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 having 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.
And make sure that you only have one H1 tag on every page. The easiest way to do this is to use a (free) tool called Screaming Frog SEO spider.
5. Clear out your hallways
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 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.
6. 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 you can 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
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, typos, etc. Why? They can slow things down and drive people away.
BONUS Tip: Tidy Up Your Basement
Spring is a great time to tidy up your basement – or in this case, think about your technical SEO.
To make sure that you don’t have any broken links on your website, ou can use a tool like Dead Link Checker. Because if you have a lot of broken links that Google’s not noticing, it doesn’t trust those pages anymore.
And there’s also something that can make a huge difference in your SEO and your site speed that is so boring and repetitive but can really make a difference – and that is to compress your images.
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 working through the checklist left you a longer list of things you should do, let’s talk about a site refresh.