Websites are never fully finished. Your website is a living, breathing document that’s meant to be revisited and updated as your business evolves.
It's important not to ‘set it and forget it’ but to make it routine to check in on your website and make sure all the details are up-to-date. You'll ensure that your site is always functioning well and gives off a solid impression to potential customers.
Not to mention, routinely adding content and making small changes to your site increases your SEO (search engine optimization) rankings by signalling to Google’s crawlers (the tech that scans websites for keywords and information) that your website is active. It’s basically saying “I’m alive, check me out!"
So, here are my quick and easy ways to keep your website updated. These tasks are a little check-in routine I personally do on my site and the sites I maintain for clients:
Test your contact form and newsletter signup forms
Task frequency: monthly
There’s nothing worse than the panic of realizing your contact form hasn’t been working for 6 months (it happened to a friend) or that people can’t get on your newsletter list because of a broken link. Sometimes server and software updates cause glitches with forms, particularly on WordPress sites or with third-party email service forms integrated on your site. So as a rule of thumb, I test contact and newsletter forms at least once a month and with 2 separate email addresses. You can make a date of this task celebrating the first or last day of the month.
Check that all site links are correct and active
Task frequency: quarterly
It's easy to make changes in our business and forget that they affect our website. For example, if you’ve updated your social media handles or Linkedin profile URL, you’ll need to remember to update these links on your website. Or perhaps you’ve removed pages or blog posts that were linked elsewhere on your site, say to events that have passed. I like to go through every page of a site quarterly and right-click on each link, making sure it still opens the right page. Avoiding broken links (links that don't go anywhere or go to the wrong page) is huge for making potential clients feel that you are professional and on top of things.
Make sure your footer copyright year is current
Task frequency: yearly
This once-a-year update is the easiest way to signal to visitors and search engines that you are active on your site. If you’re on Squarespace or Shopify, it’ll update automatically. For WordPress and other builders, you may need to update it manually. Either way, check to make sure it shows the current year or a range from when you set up your site to the current year (ie. year started - current year). It’s a small detail but will keep visitors from wondering if you haven’t been around since 2017.
Update your site photography
Task frequency: yearly/every other year
According to a recent Shopify study, high-quality photography and a clean layout are the top two factors in creating a trustworthy impression of your site to new visitors. Professional photography is an investment that pays off big time in attracting new clients and positioning yourself as ultra-professional. Changing photos also signals to existing clients and customers that you're investing in improving your business. I highly recommend hiring a local photographer at least every other year for some professional photos of yourself and your products/service. Also scan your site to make sure that your existing site photos are not blurry, pixelated or low-resolution.
Bonus tip: Remove the 'Home' button from your top menu
This is a one-time update that will instantly make your site more modern and usable. A ‘Home’ button used to be the main way for visitors to return to your home page, but it’s now common usability practice to have your top logo link to your home page. (Think of when you visit other websites - do you subconsciously know that if you click the logo you’ll go back to the home?) As long as your top logo links back to your home page, you can remove the ‘Home' link from your navigation and free up space for a new button, or just keep your navigation super simple with your remaining items.
There you have it - easy tips that will make sure your site is polished and projecting a sense of professionalism to potential customers.