A new year ushers in all sorts of ambitious goals to hit the refresh button. Like you, your website needs to be taken care of throughout the year, and January is an excellent time to start. You don’t have to polish your website in one month’s time; determine which of these resolutions take precedence, and incorporate them into your team’s strategy over time.
Remove or update outdated content
It’s OK to part ways with content that is out of date, and it’s perfectly acceptable to touch up what you want to keep. If your website is on the smaller side, split up the sections and knock this task out every six months. For those with larger websites, make monthly goals and tackle sections over the course of the year. (One thing to stay on top of all year long: your contact page.)
Update tags and categories
While you’re updating content, you may as well double check that all your tags and categories are correct. You’ll thank yourself the rest of the year.
Update meta descriptions
Consider your meta description a visitor’s first impression of your website. You have up to 160 characters to make a good impression, so remember these three S’s: short, sweet, and SEO-friendly.
Check all links
Website visitors have virtually no patience when it comes to broken links. In fact, it’s one of the reasons people will leave your site in three seconds or less. Make it a habit to double check links every few months or make life easier by using a link-checking software and receive automatic alerts.
2. Become More Accessible
Update alt text on all images
Imagine this: a visitor using a screen reader arrives at your website and understands the text on the page. However, the photos your team carefully picked out for that blog post or that sales item were never uploaded with alt tags, but were thrown on the website with original file names, which are often indecipherable. Your visitor can’t do much with “img00982.jpg,” so it’s best practice to find the “Alt Text” box in your CMS and be as descriptive as possible. Divvy up sections of the website at the beginning of the year and dedicate a few hours to crossing this off the list.
Make sure “Click Here” is nowhere to be found
Nobody likes poor directions, and that’s no different on the web. Linking text that says “Click Here” or “Read More” is meaningless without context. Think of a signpost on a highway—you wouldn’t get very far if all the signs said the same thing. Comb through content and make sure those are long gone. To learn more about web accessibility, get familiar with these basics.
3. Be More Organized
Develop a content strategy
Begin by completing a content inventory; it’s a lifesaver when you start to feel overwhelmed by what you do and do not have on your website. Once you’ve figured out what you have in terms of blogs, photos, multimedia files, and more, this could reveal both gaps and strengths in your overall content. Let this guide your strategy throughout the year, whether you choose to focus on filling out or paring down certain areas every month, every quarter, or twice a year.
Align SEO with your content strategy
You know that awesome content strategy you’re going to produce? Make it even more worthwhile by aligning it with your SEO goals. Decide what keywords you want to rank for, where you rank currently, and curate content around that. Don’t forget to update your current content to be more SEO-friendly, and always keep this in mind: Your content strategy goals are often the same as SEO goals.
Create a content workflow
No matter the type or amount of content you create, implementing an editorial workflow can prevent some serious content gridlock. (This rings especially true for pieces that need to be OK’ed by several people across your team.)
4. Be More Analytical
Evaluate content data
Start by digging through the last 12 months of data: Which blog posts performed best? Where is most of your traffic coming from? What are they doing when they get to your site? Asking these questions can you help you identify your strong suits and how to make them stronger, plus areas that need improvement.
Set KPIs and key metrics
You can set goals all day long, but without a proper way to measure your progress, what’s the point? Certain actions that visitors take on your website often imply something bigger for your organization. For example, actions like demo requests or free trial subscriptions are key metrics that could live beneath a key performance indicator you could call “Lead Generation.” If a KPI for your site is “Content Engagement,” newsletter and blog sign-ups could be key metrics for that category. Make it a team activity and it’ll be that much easier to brainstorm key performance indicators.
5. Get a New Look
Consider a redesign
While a website redesign may not be on the coming year’s radar, keep it in the back of your mind as a long-term resolution. You can put months of effort into creating the world’s most useful content, but if it looks outdated or provides a poor user experience, people will bounce. (Literally—bounce rates are considerably higher for outdated-looking websites or sites with poor navigation.) Your site should evolve with your company and with the times, and it never hurts to get customer feedback on ways to help their experience.