You may have heard the old saying about how New Year’s Resolutions are made to be broken– but that doesn’t have to be you. Now’s a terrific time to make some improvements to your business’s website before 2018 gets here. Some are customer-focused, some are Google-focused, and some are both. All are simple ways to keep your site current, relevant, and secure for your customers.
If you don’t sell products online, you may think you don’t need SSL encryption, but you do for two primary reasons. The first is simply that customers expect it. If you’re going to capture personal data on your site at all, even email or address information, customers will feel more secure if they see you have a secure site. Another important reason to integrate SSL into your site is because of that everpresent consideration: Google rankings. Google ranks selectively based on security, and with the Equifax breach on everyone’s mind, that won’t be changing anytime soon. They’ve been ranking for security for years, but it’s been a lightweight ranking. But very soon, non-HTTPS sites will all be labeled “non-secure” by Chrome. If you don’t invest in SSL, expect your traffic to take a hit.
While it’s true that the “mobile first” mantra applies more to social media than to retail, it’s equally true that a site that’s a mess on mobile is a turnoff. Customers may still prefer to do their research on a laptop or tablet, but if they follow up on the fly the transition should be seamless. And as usual, anything that makes life easier for your customers is likely to improve your rankings.
Update Your Testimonials
Many of us tend to toss a few testimonials up on our site during a redesign, then forget about them. But customers check reviews on your site, as well as on third-party sites like Yelp and Google. Updating your testimonials demonstrates that you’re attentive to and actively managing your site. It’s also an opportunity to steer the public narrative about your business.
Optimize for Local SEO
Get your local SEO in order. Here’s a post we did that covers most everything on a basic level.
Streamline Your Message
So your site is secure, updated, and mobile-friendly. The next bit of housekeeping to address is the message. Customers gravitate to your site because they’re hoping you can solve their specific problem. You want to address that question as quickly as possible. If the answer is yes, they’ll be relieved. If it’s no, they may still remember you in the future and refer a friend. So look at your messaging with a critical eye, and make sure it’s clear, concise, and helpful.
Simplify Opting In
You may not have turned your attention to 2018 campaigns yet, but no matter what you do, you’re going to need a high-quality email list. Every visitor to your site should be greeted by an opt-in process that’s easy and fast. If yours isn’t right up front and intuitive to use, it’s time for a change.
Clean Up Your Navigation
Just as this is a great time of year to clear out unwanted items from your home, it’s a good time to prune your site. Some of your pages have surely become irrelevant over time, and you may discover some very patchwork navigation that has accumulated as you addressed the changing needs of your business. Poor navigation can create a “buried treasure” scenario in which you have exactly what your leads want, but they can’t find it. Take the time to look at the site through your customers’ eyes, and structure its flow around their typical journey from problem to solution.
Use the closing of the year as both a carrot and a stick to drive change on your site, and by the time all your potential customers are following up on their New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll be perfectly positioned to receive them.