So the odd red box of chocolates or random coffee mug with the witty phrase you barely noticed on your trip to the mall in January has turned into a pile of merchandise stacked high at the shop entrance. Yes, dear reader, Valentine’s Day is upon us.
We know you’ll remember to do something nice for your someone special. But while you’re busy spreading the love, don’t forget about your website. Your website is a vital member of your team. However, it needs constant attention from you so that it can continue to function at its peak, showcase your business and bring in those leads.
But it can’t do this by itself. Your website needs you.
So shower your site with love this year by doing these five things:
1. Encrypt your domain
When your website has an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate properly installed on the server, a small green padlock icon will be displayed to the left of a website URL in the browser and https will appear in green text.
SSL certificates are used to secure data transfers, credit card transactions, logins and other personal information. They also provide the assurance to users and customers that your site is secure, making it more likely that visitors will stay on your website for longer.
This has the added benefit of improving the bounce rate on your website as well as increasing the chances of your prospects engaging with more of your content.
Your website should always be protected with HTTPS, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive communications.
2. Update your website’s security
If you are using a content management system (and you really should be) or any web-based software, it’s vital to keep it updated with the latest security patches and bug fixes. You don’t have to be running an e-commerce site for hackers to want to break into your website. Often, hackers will break into a website and upload malware to use in their other attack schemes.
One of the primary ways hackers gain access to a site is through outdated software. As security patches become available, hackers will try to take advantage of websites that don’t have the latest updates installed. The last thing you want is for your visitors to get infected by software downloaded from your site. If Google detects malware on your website, it will delist your site until you get it fixed.
3. Update your details
One of the first things most people do before heading out to a business meeting is to check the company’s website to gain some useful information. What is the first impression they would get from your website?
Is the “Latest News” two years old? Is the copyright date in the footer from three years ago? Has your contact number or physical address changed? Has the CEO in the team photo retired? Do all the links and forms work?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be leaving your prospects with a poor first impression of your company and leaving business on the table. A website that is up to date reflects well on your business. It tells your prospective customers that your company is able to stay on top of things, communicate well and can be trusted.
4. Post a blog
As they say in marketing, it’s easier to keep a customer than to get a new one. And the best way of keeping in touch with existing customers – and reaching new ones – is to provide relevant, up-to-date information that helps them accomplish their goals. The best way of achieving this is by posting regular blog updates or sending out a monthly newsletter to promote your latest special offer or your latest company news.
By keeping your site current and informative, you begin to develop a solid trust relationship with your customers and prospects. And by distributing and promoting your blog content on your relevant social media platforms, the chance of even more people finding out about your products and services is that much greater.
The spinoff of creating fresh content is that search engines such as Google love it! The more often you update your website, the more often the search engines will visit your site and boost your rankings. But the reverse holds true too . . . after a site has not been updated in a while, the search engines quit crawling it and your rankings may begin to drop for important keywords.
5. Stay ahead of the technology curve
Technology is constantly evolving for accessing the content on your website. Is your website keeping up? Is it mobile friendly and delivering your message in the best possible way?
There are two common approaches to accommodating new technology. You can make regular but smaller incremental changes over time, or you can do a complete refresh every few years.
While a complete refresh is tempting and even sometimes needed, a better and more affordable approach may be to make smaller incremental changes over time.
One of the most often overlooked, yet critical, components of any successful website strategy is ongoing maintenance. While the initial website development project is critical to creating the right foundation, the ongoing maintenance is what will really make your website shine. This is where you’ll really start to maximise the return on your investment.
So, while you can’t shower your website with flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day, give it some of your time and work through the checklist above. It might be the best thing you do all year.
Show your website some love and it will love you back!
We would love to help you get the most out of your website.