Every business owner knows that if you and your business stand still it risks being left behind. Your website is no different from any other part of the business, it needs to evolve over time.
One of the key tasks I try to routinely undertake with the Tiny Blue Rocket website is to look at it and ask myself what I could do to make it better. By looking at it with fresh, unbiased eyes often I can spot little things, or even big things, that require a bit of tweaking.
Not every website requires a big revamp and hundreds or thousands of pounds thrown at it to make it better. Sometimes simple steps can be taken to reinvigorate your website.
1. Improve forms, buttons and actions
One of the main issues businesses face is often defining the purpose of your website. Why do you have a website? What do you want people to do when they get there?
For my business website, it’s simply to outline our services, showcase recent work and blog posts. If you own a cafe you might use your website to list your location, a copy of the food and drink on offer and how to get in touch. An online shop would list the products for sale and how to purchase them.
Less is more when it comes to websites. So, first and foremost, consider what your website is for.
Beyond the purpose, you have the actions. What do you want people to do when they come to your website? I want people to enquire about getting a website on our contact page or use our web design price calculator. A cafe might want people to book a table or signup to a newsletter. An online shop, of course, wants you to buy products.
Gone are the days of passive websites. Every business needs people to do something when they visit their website, otherwise, it’s a wasted visit. While I’m no fan of popups and bothersome features like that, many businesses use forms, popups and buttons to direct users to take an action.
Simply getting people to fill out a form or join a newsletter can be enough to ensure you can get back in touch with and ‘warm up’ potential customers.
So, firstly consider what the purpose of your website is. Secondly, what do you want visitors to do when they get there. Just make sure you don’t make the action a too complex a task, people don’t like effort when it comes to casual browsing!
2. Rewrite your text content
The two main fundamental features of your website are the text content and the visual imagery. Images capture people’s attention and the text tells them the key information they require.
However, the text content does so much more than that. Text content can get people to your website in the first place. SEO is important and search engines, such as Google, will read your content and rank your website accordingly. So, when it comes to text content you’ve got to write for people and bots!
One of the most common problems I see on people’s website is too much text content. Going back to my last point in the first section, people are lazy. When we’re browsing online we rarely want to sit and read all of the content on a website like it’s a bit of classic prose. When it comes to text content it needs to be short and punchy. Get to the point in as few words as possible.
Try to outline the key offerings of your business in a couple of sentences. E.g:
“The best coffee in Exeter.”
“Meet your friends in a relaxing environment.”
“Homemade cakes, freshly made every day.”
There we’ve outlined the boastful comment about being the best, engage emotionally with people and outline a key sales point about fresh food. People don’t want to read about your cat or the visions and aims on a home page. Keep your content to the point and hit the key areas in a few sentences.
When it comes to SEO you want to think about location and purpose. Does your business work for local people? If you’re a cafe, high street shop or opticians, for example, people need to come to you. Apart from that, think about the sorts of things people might search for when you want them to find your business.
“Cafe in Exeter”
“Roof repairs Devon”
Then ensure you’re incorporating those sorts of phrases (although grammatically correctly) into your website.
But, don’t overdo it with SEO. I’ll make no marketing friends with this but do firstly write for real people. SEO is important, but there’s no point ‘tricking’ people to get on your website by throwing hundreds or thousands of pounds at and SEO expert only for the website to not convert well for humans. SEO is important, but real people are more important.
Think about rewriting your text content. Keep it short and sharp and consider how it will help people find your website online.
3. Refresh your images
Whether you rely on real images or stock images on your website, try to refresh the visual images every few months.
Humans naturally like order and repetition, but visiting a website and seeing the same old images can get a bit boring.
How often does your local supermarket reorder products on their shelves? They endeavour to move things around every few months so people are forced to spot new things and take in more of what’s on offer. As frustrating as it is for shoppers, a refresh does make you spot things that were always in front of you but you missed.
If you use real-life photos of products, people or your business, take time once or twice a year to get new photos taken. Refresh your imagery and show that your business is evolving. You’d be amazed by how much it’ll impress casual visitors!
There’s no shame in using stock images, but it’s annoying when you see the same boring stock images on every website. If you do rely on stock images, look at sites like Unsplash or Pexels every few months for new images and ensure your website is not too common to other people.
Refreshing images can be an easy win. It shouldn’t take too long to take or source new images and the difference to your visitors can be profound.
4. Ensure your website loads quickly
Refreshing images and text and refocusing your website are all great ideas, but somewhat pointless if your website takes too long to load.
Research indicates that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. How long does your website take? You can easily check using tools like GTMetrix.
More than half of all website visits are from smartphones, some relying on a 4G connection to load the website. If your website is taking over 3 seconds to fully load, you may be already losing out on over half of the website traffic you could be getting.
There are many steps you can take to speed up your website. Think about your hosting. Often a slow website is bottlenecked by the hosting it is on. Test your server response time with Bitcatcha and see how it ranks. If it’s slow, look at their tests of leading hosting providers to see which one is better.
Secondly, add a content delivery network (CDN). What a CDN does is distribute a copy of your website to data centres all over the world. This means that a person in Sydney and Surrey will be able to load your website in roughly the same amount of time, regardless of where your hosting company is based.
A CDN also offers loads of other security and speed features, if you want to find out more check our Cloudflare’s website.
Even with a great hosting plan and a CDN, sometimes a website can be slow. Using caching plugins can help. Often, from my experience, the images on your website can be the cause of many slow websites. With an image optimisation plugin, it can make all the difference.
The purpose of an image optimisation plugin is to strip out as much data from your photos or images as possible. A photo taken on an iPhone will store the location, type of phone and user in the photo’s data. Why? An image optimisation plugin will get rid of every unnecessary kilobyte of data.
That’s not all, these plugins will also ensure your photo will load at the best size. Got a photo that’s 4000 pixels by 3000 pixels? It would need to be less than half that size at most for any website.
Do take the time to analyse your website’s loading time. If you are seriously worried and aren’t sure how to improve it, please feel free to get in touch.
5. Small redesigns
You can tweak images and rewrite text content, but sometimes the best improvement is a redesign.
You don’t need to throw loads of money at a completely new website, but by moving things around refreshing the layout it can make a big difference.
When it comes to thinking about the purpose of your website and the actions you want visitors to take, you may then need to redesign the layout and the features throughout the website.
Often the ease-of-use is important to consider. How easy is your website’s menu to use? So many websites I see are terribly hard to navigate through. How easily can people find your contact details or location? Nothing stops a potential customer quicker than frustration on your website. Consider the flow of your website.
Sometimes tweaks and small improvements aren’t enough, especially when your website is slow or really needs a big redesign. In those circumstances, a complete rebuild is required. Luckily, we can help with that.
All of the websites we built for clients are built within WordPress with the Elementor page builder. The goal for us and our clients is to make websites that are visually appealing, easy to use and ridiculously easy for our clients to maintain.
By building websites with the drag-and-drop Elementor page builder, it means you can easily edit your website content. All parts of the website are open for you to edit and you can easily expand or improve your own website. No part of our sites are locked down or require you to pay extra for editing or changing content.
We believe in delivering high-quality websites to our clients which require no extra or additional fees for editing the site. We also believe in providing first-class after-care with our learning portal and client training.
And how much would it cost for a new website? Find out by using our price calculator. You can even pay for your website in instalments with our payment plans.
As more and more people expect businesses to operate online, your business’ website becomes an even more fundamental part of your business.
Take the time to analyse it with fresh, unbiased eyes. What the purpose? What do you want people to do on your website? It is loading quickly? Is it time to tweak text and photos? Or is it time to just get it completely rebuilt?
Whatever you need, we’re more than happy to help, advise or build and make sure your website works well for you, your business and your customers.