While you’ve been away on a break over the holiday period your website may well have hit a few snags – or you may have been so busy at the end of the year that a few things have been overlooked. The start of a New Year is an excellent time to run some quick checks of your website to make sure everything is in good working order.
So here’s my list of twenty things for you to look over – these are just a few simple things you can do to make sure some of the critical functions of the website are working. Once you’ve done these, you may like to start looking at more marketing related ideas for improving your website in 2012.
- Remove any holiday specific images like Christmas images or New Year images.
- Remove any out dated notices (such as the office being closed until…).
- Remove any out dated specials – such as Christmas or New Year sales.
- If appropriate, add a message that you are open for business and available for new work.
- Check that website enquiry forms are working properly by completing each form in full. Add the date and time you sent the enquiry into the comments box so you can check on the delivery time of the email. Now check that the email enquiry is going to the correct email address. Also check how email enquiries are being handled – do you have a system for replying and archiving.
- Review what auto response emails (if any) are being sent out to people who send through an enquiry using your enquiry form.
- Review the automated message used on the enquiry form ‘thank you page’. This is the page people see after they have submitted an enquiry through your web form. Generally, it should say something like ‘thank you for your enquiry; we’ll be in contact with you shortly’.
- Check for broken links – you can use this automated service http://validator.w3.org/checklink
- Over the holiday period hackers seem to be more active – as they know people are not as responsive during this time. So use this website to check that your website does not have any malware installed onto it (malicious software). http://sitecheck.sucuri.net/scanner/
- Check if your content management system (CMS) needs upgrading. Content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, are often upgraded as new security loop holes are found and closed, or new features and functions are added to the CMS. It’s very important to keep your website’s CMS up to date so as to minimise your risks of being hacked. If you login to your website you will see if a new update is available. Contact your web designer about the update as it’s important that the site is backed up properly before being upgraded. While you’re at it, check that your website is being regularly backed up.
- Check your product or service pages – are you still offering the same service and product at the same price?
- Check your website statistics – how are your website visitor numbers going in general? What content are visitors most interested in and what keyword phrases are they using in the search engines to find you. This is just a cursory look for now to get some ideas generated for structuring future content.
- Check that your website looks fine in the most recent web browsers for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari (small variations are to be expected).
- How does your website look on a mobile phone or tablet like an Ipad or Samsung Galaxy? Mobile devices are the way of the future so your website will need to work well in them sooner rather than later.
- Check your ‘team’ page – are there any new employees you need to add or staff that need to be removed from the site? Or, have people’s positions changed within the company?
- How does your website print out? Can you easily read a printed page from your website? If not, ask your developer about adding a print style sheet to your site. Print this blog post to see what I mean as this site has been designed to be printer friendly.
- Do you have new testimonials you can add to the site?
- Check when your domain name is up for renewal and check that the email notifications are going to the correct email address. Go to http://www.registerdirect.co.nz/ and enter in your website address to check on the details (it will display all the information about your domain name).
- When was the last time you added new, informative, and interesting content to your website? Content is still king and helps gain new customers in the long run. So think about adding new content to the web site including images, videos and pod casts.
- Write up a to-do list of the things you want to improve or get sorted with your website.
Well, that’s it, 20 things you should check on your website. I probably could have written a lot more, but these are the things that I have personally checked on my site and will now be working towards remedying!
All the best for a successful 2012.