When was the last time you updated your website and dusted down your business? If it’s been a little while, here are seven must do’s to spring clean your business that won’t break the bank, or take too long.
I have to be honest: While I love Christmas, I really dislike New Year’s Eve. It seems like a lot of hype for a 10 second countdown. And, we make good-intentioned resolutions that, in reality, we should not have to wait until the beginning of the year to do. Not to mention trying to remember to put the 18 instead of the 17 on every document.
OK, having had that rant, I do think a new year is a great opportunity to pause, plan and implement fresh business ideas.
Let’s start with your website. As a central piece of your communications channel, it is never ‘set and forget’ and your work is never really ‘done’. Your website should be top of the list for your plans to hit the refresh button.
- Does your website accurately reflect your current business offering?
- When was the last time you updated your website?
- Are you proud to send people to your website?
I always find that it is a moving feast and when I look at our business, where it has gone, and the website, we have a lot of work to do to keep up!
7 things we review annually to improve our business:
1. Cut the clutter:
The point of a website is not to offer as many products or services as possible. We don’t want to confuse our customers. We look at what sells the best and what doesn’t sell well and we get rid of products that are not selling. Declutter your website, products and make room for replacements and more popular items.
2. Check your speed:
Have you ever checked your site speed? Load speeds have a real impact on your sales and traffic, particularly on mobile. People quickly get impatient with pages or images that take a long time to load, and speed can also impact organic search ranking as well as pay-per-click costs.
You can easily measure your site’s speed and performance using free tools like pingdom.com, think with Google or the tools within your Google Analytics account. If you have a slow site, you need to reconsider elements such as web hosting, optimising image sizes and compressing video/audio files, or consider using a third party service like YouTube. The analytics tools will supply a checklist of more detailed recommendations.
3. Renovate and refresh:
This is a biggie. Over the year you will likely have adjusted prices, added new products, changed your positioning, made the news or completed some great projects. Now is the time to reflect these on your website:
- Make sure your home page has the latest news and highlights
- Create or update your all-important ‘About’ page – you’ll find lots of tips here for using your about page to sell, create connections and build credibility
- Update photos that are old or low quality, and add new ones
- Create or update your logo so that it reflects your brand and professionalism
- Remove outdated content and broken links – click through every page and clear out as you go
4. Add to your testimonials:
This is always a fun job as we are really lucky to get some great testimonials. It can be difficult to know how to go about collecting testimonials, especially when starting out. If you need a hand check out his article Step by step: how to collect truly powerful customer testimonials which even includes a template.
If you process a lot of sales, there are also plugins available to help collect testimonials, for example this Easy Testimonials plugin, (WordPress). Many shopping cart facilities have a built in testimonial request function too. Whether you choose to automate it or not, be sure to send an auto-request to customers a few days after purchase.
Remember: the best testimonials are ones that include full names, photos, images, or even videos from your customers.
5. Package up new products and services:
Our business is constantly changing, with our clients requesting new products and with new business ideas coming in thick and fast. We look at the demand and try to prioritise the most requested products to focus on creating and adding to the website. You can even get creative by testing out new products and services that complement your own. Think outside the box and ask friends and family what they would want.
6. Spring clean the business:
Beyond the website, take a look at the business more broadly. Look through your accounts and get rid of software services, or subscriptions you don’t use and save some money. I was shocked to look through our accounts to see how many services I was paying for that I no longer used! We had tried them for various comparison purposes to improve telephone support, template sharing, video production and similar but had not bothered to cancel them.
7. Book the next holiday!
When you run your own business, it can be hard to get away so you have to plan your business carefully to ensure you can manage a holiday. Plan, book and block out your next holiday so you have something to look forward to and to ensure you get a break. This is a priority for us and I recommend it to everyone.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions for your business? What’s on your list for the annual overhaul.