Why Update Your Website?

It’s all about first impressions!  As soon as I see one of those old black sites that is packed with stuff on the first page, I know the owner hasn’t paid a lot of attention to the impression being left.  Yes, there are many businesses that had a site developed years ago and think that’s all that is required – similar to a brochure that never changes.  They may ask why update my website?  Amazing the number of sites that have outdated information.  I discovered one recently that had the wrong address.

 If you are doing business on the web (and that includes social media participation) you really must pay attention the impression you are creating.  You want to convey that you are on top of the latest trends and that you are taking care of business.  You want your site to be found AND you want everything to work well.  Broken links and empty image boxes do not leave a good impression.
Recently we discussed this issue on my Being Your Own CEO Success Circle Hangout and we developed a list.  We noted that once a website has been designed and developed, regular maintenance must also occur, and it is separate from the development piece.  This work can be done by a knowledgeable Word Press user, or a maintenance contract can be drawn up.  This work needs to be conducted on a monthly basis as a minimum.  If you can’t do this yourself, find someone in your local area whose reputation you can check; never give access to someone you do not know.

Here is the checklist that I use to update my site:

  1.  Modernize- Take a look around the web and notice the style you are seeing and compare your site.  It’s important that your theme is being regularly supported according to the current Word Press version; many old ones are no longer supported.  Look for one that has a nice clean design and all the features you need.  It works best if you pay for a theme (rather than going with a freebie) so that you receive regular support and updates.
  2. Update Word Press whenever a new version one pops up. Often your website server company will do this, but if not you must do it yourself.
  3. Update Word Press when an update pops up.  These occur regularly when security or other issues need adjustment.
  4. Update your Word Press theme.  When Word Press does an update, there should be a theme update shortly thereafter.
  5. Update Plug-ins
  6. Check for broken links.  Here’s a plug-in
  7. Check your images to ensure they are there and have alt. tags
  8. Check load speed.  Visitors will lose patience and leave if your site is slow to upload.  Try this load speed tester
  9. Check Social Media links by clicking on all of them
  10. Check for 404s (this means that Google tried to find something on your site and couldn’t) Google Webmaster tools is the place to view 404s ()
  11. Look into each 404 and make corrections or do a 301 redirect
  12. Delete unused plug-ins
  13. Review all pages to ensure information is current and correct.
  14. Ensure site is responsive.  Check your site from your phone. You can check mobile here as well:
  15. Feed it content regularly if your site is using posts.
  16. Be sure to respond to comments left by viewers.
 I hope you find the time this week to do a thorough website review.  Does it leave a good impression?  If not, be sure to take corrective action.
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