The 2012 Successful Website Checklist

Rene LeMerle Posted by

Yep…it’s a new year, and everyone’s made their resolutions…

If you’re like many business owners, you’ve probably committed to improving your web presence in 2012 …and why wouldn’t you – it’s promising to be bigger and better online than ever before…

So to help you kick start your online resolutions – here’s a quick little check list to ensure your website’s more successful in 2012.

1. Content Review

When was the last time you updated the content on your website? Is it still telling the right story about your products and services?

It’s time to give your content a polish. Take down the old promos, add some new persuasive copy, converse with your audience and even make sure you have the current copyright at the bottom of your website (how many sites still have 1998 on them).

2. Image Makeover

Images tell a significant story about your business, products and services. Rather than keeping those grainy dark images from years ago or plastering your website with stock photos that every other website is using, invest in getting some clear bright and most importantly relevant image up.

3. There’s More to Media Than Pictures

It’s 2012 people. Yes images are great, but your audience expects to be wowed by other exciting interactive elements on your website.

Why not get started with a simple video about your business or products….or if you want to get tricky…there’s slideshows, podcasts, PDFs etc.

4. Get Social Already

It’s not new and and buzz isn’t dying anytime soon. Social media is here to stay whether you like it or not. More importantly, your customers are using it, so it’s now essential for your business.

At the very least you should have links to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin accounts on your website. But even better, use the tools available and integrate the conversations your having in social media on your website and encourage visitors to get involved.

5. Keep It Simple and Focused

As website’s evolve, they often expand and try to say too much. Bombarding visitors with a barrage of info irrespective of there they are in their journey through your site.

It’s important to give people the right information at the right time on your website. By removing the clutter and confusion you’ll do a better job of guiding them to where you need them to be.

6. Call for action

Visitors all too often they just need to be prodded. If you don’t ask them to do something, there’s a good chance they won’t.

Whether it’s buying your products, signing up for your newsletter or downloading your catalogue, make sure you make it obvious that action is required. Subtlety doesn’t work. Make your calls to action loud and proud.

7. Where’s the trust

There’s 100 billion trillion websites out there, and probably 100’s of competitors in your industry alone. So who should your visitors trust?

Unless you take the time to build trust, they’ll go elsewhere. Add trust builder like awards, certifications and safety/security affiliations to your website so they know straight away that you’re the people to trust.

8. Make it Snappy

Internet users are like fish…short attention spans. So they’re not forgiving of websites that take years to load. Almost everyone has access to fast internet, so the onus is on you to ensure your website loads fast and without errors.

Look at how your website is built, optimize the size of images/media and even reconsider your hosting. It often doesn’t take much to give your website a tune up.

9. No Rabbitholes

No one likes getting lost on a website, so your navigation is paramount. Make it obvious how to get to the bits of content your visitors want to find. And sometimes more importantly, how to get back to where they’ve been.

Some things to consider to improve useability include reviewing your main navigation menu, implementing breadcrumb navigation, sitemaps and even a website search function.

10. “Flash”iness??

Flash on website is soon going to be a thing of the past. Especially when we consider that more and more people are looking at your website from devices like iPhones and iPads.

There’s a range of new technology like HTML5 that does a great job of providing interactivity whilst still working on Apple devices. So if you site is covered in Flash…perhaps 2012 is time for a change.

11. Mobile is Now

Every man and his dog has a smartphone it seems. And they’re using them to view your website (well perhaps not the dogs).

So it’s important that you check your website renders properly on mobile devices. There’s many things you can do to improve the mobile readiness of your website without having to go down the path of creating mobile sites or apps.

And that’s a wrap. A short and sweet Website Success Checklist for 2012. My tip is to review your website with the checklist above and plan out the changes gradually over the coming months.

When you break the overhaul process into smaller pieces, you’re more likely to get it done.

And most importantly, don’t be one of those business owners that breaks their 2012 resolutions and neglects their website for another year.

Comments

About the Author: Rene is the marketing manager of ineedhits.com - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for Gooruze.com - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.