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Five minutes to... check your website


Is your digital shop window neat and tidy for business this year? If you’re always too busy to attend to your website here’s a five minute checklist on how to polish it up and make sure it presents you well. Use the answers to instruct your web developer, or get stuck in yourself and sort it out with a clear plan of what you need to do.

1. Check the site loads fast
Everyone’s impatient on the web, but what is fast? If you click on your link off Google or type in your URL and then find yourself staring at a blank screen for more than a second your site is slow, even if you’re not on the fastest broadband. Fast really is very fast. If your site is loading slowly you may need to get some technical help. If you’re running a widget driven site, sometimes a single widget could be the culprit, or perhaps you’re overladen with graphics, or perhaps your site is still full of flash. Clever techie types may even know add on’s that will up your load speed without changing very much. Don’t lose customers or reputation because your site loads like treacle flowing up hill.  There are some great free tools out there to check this, we use Google’s own page speed tool to analyse our site

2. Check your contact details are up to date

Obvious but often forgotten. Read everything out letter by letter, number by number. Make sure email addresses are all going to the right inbox. Check everything that a customer might need to get in touch with you. If you have a search function, put ‘contacts’ in and see what it gives you, if it doesn’t give you a telephone number or an email then sort it out fast. You have to make it easy to get in touch if you want to stay in business!

3. Check your ‘about us’ is accurate and current
Nothing is worse than reading about stuff that’s been and gone, or staff who have left. Has your company grown? Do you offer different services? Have you won awards or been nominated? About us is a great place to give your business some context and sell yourself.

4. Check all your links work 
If you’ve loaded content and want people to read it, make sure they can get to it easily. Broken links not only look really bad but they lose you customers – dead clicks will see readers clicking away. Check all your links, not just obvious links in text but any on page navigation (side, header, footer).  We use this handy free broken link checker tool.

5. Check your blogs or news aren’t last century
Producing content for websites is like losing weight. Everyone starts with great intentions and enthusiasm only to run out of motivation and ideas in just a matter of weeks some times. If you’re guilty of a three entry blog and know you haven’t got the time to maintain it, then kill it off. If you’ve got news that’s out of date on your site then put some time aside to write a few up to date stories to drag your site back into the present.

6. Check all content for readability, accuracy, relevance, SEO 

Is there stuff that needs to be re written, edited or binned? Is it short, easy to read, well signposted? Are headings meaningful even if they are based on keywords? Does your content include for keywords and do you know which keywords will give you the best results? There are plenty of online services that will give you an analysis of how to up your Google rankings if that’s important to you. Get an analysis before investing in SEO services. If that’s too expensive or unlikely to push you higher up the rankings in a crowded area of business, then run an Adword campaign to get yourself on the first page, it’s quick, cheap and effective.

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