11 Updates for a Better Website

A few key design changes make it so much easier for customers to find you.

A tactical retailer’s website is everything from a 24/7 customer support center to a sales and marketing tool. Websites make a company discoverable by a wide audience and give it credibility among its competition.

A good website can put a small company on even footing with much bigger competitors. But just having a website isn’t enough. Like any good business vehicle, a website needs an occasional tune-up. It needs to be refreshed regularly so it will continue to attract visitors and boost its search engine rankings.

Your business isn’t web design, of course. You don’t have endless time to devote to updating your site, and maybe you’re not big enough to hire someone to maintain your site full time. But a business website — even a great one — shouldn’t be viewed as a static thing like a billboard or brochure. To get the most out of a website, it must be maintained.

So dedicate some time to it, and reap the rewards. Here are a few places to start next time you meet with your web developer:

1. Make sure it is responsive. A responsive website is one that works on any platform. The goal should be easy scrolling and navigation on any screen. So many people search for service providers on their phones now, so your site needs to be optimized for mobile devices. Be sure your site loads quickly and looks right whenever and wherever someone might call it up.

2. Make sure your site works on every possible browser. Your web developer should have made sure your site will show up as designed on any browser from Safari to Firefox to Chrome. You can check this by using an online tool like Browsershots, which tests your site for compatibility on a vast array of browsers and all the different versions of each browser people may be using.

3. Update photos/replace stock photos with originals. People want to see current, original photos of your business, staff, products, etc. — not dated old shots or pretty stock photography. If your kid in the team photo is now grown up and one of your sales reps, updating the photo will give your adult child and the website credibility. Also, if your website has pictures of retired equipment or staff members who have moved on, it’s time to shoot some new photos. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to pay big money for professional photography. You or someone on your staff with a smartphone and an eye for composition should be able to take pictures you can use on your website.

4. Check all links. This is an easy tweak that can be done any time you’ve got a few minutes to spare. Go to your website and click all links to make sure they still work and go where you want them to take you. If not, fix, replace or delete them. If you don’t want to check them individually, use an online tool like Dead Link Checker.

5. Add or update testimonials. If you’ve had the same customer testimonials on your website for years, it’s time for some new ones. Praise for service received 10 years ago tells potential customers little about what your business offers today.

6. Update content. Search engines get bored. They love new content and will boost a site’s ranking when they detect it. Also, search engines keep humans guessing by constantly changing their analytics, so what was a ratings booster yesterday might not be tomorrow, which is another reason to add new content often. How do you come up with new content? First, make sure all content on the site is up-to-date and relevant. You may have added service offerings that aren’t mentioned on the website, or perhaps you’ve dropped some services still listed. Maybe you’ve moved, changed or added a phone number, or haven’t linked your Facebook page or Instagram account to your website. Also consider if there are any problems some new content could solve.

7. Blog regularly or drop it. Blogging regularly on a website can boost search engine ratings. I found, however, many people have good intentions of posting to their blog regularly and then don’t. It’s better to not have a blog at all than to have one with one or two four-year-old posts. I found one website where the “blog” button took me to a page with the framework for creating a blog and the words “here you can add some text.” That one click made the whole site less credible.  

8. Link to social media by adding social sharing buttons. For maximum effectiveness of all your online marketing efforts, make them work together. Add buttons to your website that take users to your Facebook page, YouTube videos or Tik-Tok channel in a single click. Conversely, make sure your social media pages link back to your website.

9. Add call-to-action buttons. Sometimes customers will come to your website just to find your phone number. Don’t make them scroll all the way to the bottom of your homepage for your contact information. Add a call-to-action button so with one click, users can take whatever action it is you want them to take. Hyperlink your phone number so people finding your site on their phones can call you with one click.

10. Add video content. Video increases the amount of time visitors spend on the site, which is good for search engine rankings. In addition to improving that retention rate, video helps people remember your company. It can make you stand out from the competition, and it’s a great way to show off new products you’ve just gotten in.

11. Run some tests. If you’re not sure how your site is performing, you can test it. There are several free tools available that determine if you have a high bounce rate, which means visitors aren’t finding what they are looking for and “bounce” away from your homepage quickly. You can also test your page speed to see if your site is slow to load. There are tools that help analyze your search engine optimization rating and one that will show how your website compares with your competition’s website. Just do an online search for “SEO report card” and you’ll find some tools to play with.

Study Other websites

If you think your website is getting stale and could use refreshing but don’t know where to start, take some time to study other websites. Think about other sites you visit often for business or fun. What brings you back to them again and again? Fresh content? Ease of use? Great images? Incorporate what draws your attention into your own website. People take notice of a great website in the sea of mediocrity online. 


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