12 Web Improvements for 2012

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twelveAs we approach the New Year, now is the perfect time to review your web presence and plan a strategy for ramping it up to better engage your prospects and customers in 2012.

We have put together a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing. Some of it may sound simple, but it’s often the simple things that get overlooked.

Before you even begin reading this, do two things:

  1. Review your website’s Google Analytics statistics
  2. Do a quick scan of your competitors’ web sites

You may be surprised at how quickly the web changes and discover a competitor now is a dominant player online. Reviewing your site’s statistics will reveal the good, bad and ugly about your current setup and give you a clear understanding of what your next steps should be.

So here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

1. Staff Page

The staff and team pages are statistically one of the highest visited pages of service-based SMEs. Customers want to know who they will be working with.

  • Is the staff list correct?
  • Are all the contact details correct?
  • Do the staff photos need to be refreshed?
  • Are staff more qualified now than they were 12 months ago?

Note: Only provide details of key members, otherwise recruiters and competitors will poach them.

2. Portfolio

Whether you are a construction company, graphic designer, engineer or architect your portfolio pages reassure prospects that you know what you are doing. There are plenty of ways to improve this section of your site:

  • Is the photography of a high quality?
  • Are the descriptions well written and contain Google-friendly content?
  • Is each portfolio item still valid and categorised so your prospects can easily navigate them?
  • Can you expand this section to incorporate video and testimonials?

3. General content review

Taking a fresh look at your content is really important. Perhaps your product line has changed, industry opinion and recommendations shifted or your business focus has moved.

  • Does your general page content reflect these changes?
  • Does your company history page contain your latest updates?
  • Remove least visited pages
  • Upsell on most visited pages

4. Prominent contact details

This is basic stuff, but check that your phone number is prominently visible on every page. It is also helpful to display a phone number that is unique to website enquiries so you can track the number of phone enquiries that have come from your website.

5. Testimonials

Testimonials are not overrated. Get them on your site now! Ensure they are true and valid and from your best clients. If your client has taken the time to write you a testimonial, respect their praise and reference them accordingly.

Adding a headshot or video will give your testimonials much more weight.

6. Image Review

The images you use on your site are critical to how your prospects and clients perceive your business.

  • Do your images need refreshing?
  • Could an overused stock photo be replaced with real photography of people in your business?
  • Stock photos always look like stock photos and detract from the believability of your site
  • Do product photos in your ecommerce store need refreshing and clear cutting to modernise your presence?

7. Product Pricing and eCommerce

I have lost count of the number of horribly out of date and average ecommerce sites I have seen online in the last month as I have been doing my Christmas shopping. Ecommerce software has come along way in the last 5 years.

Believe it or not there are now mature ecommerce tools that are actually easy to use! There is no excuse for having an average online store and wondering why nobody is buying from you. Review new software options and migrate and win more business.

8. SEO review

We have written many articles about the importance of having a strong Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. 2012 is a good time to start one if you have spent the last 12 months procrastinating about it. It takes several months for SEO to take effect so it is best to get moving now.

9. Start a blog and write articles

Google has recently updated its organic ranking algorithm to value original content. It will stop indexing your site if there is no new content to index. 2012 is the time to start writing, or finding someone who does. Be seen, be heard, and be read!

10. Position your business in the social sphere

Now, don’t be nervous, embrace the future and at least establish a business profile in one of the big Social sites – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. During coming year, build your followers, likers, circles or connections in a strategic approach so when you get to 2013 you will look back and say how easy it was to get started and find your business social voice. Make sure you connect your new blog to these channels as well. If you need a hand to connect all the dots, just talk to us.

11. Ensure your open source CMS is up-to-date

This is boring, but very important. If you use a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla! or Drupal then talk to your web developer to ensure you are using the latest version and if not, make the upgrade.

Why? The security of your website is extremely important and it is very common for older versions of these products to be easily hacked, potentially damaging your businesses reputation. The updates contain security patches to help prevent it happening.

12. Think mobile

The average number of visitors using mobile phones to browse the Internet is over 10%. Would you turn away 1 in 10 customers? 2012 is the year to rethink how you engage your site visitors on mobile devices.

Flash doesn’t work on mobile devices, so you’ll have to replace Flash elements with HTML 5 and JavaScript. There are still plenty of options for delivering creative and interactive sites without the use of Flash, so talk to your developer to discuss options. We recommend investigating your mobile delivery options based on your individual site statistics.

About the author

Jason Hawkins is a senior application strategist, information architect and director at KND. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience in taking online application ideas to reality across a broad range of industries.

KND are web and digital professionals with over 10 years in the business. We specialise in web, cloud and mobile apps, eMarketing and SEO strategy, servers, hosting and design. We work closely with our clients to achieve successful outcomes. Call us today (+61 7 3832 4077) or email (enquiries@knd.com.au) to discuss your next project.

image credit: www.freefoto.com

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