The New Year (heck the new decade!) is an excellent time to revisit those marketing and branding efforts that slipped through the cracks in previous months because of time, budget, or other priorities. One such effort collecting dust on the to-do lists of many organizations: a website redesign.
Don’t let your website sit stagnant for another year. Use the New Year as a launching point to create a plan and a deadline for updating your site. Like so many things in life and business, the hardest part is simply getting started.
To help guide you on your quest—and give you a few things to think about as you map out your new and improved website—here’s a checklist to help make your site the best it can possibly be.
Checklist: 9 Ways to Make Your Website More Modern & Effective in 2020
If you’re thinking about updating your business’s website in the coming year, here are 10 tips to make your site more modern and effective:
1. Make It More Visual
Today’s websites have moved away from a text-heavy look to a much more visual one. Take a look around at some newer sites and you’ll find big vibrant images or video occupying a significant amount of page landscape. Find a way to clear, crisp and high-impact images for your site that (and this is important) present the key message of the page in a way that grasps attention. Try to shy away from stock images if possible, instead replace them with images of you, your team, or inside your business.
2. Responsiveness is Critical
With the majority of traffic coming from mobile devices today, there’s no reason that EVERY website shouldn’t be responsive (meaning that it adjusts to fit the size of the screen the user is viewing it on). Add on top of that the fact that Google factors responsiveness into its search ranking (amongst a few other key factors), and this is an absolute website must.
3. Integrate Video
Another visual component you should consider adding to your site is the use of video. Hiring a local videographer to come in and do short interviews, create b-roll (candid footage or appears candid of you in action at work) is an inexpensive way to get loads of content for use on all of your marketing channels. You’ll want to be sure that your videos are edited well. For example: On your About page, maybe instead of talking about how beneficial your company is you can include a video that shows it or you can create a video from the consumer’s point of view, a complete walk through is always a great way to add a nice personal touch.
4. Reduce Your Content
Going along with the more visual style of today’s Web is a reduction in the amount of text that fills up the page. Yes, you still want content that tells your story and why what you do is important and beneficial to visitors—you just want to do it in fewer words. That means being more clear and concise, and choosing impact verbs over extra adjectives. You may be surprised just how much better your content reads when you narrow it down to the essentials.
5. White Space Usage
As any good designer will tell you, white space is a huge visual asset—making web pages infinitely more digestible and less a jumbled mess that can be distracting. While your initial instinct may be to cram ALL.THE.THINGS into every page of your website, consider keeping a good amount of white space so the images and content have room to breath. Your visitors brains will thank you for it.
6. Make Your Navigation Easy
Can a person find any page they would reasonably be looking for on your website in five seconds or less? If not, then you may need to make your navigation simpler. The first thing you want to do is keep it from being overloaded. And you’ll also want to make sure you have clear labels that let people know exactly what’s in each section.
7. Metadata is a MUST
Metadata is content about your website that sits behind the scenes for search engines, social media, and other tools to read. The reason this is so valuable is because it can help your site get more clicks and visits from people interested in what you’re doing or offering. You’ll want to make sure to add meta titles and descriptions for each and every page of your website. *If you have a WordPress site, we highly recommend the plugin SEO by Yoast, which makes adding metadata a breeze.
8. Reinvent Your Blog
Have you been meaning to add a blog to your site for years, but, you know…? Or has your blog simply fallen by the wayside in recent months? A website update is a great time to rethink your blog. Specifically, think about how you can format your blog so it will be easy to write and grab people’s interest. Maybe it’s talking about a different news story each week, or exploring a single stat, or sharing personal stories about the ways your nonprofit is making a difference.
9. Test, Adjust, Repeat
The great thing about the Web is changes can be made pretty quickly. Make sure to get some people outside of your organization—preferably in your target audience—to test drive your site. They can provide feedback and let you know what things they like and what they’d like to see..or not see. Don’t change your site right away at the recommendation of one person, however, if two people share the same concern, it might be time to remove from your site right away. The more often you test you your site, the better you will be at catching things, and keeping it up to date!
Good luck updating your website. If you need some help, let us know!