If you have a website or know the tiniest thing about websites, then you know that a website is never truly “done.”
Design trends change, your personal taste changes, content needs to be updated, and even Google changes its rules as the internet evolves.
To make sure you are staying up on the latest trends and keeping your website safe and up to Google’s standards, see if your website shows any of these 10 signs. If it does, it’s in need of some TLC sooner rather than later…
➊ Mobile-Friendly/Responsive Web Design
If you haven’t heard by now, it’s pretty much crucial that your website is mobile friendly. This can be accomplished a few different ways, but the ideal method is to have a responsive website. In a nutshell, this means that you have complete control of what your website looks like on mobile devices because your designer is coding the site to respond to the different device sizes. With responsive design, you can code every little aspect of a site so that it appears exactly how you want it to appear on a mobile device vs. a desktop.
The other way you can make your website look good on mobile devices (and still be acceptable per Google) is to use a plugin like WP Touch if you have a WordPress website. There are also mobile site builders like Duda, which can be used no matter what type of site you have.
Again, the long-term, ideal solution is to have a responsive website so that you (or your designer) can have complete control of how your site looks and functions on various mobile devices. (I only design responsive websites, and you can learn more about my web design and development services here.)
➋ You Have No Way to Grab Your Visitors’ Contact Information Once They’re on Your Site
What happens when someone comes to your site, likes what they see and read, and then they never have a reason or way to come back unless they happen to randomly remember to go back to it? Sure, this CAN happen…if they have a very specific purpose for coming back to your site and if they can remember your URL. But if you’re trying to lure people in with your great content and smorgasbord of offerings, then it’s essential that you have an email opt-in form prominently placed on your site (preferably on every page). I talk about the importance of collecting email addresses on your website in this post.
➌ You Don’t Make it Easy for People to Engage with you on Social Media
If you want people to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter, then you’d better make it easy for them to do so. This includes placing social media icons in a prominent place on your site (and maybe even having them in a couple of places), and maybe also having a Facebook Like Box and/or Twitter Feed. Also, if you want people to share your content, please make sure you include social sharing buttons above or below any page or post you want them to share. I talk all about the importance of social sharing and following links in this post.
➍ Your Content Needs to be Updated
Have you changed your business location? Do you have any new staff? Have you gotten married or divorced and changed your name? Do you write blog posts to keep your site active and appealing to Google? Is your copyright date is outdated (which can show that you haven’t updated your site in a while)?
These are all important questions that have to do with whether or not you are updating your content as your business evolves. Updating content is not just good for SEO purposes, but it’s important for your business in general. It shows you care about your business and your website (if you’ve updated names, titles, biographies) and that you actually want people to find you (if you’ve updated your contact information). No matter what, you should WANT to keep your website updated in every way possible because it’s likely the very first impression people will have of your business.
➎ Your Software Needs to be Updated
I can’t speak for other Content Management Systems, but if you’re running a WordPress website, it’s highly recommended that you keep your plugins, theme and WordPress itself up-to-date. Failing to do so can cause major problems for you and your website.
First and foremost, you are opening yourself up to hackers. Hackers LOVE websites that haven’t been updated in a while. Who knows the specifics as to why, but all I can think of is that they probably think the site owner doesn’t care, so they decide to go hack the site and then give the site owner a very unpleasant surprise when the site is gone! This actually happened to someone I know. They were running a VERY old version of WordPress and hadn’t updated their plugins or theme in soooo long. Sure enough, their site was hacked. Now, that wasn’t the only reason, but I bet it was a big part of it.
➏ The Colors in your Logo and/or Website Need Some Love
There are an infinite amount color combinations out there in this world. But, that doesn’t mean that you should use them even if YOU think they look good. There are enough resources out there now to help ensure that you don’t fall victim to ugly-color-combo syndrome.
I was just introduced to Coolers.co where you can generate an endless number of beautiful colors schemes. Here are some other great resources for creating or finding appropriate color palettes:
Creative Bloq (lots of goodies in there!)
➐ Your Fonts are Funky
Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of fonts available? Some are free, some are reasonably priced, and some can even costs thousands of dollars. But, just like with color, just because there are tons of them available, that doesn’t mean we should actually use them. Or, at least they shouldn’t be used as main text on a website or printed piece.
I realize that a long time ago, Comic Sans was the only playful font out there. But, if I see you using Comic Sans on your website or printed piece, I WILL run…and so will others! Please don’t use that font. EVER! There are a few other recognizable fonts that were once popular but are now just stale, overused, and down-right unnecessary – like Papyrus and Curlz (sorry – font snob alert!).
➑ Your Graphics are Cheesy and/or Fuzzy
I wrote about the importance of having crystal clear graphics on your website in this post, but it’s also important that your graphics aren’t cheesy. I know that sometimes, you just need to use stock photography. But if you must, please use quality images that tone down the cheese-factor as much as possible. Here’s a link to make you giggle if you want to see some funny examples of bad stock photography.
Whenever possible, hire a photographer to capture the true essence of your business and the people who live and breathe it every day.
➒ Your Links aren’t Working
If you are linking to other websites in your main content and/or blog posts, it’s a REALLY good idea to make sure all those links are working. If you have a WordPress website, you can install a handy little plugin called Broken Link Checker, which monitors your website and looks for broken links. It will even email you to let you know which links are broken and need your attention. The last thing you want to happen on your site is for someone to click on something and get to an error page. So make sure you take some time to check all of your links and, of course, install this plugin.
➓ Your Site is Vulnerable to Hackers
If there’s any one of these 10 signs that you should take note of, it’s this one! Here are some questions to ask yourself if you want to determine if your site is indeed vulnerable to hackers and viruses:
→ Do you have a backup plugin installed that is running automatically and sending backups to an offsite location (in case something DOES happen to your site)?
→ Are you updating WordPress, your WordPress theme and your plugins regularly?
→ Do you have a strong username (and it better not be “admin” – PLEASE) and password?
→ Do you have a reputable, secure web host?
→ Do you have a plugin installed that limits login attempts (such as Login Lockdown)?
If you answered YES to all of these, you’re good to go. You can’t guarantee that your site is completely hacker-proof, because those fools have way too much time on their hands and would just love to find a way into any site they can. But, you’ve done all that you can to protect your site. It’s up to us to put up the burglar bars, set the alarm and get the right insurance. Your website should be just as important as your home and your belongings, so why not treat it with just as much care and concern.
If you answered NO to any of those questions, I’m here to help! Let me know in the comments below if I may be of assistance or contact me here.
So, how does your website stack up against these signs? Does it need a little TLC? Let me know below.