Spring Time is Clean Time
Spring is the time for taking a breath of fresh air scented with rain and purple buds of new growth. Spring is for taking walks outdoors and knocking out that list of annual chores that comes with the change in season.
Spring is time for clearing clutter and sprucing up. Spring-cleaning has been traditionally reserved for the home and yard, but you can also apply it to your website and marketing. Take this time to assess what you’re doing in regards to your marketing, how you are doing it and what you’re getting out of it. Follow these six easy steps to ensure your marketing will provide what you and the people you serve require in the months ahead.
1. Clean Up and Remove Excess
At Home: If you haven’t been able to park the car in the garage for awhile, take a few hours to remove the three dining room chairs you bought for $10 at a yard sale, the broken shovel and last summer’s porch umbrella that was torn in a wind storm. If you can convince your spouse to let you heave the three sizes of bicycles that haven’t been ridden in half a generation, so much the better.
At Work: Clean Up Your Website, Improve Response Time. Is your website up to speed? How long do your website visitors wait for your site to load? Statistics show that people won’t wait more than 3 seconds before moving on, but in truth, I think it’s more like 2 seconds. Want to know how fast (or slow) your website pages load? Run a speed test using varvy.com.
2. Try a [Free] Graphics Compression Tool
One of the biggest website page-loading speed culprits is related to all the great graphics you have on your website. They may consume too much time to load. Depending on how often you add new graphic files to your site, you should occasionally compress your image files. This can be done using a variety of tools. One of my favorites is tinypng.com because it compresses both JPEG and PNG files. Others include Smush and EWWW. The results are not noticeable to your web visitors while having a dramatic effect on load times. Don’t forget to uninstall these plugins after you run them to compress your files.
3. Unused Plugins Slow Down Your Site
Another thing that often bogs down a website and slows response time is unused WordPress plugins. Just like throwing that stuff away at home, delete the unused plugins from your site.
4. Stay Up-to-Date
Finally, make sure your version of WordPress, the plugins you do use and your WordPress themes are up to date. This is not only a good practice from a security standpoint, it’s a way to ensure you are running efficiently, and that often translates to streamlining for speed. And please, always back up before updating.
Sowing, Planting and Reaping
At Home: Now that the furnace is (usually) off and you can open the windows without adding to your heating bill, people start thinking about which rooms to freshen up. Sometimes it’s amazing what a new coat of paint can do. At the same time, sowing seeds for the garden and putting plants into the warming earth will provide you with a bountiful crop in the fall.
At Work: Assume your customers are ready for a fresh outlook too. Your promotions may or may not be seasonal, but anticipating future needs is what positions you as a resource that prospects want to do business with in the future. Like the seeds you plant today for a harvest a few months from now, consider what your business will require before the summer is over:
New clients? How many?
The details cannot be overlooked. In planning as in farming we reap what we sow.
5. Organize and Update your Website
Take a fresh look at your site. Better yet, watch someone navigate your site for the first time. Has the important real estate of your website (the part ‘above the fold’) become confusing because it’s crowded and difficult to navigate?
- Does it flow easily?
- Does it naturally direct users where they want to go?
- What are the most visited pages of your website?
- Which navigation functions are never used?
- Can you eliminate or consolidate some?
Sometimes as businesses add products and services, new web pages don’t match the older ones and their sites take on a cobbled together Frankenstein look. Does your website have an integrated look & feel to it, or does it look like a set of disparate pages with nothing in common? If this is the case, consider an overhaul. Consistency is the key to quality.
Spend time planning and organizing your website. Simplify — one message per page. Each page should lead viewers to a logical conclusion about what to do next, whether it is to fill out a form, subscribe, download, purchase, etc. Think like a user when reviewing each page.
Just like that fresh coat of paint, a new color palette, updated graphics or a change in your theme gives viewers a whole new perspective.
“Oh the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!”
On Beyond Zebra Dr. Seuss (1955)
At Home: When you consider upgrades to your home, often it’s with the resale value in mind. How much more will this home be worth with this upgrade? How much of the investment will I recoup because someone else will find value in it? Would a new brick patio make your home more desirable when you put it on the market? Is it time to replace the aging shingles for a cleaner look?
At Work: How do you know these changes to your marketing are working? You measure the results. You measure what visitors do on your website and how long they stay, how many convert. Compare the change in activity to your old site. And if you didn’t measure anything last year, create new pages and begin measuring now, so you can compare next spring.
7. Bonus: Free Tool
Conduct a free website evaluation using this tool: www.webgrader.com.
What have you done to improve your website this Spring? Let us know in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
Want help upgrading your website? Contact Crest anytime.
Thanks – and Happy Spring!
At Crest, we help companies:
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists