Your website is meant to be a strategic tool in your marketing toolbox. Some might argue that it’s one of the most important tools considering it’s available 24/7 to your audiences as a digital first impression. Like any tool, it needs to be properly cared for in order to function. It should be cleaned and shined up (so to speak). If your website is going to work round-the-clock promoting your business, regular check-ins and updates are paramount for its success.

When was the last time you sat down as a team and discussed the strategy of your website? Last week? A year ago? When it was built? If it’s been a while since goals and user journeys were top of mind, we’d encourage you to grab your stakeholders (maybe some snacks and beverages too) and get ready to make strategic plans for the future of your site.

5 Things to Consider for Your Website in the New Year

Keeping your website content updated is one thing, but preparing your website to keep up with industry trends and align with your business goals is another. We’ve rounded up five things to consider as your team takes a second look at this valuable marketing tool.

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1: What is the goal of your website?

This may seem like a pretty obvious place to start but it’s critical to begin any discussion about your website by establishing goals. To establish website goals, first consider what are the goals of your business? Is it to sell x amount of product? Get x% more interactions with your sales team? Reduce the amount of calls to your customer support?

Your website can have similar or identical goals as your business. Afterall, it’s really just a digital extension of your business. With clearly defined goals in hand, you’re now ready to tackle whatever updates might be needed.

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2: Is content up-to-date and necessary?

Now do you see why we had you start with goals? If you don’t have a strategic base already, taking a look at your content with a critical eye can be challenging. Hold your current website up to the light and identify anything that is not representing your business anymore or doesn’t align with your goals. Websites can sometimes fall into the trap of being a “catch-all” for information. Out-of-date content is easy to spot, but how do you know if it’s necessary? Analytics is a great place to start.

Take a look at your analytics dashboard for the last year and start to get an understanding of how users utilize your website. Here’s some metrics we recommend looking at to get you started:

  1. Top pages: Knowing what content users are frequenting can help you make decisions about what should stay and be optimized. Inversely, the pages with the least amount of traffic should be considered for the trash bin or combined with other relatable content.

  2. Time on page & number of pages per session: Your website might be getting a lot of traffic, but if users aren’t spending time soaking in information or traveling to deeper pages of the website, they might not be finding what they are seeking.

  3. Device: Since the rise of the smartphone, we’ve been seeing mobile sessions steadily increase. For most websites, it's likely that users are accessing your content on their phone. So that begs the question, is the mobile experience of your website as good as desktop? At Click Rain we always build websites with a mobile-first mentality to ensure users have a positive experience no matter how they access the site.

Armed with this data and more, you can now make decisions about your website content and identify areas of improvement. We’d encourage you to regularly audit your site’s content and keep a close eye on analytics regularly. If you’re not comfortable navigating your metrics or using your data in a way that helps make content decisions, we’re here to help.

3: Is there a clear user journey throughout the site?

User journeys are a critical part of your website. Like any journey, there’s a start, middle, and end. The content on your site should support a user at any point of the journey and encourage them until they’ve reached the finish line (or the action we’re wanting them to take). Sometimes, it’s easier to start and the end and work your way backwards to define these journeys. Let's break that down.

Maybe you have a goal of getting job applications through a form on your website (a.k.a the end of the user journey). What actions will a user need to take before they get to the form?

  1. They’ll likely land on your homepage, so be sure there is a clear and easy way to get to a page about your careers.
  2. From there, you’ll want to encourage them to work for you by displaying content about your benefits and what makes your workplace unique.
  3. Once a user has decided you’re a good fit, they’ll likely want to see the open positions. If you're not listing the availabilities, how will a user know if their skills are a fit?
  4. If a user finds a role make sure it’s easy for them to apply by encouraging them to fill out the application. This means you need to provide a simple way for applicants to get started.

We recommend a simplified online form that takes only minutes to fill out. This will ensure you aren't losing potential applicants to form fatigue. This is a strategy we implement on Click Rain's application form.

Thinking about those user journeys may also help you identify content gaps. Perhaps you don’t have any information about your open positions. If users don’t know there is something open, why would they apply?

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4: Does the website represent our brand?

The design of a website makes a big difference, especially as trends, best practices, and user expectations change. Development of a new website can be costly and time consuming, which is probably why we come across websites that look like they were built when George W. Bush was in office. We hate to say it, but we’re in the digital age and an ancient website won’t cut it.

Consider the time and effort you put into new promotional flyers, email campaigns, social media posts, and billboards. They’re fresh and up-to-date with your latest brand standards. If someone goes to your site after seeing marketing collateral, are they met with the same fresh experience?

There's never been a better time to consider an updated site design (we know a great agency) to make sure your overall marketing look and feel is consistent. Afterall, what's the point of spending thousands of dollars on media campaigns if traffic is being sent to an outdated website that is only going to cause disconnect and perhaps user frustration?

5: Are you able to track how your website is performing?

The best laid plans can fail if there’s no way to measure success. If you are not tracking user actions on your site, the time to start is now. Google Analytics announced that they will be sunsetting the Universal Analytics platform and replacing it with Google Analytics 4. This means there’s never been a better time to make sure your tracking is up to the task.

Tracking can sometimes feel overwhelming. We’ve been ahead of the game and have been working with our clients to ensure they are transitioned to GA4 before the switch happens July 1, 2023. If you haven’t made the switch, our team can help.

Start your website off on the right foot

If reading this article was a bit of an awakening, don’t fear because we’re here! Our team of content strategists, designers, developers, and marketing specialists can work with you to ensure your website is working as the strategic tool it should be. Contact us to get started. Coffee is on us.

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About the Author Colee Ernst // Senior Website Content Strategist

Colee brings a refined aptitude for analysis to the content department, which enables her to identify unique avenues for client websites and marketing campaigns.

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