Things advance so quickly online, it’s easy for a website to become outdated even if it’s just a few years old. From time-to-time websites need a makeover to make them look and act more modern. But if you’ve never overhauled a website before it can be difficult to know where to start.
Follow these six steps to take your website from archaic to cutting-edge.
Step 1. Find an Advanced Hosting Service
Start at the foundation of your website – hosting. Your hosting service does much more than keep your website online for the world to see. It can influence the site performance, page load speeds and downtime. The best web hosting companies offer 24/7 support because crashes and hacks can happen at any time of day. They’ll also provide solutions for common problems and a number of hosting options, including WordPress support.
Step 2. Do an SEO Audit
Once you have your hosting service squared away, it’s time to turn to your search engine optimization (SEO). Many website owners don’t realize there are a number of technical aspects that can affect search engine rankings. A makeover is the perfect time to conduct an SEO audit that looks at the frontend and backend of your website.
A professional SEO audit can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your current site. It provides a blueprint moving forward so you can make the necessary fixes and improve your search visibility while avoiding SEO mistakes.
Step 3. Conduct UX Testing
User experience (UX) testing gives you a better understanding of how users interact with your site. It can provide invaluable information in regards to friction points that decrease the likelihood of making a conversion or keeping users on your site.
After you’ve performed UX testing on your current site you’ll have an idea of the functionality users are looking for and how to make navigation easier. You’ll know what people like and don’t like so you can keep what works and focus on making updates where needed.
The importance of functionality can’t be stressed enough. You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if it’s difficult to use you won’t get the results you want. Today, you have to take a few additional steps to ensure your website works on numerous platforms including desktop computers, tablets and smart phones.
Step 4. Update the Design Aesthetics
Nothing ages a website quicker than an outdated design. We’ve all seen the websites that were obviously created in the 1990s and never updated. They’re interesting to look at, but no user would ever consider such an out-of-date website to be an authority.
Step 5. Clean Up the Content
Once you have your design and navigation in place you can turn your attention to the website content. The words on each page are extremely important for two reasons. First off, the words communicate value to the users. Without them, it would be difficult to relay information and hook users.
Content is also one of Google’s top ranking factors. This has been the case basically since Google launched its first algorithm. Resist the urge to keyword stuff or cloak spammy content. Instead, craft high-quality content that’s to the point, relevant to user intent and provides value. Your users will like it better, which often translates into higher conversions and SEO rankings.
Step 6. Invest in the Latest Security
Websites are at a greater risk of cyber attacks than any other time in Internet history. Google reported that in 2014 there was an 180% increase in the number of websites attacked compared to the year before. The trend has continued and cyber attacks against small businesses is now one of the biggest threats.
Businesses that aren’t prepared can suffer horrible consequences, including having their website held for ransom. Hackers will either lock the website owner out or encrypt documents and demand a chunk of cash in exchange for restoring order.
The one silver lining is that most hackers use existing bugs and viruses to attack a website. Many of the current anti-virus products are designed to protect against known bugs and hacking methods. They can also give you a heads up so issues can be handled as quickly as possible.