Being the first month of the year, many offices and stores would have now reopened fully and day to day business is taking place as usual. The first quarter of the year is always the busiest for many businesses, due to sales in the new year, end of year accounts, planning the business for the whole year, and forecasting. All of this usually happens in the first quarter of the year.
For many businesses, if everything is done well and correct in the beginning months, the year sails by smoothly. The work that’s done at the beginning of the year is what puts them on track, giving them a focus and direction on which way the business is going.
As part of this year’s planning, many would also be looking into the changes needed to be done on their websites and also where they are looking to take their online business this year. From redesigning the site, to enhancing the products, to marketing online. you can plan all of this now. This will give you plenty of time to arrange your tasks and to get the work carried out.
I have come up with few quick points to help you in considering what changes to plan for this year.
1. Visual Appeal
The first thing you need to look at is the overall appeal and the layout of your site, as this is what your customers see when they first land on your home page. If this is not appealing, they are going to bounce away immediately.
It’s not a luck game when visitors stay on a site. The website needs to make them stay, by putting together good presentation, offering quality products, and making known the brand of your business.
Your customers will stay if they see value on your site. When Google launched site preview in its search results late last year, this forced many serious website owners to re-evaluate their websites’ overall appeal and design.
As part of this years’ site changes, have another look at your websites’ color scheme. More and more websites are using simple white color backgrounds, and they are proving to be a success. If your home page looks too busy with colors and graphics everywhere, perhaps this is what is distracting your clients. It may look good to the eye, but the site is not really doing what it should be doing, which is converting sales or generating leads. Pay important attention to the color scheme as part of your websites’ planning this year.
Your website navigation is probably the most important part aspect, as without it, your visitors will be stuck. When a site has poor or no navigation, it feels like the visitor is stuck in a room without any windows and doors – no way to get out and explore. Good navigation will guide your visitors to relevant pages on your website, and if you can get the navigation of your site right from day one, you can more or less predict the pages that the visitors will view next. The navigation doesn’t just mean the tabs at the top. It is the links in your content and images as well, which will path the way to other relevant pages of your website.
Another aspect to consider is the images that you have used. Over the year the images may have become outdated, or may no longer be relevant to the service you are providing. To kick start this year with a fresh look, change the images that you are using on your website.
Consider taking new images of your office, services, or the main banners of your site. All this contributes toward a new look, and your visitors will notice these small changes. If you have a portfolio of your work (designers, builders, contractors…etc) the beginning of the year is a good time to update your site portfolio.
If you do not have a CMS system on your site, this is a good investment at the beginning of the year, as it will allow you to manage the contents of your website at your own comfort. That means you don’t need to wait around for your developer to update the text and changes. Having a CMS system can also help in setting up a blog on your site and managing the news and events section of your site, as it is much easier to manage these contents in house.
If you have CMS system on your site, ensure it is upgraded to the latest various, so that there are no security leaks.Iif you’re not happy with the platform, consider upgrading to something that you’re more comfortable with and is easier for you to manage.
One of the points to consider for your website this year should be marketing. How are you going to promote your site this year differently than last year? Having a site is fantastic, but if no one knows about it, there’s not much use. Marketing plays a big part of having a website. This year, you can start by carrying out SEO on your site if you haven’t yet started, setting up profiles on networking websites and being proactive on them, and even considering setting up a blog to promote your site and services.
Having a clear picture at this time of the year of what you want your website to do will give you plenty of time to prepare and get your site to a level that is not just accepted by web users but will also benefit your business.