A stale website could be holding you back from a lot of opportunities, such as landing new customers or providing a thought leadership resource to existing ones. It should evolve with the company’s growth and serve as a living, breathing extension of your brand. For websites built in a content management system (CMS), there are several budget-friendly steps you can take to give the site a refresh and a boost in performance without requiring the work of a web developer. With a basic understanding of your CMS and a little elbow grease, here are some frontend and backend changes that can provide a much needed update to your site.
Common sense, right? Yes, but strategy matters. There should be a rhyme and reason to your updates, with purpose behind each change. Establishing and adhering to a “look” for the photos on your site can make one of the easiest changes to your site one of the most impactful. Even if you are relying on stock photography to populate your site, be mindful that the style and aesthetic of every photo you choose fits within your established guidelines. In addition to keeping the site fresh, regularly checking and updating photos can ensure that any images of products or team personnel are always accurate and current.
Constantly updating a site can be a daunting task. Keep in mind, it’s not necessarily always about frequency, but instead how consistently the updates are being made. If your CMS allows carousel functionality, you can significantly enhance your homepage. These slideshows allow you to showcase your latest images and push priority content to your visitors.
To take content updates a step further, consider adding a blog or resource center. No matter what the section is called, this will create a dedicated space for regularly updated content, improving the user experience and site SEO. Developing a content calendar is a great way to keep a steady content stream that is varied and on schedule.
While the thought of updating the user experience (UX) design for your site may sound intimidating, the truth is that there are a number of smaller changes that can be considered to freshen up the site’s design while making it more intuitive for your visitors. Create callouts for additional content, displaying news or promotions. This visual element will result in a different look as well as user flow option to pages where added traffic is desired. Replace hyperlinks with buttons where possible to give the site a cleaner look. The call to action on each should be unique and descriptive, so there is no confusion for the user. Another critical consideration in modern web design is ensuring that the website’s layout is mobile friendly. Most CMS systems have an option to preview the site in a mobile format, so you can see what visitors are seeing on the mobile devices, phones and tablets that make up a majority of traffic for most sites.
Without a complete search engine optimization (SEO) overhaul, there are some basic behind-the-scenes changes that can make your site more searchable. At a bare minimum, include H1 and if applicable H2 headers for each webpage on your site. Don’t forget to weave in keywords that potential visitors will be searching for. Following the headers, create descriptions for your content. Each page should have a general overview of its offering. This information can be pulled into open graph fields, making social sharing more impactful. With this small metadata update, add tags to your images in the media library. Doing so will make your site accessible to more users and potentially offer an SEO boost.
There is a multitude of small changes you can make to your website that will have a big influence on its overall performance—including look and effectiveness. Updating the content and visual appeal is an important step, but inadequate if the site isn’t easily found via search. By committing to regular maintenance balancing frontend and backend updates, you can better position your site to attract your target audiences and successfully deliver your brand message.
Article originally appeared in Website Magazine.