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Website updates

Website updates you can work on during quiet times

Website updates are needed constantly to keep your website running smoothly and full of new, relevant content. Your business may be experiencing fewer search results and fewer hits. And you may not be able to trade at all during Covid-19 times, bringing website traffic to a complete standstill. South Africa has yet to see what will happen in the future days, weeks and months. We do not know how our economy and businesses will fare in the turbulence. What we do know is that we need to adapt and prepare for what lies ahead, whatever it may look like. Now is the time to get your website updated and SEO optimised. Ensure it is ready to help your potential customers find and choose your business.

Website updates you can work on during quiet times

(Just a tip, the most important update is the very last one)

Here are a few website updates you can work on during quiet times:

1. WordPress update

Your website may not be on WordPress (if not read here to find out why we recommend WordPress), but if your website is built on a content management system (CMS) then it’s a good idea to check that it is updated to the most recent version. Updating the backbone of your website will ensure that you not only have the newest features and bug fixes but also, and more importantly, ensures your website is secure. Security is the key reason to update your website in this way as older versions often contain vulnerabilities, which you would not want to risk. Before you update your website CMS, ensure that you have backed up your website to cover you should anything go wrong in the update process! Once the update is complete, you can run through your website and check that the links are correct and that any plugins or special functionalites you have are working properly.

2. Theme update

As with updating your website CMS, updating your theme is also recommended for security reasons. Theme updates may bring major changes to your website so remember to backup before you update and check all your pages once the update is done.

3. Plugin updates

The next website update item on your list should be your plugins. Plugins are notorious for bringing with them security issues and compatibility issues. Now that you have a little bit of time you can sort out your installed plugins. Remove any plugins which you are not using or you no longer need. Update any plugins which have newer versions available and check they are working correctly especially since you now have the latest version of WordPress and your website theme. Some plugins require annual subscriptions so you can also ensure that your subscriptions are up to date should you still require the subscription.

4. About page updates

About pages are so often written for when your website is first launched and then forgotten. Read through the content and see if there are any changes that need to be made. Perhaps there have been some new developments which have taken place since, which are worth mentioning and writing about. If there is a reference to any numbers, check these are still correct. Examples include the number of years the company has been running, the number of employees or the number of stores you have.

5. Image updates

Updating your images gives your website a new fresh look, even if your content is exactly the same. Images of staff, vehicles, products, buildings and services often become outdated quite quickly and now is a good time to either change images or make yourself a note to get new images taken as soon as you are able to. Stock imagery is another area you can look at updating on your website. People respond better to original, realistic images. You may have some images of your offices or products that you have collected over the years which you could easily replace your outdated stock images with. If not, spend some time searching image libraries for new images you might want to use. We suggest Shutterstock, but there are many free options available too.

6. Home page update

Look critically at your home page. See if there is anything you could add or remove to improve user experience on the page and ensure your visitors find exactly what they are looking for. Your Google Analytics data will help you make informed decisions about how your homepage is performing. Ensure that the primary goal of the homepage is achieved and explore new ways to improve your results.

7. Contact details updates

Check all details are correct and supply any alternative contact information should you need to give options while your physical office is closed. Look critically at your contact form if you have one and check that all fields are still relevant. Remove any details which are not necessary as this will improve your user experience. Check that the completed form is sent to the correct email addresses and that the process for responding to queries is in place.

8. Service offering updates

Update your service offering/s with SEO in mind. Check your chosen key phrases are correct and tailor your content accordingly.

9. New blog articles

new content for your website during quiet times will help you create a bank of content to post throughout the rest of the year. You can schedule your posts to publish automatically on predetermined dates for the next few months. This will keep your website updated even when you don’t have time to even think about creating content.

10. Social media profile updates

Ok, these are not technically website updates, but they do count towards SEO so they are still important. Social media profiles (Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) ask you to fill in certain “about” information and profile details when you create your business page. When last did you update this? Check your write up and contact information is still correct and in line with your digital marketing strategy.

11. Google My Business listing

Another SEO-related website update must-have. Check your listing and make any updates required, especially around your contact information and hours of operation during Covid-19 times.

12. SEO audit and updates according to your results

This is one of the most important website updates we suggest you make. So why is it right at the end of the list you ask? The website updates you have made up to this point will all affect your audit results. By working through this list of updates, you would have added new content to your site so you want to do your audit with all these changes included. By working through the pages on your website, you will also have a good idea of what your content says and this will help you work on a keyword strategy moving forward. Use your audit to make any SEO changes that come up like arranging your heading tags, updating meta descriptions and adding alt tags to your images.

If the term “audit” gives you bad vibes, chill, we wrote a short explanation in SEO audit basics – what it is and why it is important, which should put you at ease.

Quiet times allow you to focus on website updates you may have neglected in the normal rush of life or that you have been putting off till you have more time. Covid-19 times is an ideal opportunity to get your website updates done and ready for when life returns to some form of new normal. Working through this list will really give you a head start. We would love to have a digital chat with you if you would like help with any of these updates.

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Hayley is Flicker Leap's Creative Director and heads up the Creative team.

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