When it comes to any aspect of a small to medium-sized business, there is no such thing as setting up shop and walking away. As well as keeping day-to-day operations flowing smoothly, you also need to look for opportunities for better service, better engagement and a broader reach. The same goes for your online marketing campaigns, in particular your website.
Many business owners think that once a website is up and running it’s okay to leave it to tick away in the background. Running regular audits on your website is essential to make sure it’s achieving great results, and it gives you an opportunity to correct small errors as they crop up, rather than trying to untangle an unsightly mess further down the line.
That’s why these early warning signs are ones you need to look out for and correct early, to avoid losing credibility and failing to convert quality leads.
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- Paid Media – pour fuel on the fire with paid ads that produce a steady stream of leads for your business.
Do you really need to audit your website?
If you audit your web pages on a regular basis and address any issues you find quickly, you won’t need to do a full audit too frequently, but you should aim to complete a full audit every 12 months.
For early warning signs of trouble online, you’ll want to keep an eye on your website performance overall. If your traffic starts to dip then that’s a good indication that your website needs a revamp in one, or maybe even all of the following key areas:
- Mobile optimisation
- Loading times
- Calls to action
- Website design
- Content quality
- Media variety
- Digital strategy
The internet is rapidly evolving, with so many new sites arriving on the world wide web every day, search algorithms have had to become more complex to deliver the most current, reliable and valuable information to internet users.
With so much information to choose from you need to work hard to stand out from the crowd, keep up with user search habits and play search engine algorithms to your strengths. If you aren’t achieving these key elements with your website, it’s time to get serious about your digital marketing strategy.
To help you determine if a website redesign is necessary to get you out of an online marketing rut, here are the crucial things to audit to pick up on early warning signs your website is not performing to standard…
8 warning signs you need a website audit
1) Mobile Optimisation
People search on the move, which means websites structured for desktops are far too limited to keep up. Optimising your site for mobile and tablet searching is critical. There are lots of formatting elements to take into account including fit to screen resizing and rotating, scrolling, menus, action button locations and font size, just to name a few.
As well as searching while out and about; driving, shopping and lunching, people are preferring to search by mobile even from home, finding it much easier to access the mobile in their pocket to quickly browse or research while watching TV, cooking dinner or awake in bed.
In fact, studies in 2015 showed that people spend an average of 4.3 hours a day searching online using mobile phones, compared to 2.8 hours a day of searches using desktops. Obviously, those numbers for mobile will have increased in 2021, which means mobile internet use needs to be backed 100% by your website and not thrown in as a last-minute afterthought.
It’s not just the size of the device and screen that needs to be taken into account either. With touch screens, your users have more opportunities for great engagement so you want to make sure this is being used to the absolute maximum. Another advanced technical factor to take into account with mobile capabilities is voice search. Many people use their commute time to browse and need hands free searches that Siri or home-smart devices like Alexa can handle.
How do I make my website mobile friendly?
You can use free online tools to test and evaluate your website’s performance on mobile devices. From there you will have a report to submit to your developer and ask for quotes and fixes.
Some things you’ll want to be sure you have right away are super fast loading times, easy navigation, quality content and the ability to skim read. Remember, people are searching spontaneously, usually while distracted or preparing to do something else, they need agile responses and the ability to satisfy their search quickly.
Even if you already have a mobile-friendly website, it’s still good practice to audit it through a free tool to make sure the ease of use is at the highest capacity. Users expect mobile information perfection, so you need to be sure you meet that as closely as possible to get the clicks on the go.
As well as online tools, get feedback from users as well, particularly people who haven’t ever seen your site before. Ask them to browse on their phone and tablet and get their take on what they like, what they don’t like and improve your experience by catering to real-life needs.
2) Loading Times
Speed is of the essence; so much so that Google even takes the loading time and interaction time of your website into consideration as part of the search engine ranking algorithms.
On top of wanting to rank well with Google, you need to be fast so people stick around. If your loading time is too slow users will dip into another link and ditch you, leading to an increased probability of getting hit for a high bounce rate.
People are impatient and expect your page to load instantly, no matter where they are or what browser they are using.
You’ll also need to factor in that, with so many people searching on the move, they might not have reliable, strong internet connections at their fingertips, so play this one extremely safe and get your page loading times as fast as technically possible.
How do I improve my website loading time?
You can use the Google Site Speed Test to tell you how well you are currently performing.
A page that loads in a satisfying time (for both users and Google algorithms) is three seconds or less. That’s all you have. Take the speed test and see if you make the mark. If your loading times are showing at four seconds or more, it’s time to revamp your website and optimise everything you can for speed.
3) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
In order for people to find you, you’ll need to show up in a search list, and to be seen, that means ranking in the top ten. Paid ads and direct marketing are only one aspect of generating new business, organic leads are going to be your best friend in business. Not only are they free, but they are connecting you with potential customers who actually want what you have and are actively searching your business type out that puts them in the hot seat for conversions.
As well as being highly effective for high-quality lead generation, getting amazing rankings in a search return improves your credibility within your industry and allows more traffic, bigger brand awareness and more potential partnerships with other companies for things like advertising revenue and better backlinks.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a way of aligning your website in multiple areas to meet the requirements of search engine algorithms so they recognise your site as reliable, valuable and relevant to a keyword search. By completing this work consistently, in as many areas as possible, your rankings will improve and you can add multiple keywords to your content, to get a net of hits across the web.
How do I optimise my website for SEO?
There is an insane number of ways you can optimise your website for SEO. Before you get going though the most important thing to start with is using the right keywords. You need to research what keywords your target audience is using. Look for key phrases and make them as specific as possible to help increase relevance, like including the neighbourhood or city where you can provide services.
For best results, you’d want to have someone monitoring your rankings and checking your content to ensure you are getting the most out of SEO strategies.
We have a number of articles dedicated to SEO improvements, including The 2021 On-Page SEO Checklist. Click to get more info on enhancing these website features.
4) Attractive Call to Action
Some people want to spend a lot of time reading and browsing, others just want to move ahead and complete the sale. You need to cater to both these audiences by providing clear and easy pathways for them to take that satisfies their purchase preferences.
Webpages that offer clear and easy to find Call To Action buttons are better placed for high engagement and high conversion rates as the user is able to advance quickly and accurately down the defined path to their chosen goal.
As well as having user-friendly calls to action, you also want to be sure users can navigate themselves around if they choose with easy to use menus, clear headings and dedicated page information.
How do you ensure a website is easy to navigate?
Knowing your target audience, their problems and the solutions you can provide to help them is key to guiding a prospect through your website and to your valuable calls to action. This is not a hit and miss exercise, you need to have clearly designed call to action buttons that gives your target market exactly what they need, when they need it.
Placing effective call to action buttons will require research, thought and planning on your part.
Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, you can provide multiple (yet well defined) pathways for your user to choose from.
- Ready to buy now = actions to move forward rapidly: add to cart, subscribe, download or book a session
- Needing more proof = actions to take them deeper into the pages for about us, testimonials, case studies and related articles
- Self-navigation = placement of additional back buttons and menu options either through side widgets or at the bottom of the page
It’s absolutely okay to place call to action buttons multiple times through your content. Those ready to take action now can have suggestions to cut ahead at multiple points, while those wanting to read more will be ready for action at the end.
Your aim is to help them find what they need quickly and get the result they want easily. Be sure to keep your potential customers in mind and design the outcomes they want and need. Being helpful here is far more powerful than selling.
5) Website design
Quality website design looks great, is easy to navigate and tells your audience you take your business seriously. The look, feel and handling of a website can date pretty quickly so you need to make sure you keep up with small changes, updates to plugins and relevant images as you grow so that you are not suddenly faced with a complete overall due to lagging conversions.
While there are thousands of templates to choose from with do-it-yourself web design, these can feel cheap and clunky and are really better suited for hobbyists and side hustles.
If you are serious about your business you need a serious online presence that stands out as professional, trustworthy and dependable.
You want to have the flexibility to add and change content when you need to, so be sure to discuss your ability to have content control after your initial web design or redesign with your developer.
Aside from this, it’s essential to have an experienced WordPress developer in Singapore design and structure your website. Not only will it look and feel far better than a do-it-yourself website template, it will also mean your site is responsive, enjoyable for users to navigate and will have fewer bugs.
Bugs can be as simple as form fields not aligning, or as costly as failing to capture contact form submissions, enquiry forms not sending, or your contact details not being visible.
Website design is as much about the feel of a website as it is about the visual appeal. When you work with a web design agency in Singapore to upgrade or redesign your business website, be sure to talk about compatibility with devices and smoothing out any existing bugs or errors.
First impressions really do matter. Be sure to invest in quality website design that matches the tone of your company perfectly and emphasises what you have to offer in the best way possible.
That being said, the right WordPress developer will create the site you ask for, so expect to have a big say in the design and have them cater to your needs and requests. They may know the technical site inside and out, however, you are the expert in your audience and your business.
If there are multiple parties involved in your business venture, take the time to get on the same page for your website design look and feel before you go to a website designer so you are able to give clear and unified instructions for the end result.
How can I make my website look better?
Use genuine images and videos on your parent pages and make sure your images are optimised for web use. Don’t go with stock images on your main pages, although they are great to use in your regular content, like blogs, as long as you are careful with which ones you choose. For your main pages; your home page, about page, testimonials and case studies, showcase your business, your work and your people.
Choose colour themes that reflect your business, and use fonts and graphics that make reading as easy as possible.
Be consistent with your font, the type of media you display and your colours. When you find the perfect call to action button for your primary actions, use it every time. People want to be able to expect what’s coming, there’s no need to surprise or entertain them, just give them what they want. Modern, clean and intuitive. That’s what you are aiming for to build trust and credibility.
Less is definitely more when it comes to your website design. Make sure every selection you make has a useful function and doesn’t distract from the message or get in the way of easy navigation. The more stuffing you use (fonts, graphics, photos) the harder it’s going to be to meet those fast load requirements so strip it back to the bare minimum and always look for easy to read over creative and unique….yes, every time.
If people are confused, have to work too hard or feel it’s substandard, they will leave. No matter how great your service or how amazing your offering is, they won’t hang around to get to know you.
6) High-Quality Content
Content is usually the last thing to be written during the website design phase, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the least important. It comes in last because it’s so flexible. Out of all your website elements the content is the easiest to modify, add on and upgrade.
In terms of attracting new prospects, maintaining interest online and converting leads, your content is powerful so it’s essential you get it right.
A picture tells a thousand words but if you provide 1000 amazing words along with a picture, you’ve nailed a winning combination.
How can I improve my website content?
You want to go over your website content regularly to fine-tune and update what’s on the pages, this will keep the feel of your website modern and smooth.
It’s also good to revisit and make sure the content is relevant to your current offering and that it still conveys what you want it to. The number one thing to get right is clarity.
Above all else make sure what you are saying and the tone you are using is accurate and leaves no room for misinterpretation.
To show value to your customers, focus and spend time addressing their pain points and demonstrate how you can and will provide solutions to make it better.
If you don’t want to talk about yourself, then talk about the business, and talk about your business “Why”. What motivated you to get started and build your company? Chances are this will be the story that solves a problem for your target customers and builds a rewarding relationship.
If you are using effortless Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, it will be a cinch for you to fine-tune and edit your content to perfection yourself.
If you don’t currently have the ability to add content yourself, it’s time to negotiate a change. Constantly asking your website design company to add content on your behalf will slow down the process and cost money. That means you are probably not going to be as active about uploading new content and posting fresh articles, which can hurt your credibility as well as your SEO as Google favours websites that post new content regularly.
Look to add value with your content. It’s about your target audience and meeting their needs. When you do that by providing valuable and useful information to them using your expertise, you build trust, show your authority in your field and open the door to having them approach you for help in getting to their goals.
Keep in mind that over time what you offer will change, your business will grow and develop, meaning you’ll need to write up your target audience descriptions more than once to stay in touch with their needs and the best language, media and platforms to engage with them.
7) Engagement through media variety
Engagement is the number one thing business owners are looking to achieve through their website design and operations. When it comes to inbound marketing strategies nothing works better than video, well, at least high-quality video.
Video content is a great way to mix up what you offer and provide an increased level of engagement to your users. As well as that video content can be re-posted to additional sites like YouTube and Facebook for greater brand awareness, leading more people back to your website.
Rather than just posting text, break up your content offering with a variety of media including photos, illustrations, graphics, animations, video and music. You will engage with more people and help deliver your message in more meaningful, and personal ways.
What are the benefits of video content?
Using video content assists with delivering:
- A clearer understanding of the product or service
- Easy to follow instructions
- A person and face to the business name
- Longer browsing time per user
- Increased sales
- Reduced support queries
- Increased website traffic
- Product education and awareness
- Higher conversion rates
- More frequent downloads and subscriptions
- Content that users actually want to see and enjoy watching
How do I create video content for my business?
It’s very easy to create and post your own videos and conduct your own live streams for your business site. There are few things to keep in mind though to make sure what you are producing is high quality and engaging.
- Invest in some basic equipment – at the very least you’ll need an external microphone, quality lighting and a quality stand. This will ensure you have a steady image and great audio and you’ll be looking your best too.
- Plan what you want to say in advance – you don’t need a blow by blow script or even cue cards, just outline the points you want to make so you can be sure you deliver a relevant and tidy message.
- Set your phone up to record portrait (up and down) – Be sure to hold the camera in portrait only, landscape doesn’t work, especially on iPhones.
- Get personal – Make this about you and what your business means to you. Introduce yourself and be real. You will increase conversations and improve your business relationships.
- Don’t stop recording if you mess up – if you stop and record again every time you mess up you’ll waste hours and hours on what should be a quick and easy post. Be okay with mistakes, correct yourself on the spot and keep going. You’re only human after all.
Videos provide information to users quickly that is easy to take in and remember. It also comes across as more honest and personal.
Be sure to make the content, tone and appearance of your videos align with your business type and offering. Your video should be a relevant match to your business and what you offer to your clients, partners or customers.
8) Digital strategy
Consistency is absolutely key when it comes to building trust and establishing your brand online. So many websites come and go in the blink of an eye. You need to prove that you can put in the work, time and time again, for the long haul.
To get that to work you need a digital strategy that works to your budget and will connect most strongly to your target audience.
Digital strategy includes the length of your content, themes, frequency and time and days you post to your website as well as other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.
Posting when you have content or when an event occurs is not solid enough. You need to have a fixed plan in place and do the work to meet it. Then you can double down when events take place or new products are launched.
What does a digital strategy consist of?
A digital strategy can be set out however you like, a lot of this will depend on your time (and/or) budget, depending on if you create and post your content yourself or have it done for you.
The most important thing is that you are consistent. Think about what you can post to what platforms, pick the best times to post on social media, and come up with a plan you can stick to consistently, no matter what.
The second thing I’d recommend here is branching out over as many platforms as possible.
Different platforms will come with different timing recommendations, as an easier rule: big content pieces that are high value with lots of information, like webinars, podcasts, newsletters, videos and blogs can be posted less frequently, so once a week, even out to once a month. Ideally one of each rotating every week through the month would be great.
For little snippets of content, so; Facebook posts, Tweets, Insta posts and the like, you’d want to be posting every day, even multiple times in a day, keeping in mind relevance: do you have something to offer? As little as three times a week would be the minimum.
Your digital strategy will encompass your values, vision and goals of your business as you look for content, themes and relevance. You’ll also be searching for opportunities and business-related events and activities for high engagement and the creation of networks and community groups.
What should I post on social media for my business?
Write a list of all the resources you have to offer, what is important to your business and what you can create to decide what platforms you can utilise and how often you can commit to posting:
- New products
- Case studies
- Behind the scenes
- Book pages
- Educational content
- Helpful tips
- Quizzes and surveys
- Special offers
Publishing high-quality articles, including regular blogs, encourages sharing and increases your brand awareness, so you’ll gain more website traffic and attract high quality leads to your site. Remember, multimedia is key for increased engagements so find ways to distribute your messages in different ways.
Why is it important to drive traffic to your website?
If you are serious about growing your business then you are going to want to drive as much traffic as possible to your website, both through organic searches through investing in SEO strategies as well as through direct aggressive marketing campaigns like Facebook ads.
What we notice is that businesses who ignore the warning signs and fail to fix small issues end up avoiding using their website altogether. They become embarrassed to send people to their website because the look and feel or usability is so dated, it reflects poorly on their brand.
When you know the warning signs and know how to fix them you make sure your website offering is relevant and modern for years to come. Ignore them and your site will be completely run down in three years to the point where you will probably need to start from scratch, which means building again, which is costly, time-consuming and usually comes with huge business headaches.
If this is the situation you are in then make sure the WordPress development team you hire is the best at what they do so you have a site you are proud of and invested in maintaining and promoting.
Be on the lookout for issues on your website performance, especially when it comes to checking your site speed, and get proactive about making adjustments the moment an early warning flag goes up.
There are plenty of great online tools you can use for free that will give you detailed reports on your current situation so you can know immediately what improvements are needed, even before you see a slump in your conversions.
As well as tools to run yourself, including speed analysis programs, it’s a great investment to use WordPress developers who offer ongoing website support and focus on data-driven improvements. That way you can allow them to take care of system, software and platform updates that occur frequently and can sometimes cause havoc by turning off functions, deleting links and resetting custom forms back to basic.
Having someone oversee these frequent updates as well as keep an eye on your website speed and functionality can really help to keep your website moving with the times for a modern, high functioning site that will strengthen your brand and engage with existing and new customers.
If you have identified any of these warning signs present on your website, do treat them as urgent and contact the team at ChillyBin to make the adjustments you need to get back to the strongest online offering possible.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. If you want my team to just do your marketing for you, click here.