Note from Sarah: This article was originally sent via my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers receive essay style pieces like this before anyone else. Click here to subscribe!
There’s something in the air right now, probably folks thinking about the end of the year, where we’ve had a bunch of folks reach out about “weird stuff” happening on their websites. This is actually a great time to be thinking about these things! Once the holiday rush hits things can get a bit overwhelming and vacations and such take away time from your work. Then January sneaks up on you and all the sudden Q1 is gone in a flash.
In the spirit of that end of the year checkup, here are some common issues I’m seeing from people who have reached and that you can easily fix yourself, right now.
1. Double check your headings and body text and make sure they’re formatted correctly. We see this so, so often with consulting and training clients. Oftentimes folks are thinking about the way the text on their websites look and not what its functional purpose is.
The heading text should only be used for actual headings. If you’ve got paragraphs of heading 3s, for example, change that to body text and only using headings for important, keyword-rich content.
2. Make sure all your forms are connected and working. Oh buddy, I see this one a lot! Forms are one of the most annoying things in the website world and they can and do misbehave. Unfortunately, we often don’t know this until someone says “Hey I tried to reach you and never heard back.”
Give your forms a quick test and make sure all is as expected. MailChimp connected forms in particular have been dodgy for our clients lately, so be particularly vigilant if you have noticed any changes in your subscription rates.
3. Fix your broken links. This one is easy! Use a link scanning tool and search your website for broken links and redirect or remove them. Why is this important? This speaks to the overall health of your website and indicates to Google how well your site is maintained. This is an easy to use broken link checker.
4. Ensure that your pricing and services information is current and up to date. This is another common inconsistency we find. There’s not a lot more mortifying than having different prices for the same service online or advertising a service you no longer offer. An easy way to find all your pricing references are by searching your site for a currency symbol (for example $) and words like “rate” “fee” and “price.”
5. Make sure your keywords are still relevant. Your priorities shift, your audience evolves, things, frankly, change! But we see a lot of websites that are ride or die with the keywords they implemented when they first launched. It’s extremely possible that they’re no longer meaningful to you, that your focus has narrowed or that your content as changed so there’s disconnected from your targeted keywords and what you’re actually promoting.
This is an easy fix! Read through your copy and your page titles and make sure they still sync up. Fix those that target the incorrect keywords and leave along those that are still working.
6. Make a plan to properly label your imagery—and resize the too large ones you forgot about while you’re at it. You, yes, you. It’s so easy to get sloppy with this (I know I’ve gone through my images and been horrified at how many don’t have alt text). It’s also easy to forget to resize your images prior to uploading them, so replace any big ones with resized ones ASAP (ShortPixel is great for doing this in bulk). Both of things things play double-duty in terms of making your website accessible and also making it friendly to Google—win-win!