As site owners, we get so busy making the next blog post or creating new pages. For the most part, we only visit the Admin area of our site. When was the last time you really looked at your site as a visitor sees it? Refreshing a site at least once a year is a good way to ensure that it is current with your offerings and message. Read on for a quick checklist that will help you review the most important areas of your site.
When folks get a new site, they do one of two things. They either have a sparse sidebar because they don’t have a lot of info to share there yet. Or, they throw the kitchen sink in and fill it up with every little plugin/widget gizmo they thought was interesting.
Website and online marketing trends change over time. What was cool when you included that whizbang in your sidebar is “so last year” looking now.
What’s Out for Sidebars
The trend for 2011 has been minimalist design with a sleek sidebar that does not distract from, or compete with, your core content. So, remove any decoration that is distracting or doesn’t serve a vital purpose.
What’s In for Sidebars
Social media links are big. So are widgets that show your followers or activities on social media sites.
An opt-in form for your newsletter is essential. Marketing stats show that the money is in the list and email marketing is as big as ever. Be sure you have an easy way for folks to sign up on yours.
SEO Bait and Images
Search engines index the static areas of your site, and these include your sidebars. So, you want to take advantage of this by displaying content and links, including linked images, to your important offerings. Be sure to include your most important keywords too. And, keep in mind that if you or someone else shares a link to your site, the default image that may be picked up will likely come from your sidebar.
If you’ve been reading tips from online marketing gurus for long, you know that you only have a few seconds to grab a viewer’s attention before they bounce off your site. The info in the header is a perfect way to let someone know they landed on the right site for the info they seek. Is your header saying the right thing to new visitors?
What’s Hot for Headers
Instant brand awareness is big. The graphics, including the logo or a picture of you, plus the text should immediately identify what your site is about.
Social media icons in the header, as well as RSS feed icons are popular.
What’s Not for Headers
If you have a content-rich site, tall headers that take up one third of the page above the fold are out. Folks come to your site for content. Don’t make them work (scroll) to get to it.
Above Content Area
This mainly applies to blog posts, but can be applied to pages as well. Getting your post Liked on Facebook and +1’d on Google counts toward your SEO and social media reach. Many folks are electing to place these buttons above their content now.
Below the Content Area
The area below the blog post content is getting crowded. Site owners are filling it up with the following:
- Social media icons such as the Facebook Like and Google +1 buttons
- Link or linked icons to Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn
- Links or linked icons to social sharing sites like StumbleUpon and Digg
- Author boxes
- Adds to offerings or affiliate products
Taking a good look at your site and freshening it up at least once a year helps ensure that your visitors are having the experience you intend and are finding your most important information. What looks out of place on your site, or what do you want to improve?
Put a set of qualified eyes on your site.
BlogAid offers site reviews and consultation to help you achieve your online goals.
Don’t know how to add something to your site? No problem, I’ll show you.