New Year is the traditional time to make personal resolutions; for webmasters, however, it’s also a good time to look back at the previous year and consider what new resolutions you need to put in place when it comes to managing your website. To help you, here are some important things we think you should take a look at.
1. Regularly update your website content
Google loves fresh website content and rewards webmasters for it with higher rankings. For many webmasters, however, once a website has been completed and launched, there’s little or no addition or updating takes place. Sometimes, the same content can get displayed for years without a change, giving you users little reason to return.
Ideally, you should consistently update your site, even if it is just once a month. You can do this either by updating existing pages if they have out of date information or adding blog posts, news items, videos, knowledgebase articles, FAQs or other content.
2. Get visitor feedback
How you perceive your website as an insider might be quite different to how your visitors see it. What looks like detailed information to you, might seem full of jargon to them. While analytics data can help you find out which pages get the most visitors and how long they stay on each page, getting real feedback from your readers can help you make important, conversion improving developments to your site. Asking for feedback using a survey is a great way to do this and you can incentivise people to contribute by tempting them with an offer.
3. Update your SEO
As search engines algorithms now use AI and machine learning, it means they are constantly self-updating. As a result, some SEO strategies can quickly become ineffective. In the New Year, make it a resolution to periodically check on your SEO to see if any changes need to be made. This can include looking at things like page loading-speed, mobile-friendliness, content quality, backlink quality, keyword usage and so forth.
4. Make more use of visual content
Visual content, especially video, has become the number one choice of media for internet users. Driven by its popularity on social media, increasing numbers of businesses are making videos to put on their site and using more images and infographics to get their message across. If you have a text-heavy website, 2020 might be the time to give your site a visually appealing look.
You don’t need to invest heavily to do this; most smartphones are quite capable of taking high-quality video and photographs. You just need to be a little creative.
5. Don’t leave software updates hanging
Whatever platform your website is built on, chances are its software, plugins and themes will be constantly updated to new versions. While it’s easy to ignore any notifications asking you to update, you shouldn’t delay in doing so. Aside from getting rid of bugs and adding new features and functionality, perhaps the chief reason so many updates are issued is to remove vulnerabilities that leave your website open to hacking and infection. Failure to act swiftly could potentially result in the loss of your site or the theft of personal data. This year, make a firm commitment to setting up auto-updates where you can and where it isn’t possible, make it a habit to manually update as soon as a new version is released.
6. Carry out regular security reviews
In addition to updating software, you should make it a resolution in 2020 to ensure your website remains as secure as possible. There are many things you can do to make your site security more robust: start using two-factor authentication for your admin logins, enforce strong passwords, avoid easily guessed usernames, install an SSL certificate, ensure your website is monitored for intrusion, encrypt stored data, use password protection on folders, make sure emails are filtered to get rid of phishing emails, delete unused plugins, enforce new user email verification, etc.
7. Go mobile-first
2019 saw a growth in mobile users, mobile browsing time and in mobile shopping. Over 78% of the UK population now has a smartphone, rising to 95% for 16-24 year olds. We also spend twice as long surfing on mobiles than we do on computers. For website owners, this means the mobile version of your website is likely to be of more value to your business than your computer version.
Unfortunately, even most responsive website themes are built for the computer first and foremost. Today, passing Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is no longer enough to guarantee your website is good enough for users. This year, make it a priority to put your mobile site first, especially looking at ways to improve the mobile user interface and to enhance the user experience.
New Year is always a good time to make a fresh start and focus on things that are important in the year ahead. Here we’ve put together some of the things we think are going to be important in 2020 and which webmasters should consider as goals in the next 12 months.
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