Is your website attracting less business than it used to? Maybe you need a website refresh.

Refreshing your website is a great way to revitalise your company’s image. It’s an opportunity to update existing material, add new content, and ensure your writing style and tone is consistent. You can also get rid of turn‑offs like grammar and spelling errors, and fix basic usability problems such as broken links.

Start with an audit

First, audit your website to assess what’s working and what’s not. This will help you decide what to change.

Things to look out for include style and tone of voice, writing quality, readability, page structure, links, graphics and images, and accessibility. These all play a role in the success of your website. Metadata (information in a web page’s HTML code that describes your content) is also important for search engine optimisation (SEO).

It’s a good idea to keep a detailed record of the results of your audit so that you can refer back to your findings later. Depending on the size of your website, you might need to start a spreadsheet or use screenshots as reminders. And, once you’ve identified problem areas, you can draw up a plan for refreshing your website to make it more effective.

Improve the quality of your content

Apply a critical eye to the quality of your content. Is it informative, accurate, useful, well written and interesting? Does it sell your products or services? Are you telling website visitors what they need to know?

This is also a good time to revisit your old blog posts, white papers and other thought leadership content. Consider whether you need to update this content with new angles or facts. Ditch anything that looks dated or repetitive and replace it with new material that confirms your company’s position as an authority in your field. If you have pages that are no longer relevant, delete them. Nothing makes a website look outdated than a page advertising an ‘upcoming event’ that was held three years ago.

If you want to let visitors to your website know how fantastic your business is, why not let your clients say it for you? Testimonials from current and former clients are a fantastic sales tool. Ask your happiest clients for a good solid quote you can use to brag about your services or products.

Other practical steps you can take to improve the overall content include:

  • deleting old links and adding new ones
  • writing fresh headings that focus on benefits rather than features
  • improving calls to action.

Be SEO savvy

While you’re at it, you should work on your SEO. This sounds complicated but really, SEO is just techniques you can use to make it easier for search engines to discover your website. The better your SEO, the more likely you are to rank highly in search results.

There are plenty of resources online to help you get started (like this one and this one) but using plenty of keywords – the words and phrases people are most likely to use when searching for your business – throughout your website is a great place to start.

Check your style and tone of voice

Take a good look at the style and tone of your website. Does it fit the look and feel of your business? Is all your copy consistent and on brand? If you are a financial services company or government department, you will want to strike a very different tone to a website selling advertising or creative services.

If your audit has shown that your style and tone are not right for your brand, this is the time to hit reset.

You should also check your website’s readability, which means how easy it is to understand. Make sure the content is written in plain English, with a clear, active voice.

Iron out inconsistencies

If your website has been around for a while, you may have had a whole range of writers and editors – with skills spanning from mediocre to fantastic – contributing content. Over time, this can make the quality of your website uneven, especially if you don’t have a content or marketing team overseeing its development.

The first thing you’ll need to fix are any spelling and grammar mistakes, but there are also other subtle changes you can make that will help you to achieve a consistent look and feel, including:

  • using only Australian, US or UK English, not mixing the three
  • being consistent in your capitalisation of the names of products or services
  • ensuring you establish acronyms and initialisms on every page so that readers aren’t left guessing
  • setting guidelines for everything from fonts to the length of introductory paragraphs.

You might even want to consider introducing a corporate style guide if you don’t already have one. Style guides outline your organisation’s preferred style for everything from headings to hyphenation and are great for ensuring consistency across all of the written communications produced by your organisation. Having one will help you to achieve a cohesive, professional look and improve overall quality.

Keep up the momentum

Once you’ve finished refreshing your website, you might want to kick up your heels, but the best way to capitalise on all that hard work is to keep going. By frequently updating your website with high‑quality content you will be more likely to see search engines take notice.

If you’re keen to refresh your website, but don’t want to do it yourself, we’d love to see how we can help. We can conduct an audit, revitalise your old copy or create new content such as thought leadership papers, blogs and case studies. We can even create a style guide you can follow in future. You can contact us here.

Read more

Cut to the chase: how to use the principles of plain English to improve your writing

Seven reasons why you need a corporate style guide

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