Its all to easy to “set it and forget it” when it comes to a company website. But there are many things that must be kept up to date. Here we offer the top 7 checks that you can do once or twice a year to make sure your website is up to date and performing well.
Broken links, out dated information and old images can ruin the impression of your website on visitors. Often we can be so busy with our business that we just leave our website alone. Now with the holiday season upon us and most website’s traffic about to hit the max it is best to check everything is working properly.
If you want the facts without the hassle then fill in the form below orhere to get a Free website evaluation from CR4L.
7 End of Year Checks For Your Website
Review Company Information
Do you have an “About Us” page or staff listing? Is it up-to-date with correct names, titles, and other contact information? What about your company history? Check references such as, “In our 10 year history” to see if it’s time to make a change.
Carefully review contact information. Are the phone and fax numbers, mailing and email addresses listed on your site all current? If you list email@example.com as the main contact address on your site, is it being routed to the correct person? If your shopping cart sends order information to firstname.lastname@example.org, is that going where it needs to go? Make sure your email routing reflects any organizational changes you’ve had.
Review and Test Forms & Automated Messages
Most websites include at least one contact form or landing page where site visitors are asked to provide basic information so that you can send them something or get back in touch with them. Contact forms need to be tested and reviewed regularly to make sure they work. Also make sure that they’re understandable and easy to use.
One test that’s smart at least once a year is to test the error messages that visitors to your website will get if they don’t complete the form correctly, or if there is a problem. So try to submit contact forms without the required information to make sure the resulting error message is clear and understandable.
If you send an automated confirmation message, in the form of a splash screen or email, when someone orders something or uses a contact form, make sure that the message still says what you want it to say. Check for spelling and grammar errors, content, and contact information, and that any sections of the automatic message that are supposed to be filled in from the customer’s contact form are correctly filled in.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to realize that when the year changes, so should your copyright notice. The correct form for a website is usually Copyright (first year content is posted)-(current year), so if your website was first published in 2001, the copyright notice should read Copyright 2001-2013 now.
Review Images and Video
Check any photographs, graphics, cartoons, and videos posted on your site to make sure that you have the legal right to use them. If you licensed photos from a stock photo agency or illustrator when your site was first developed, you may have purchased an unlimited license – or, more commonly, you may have purchased a license for a specific time period – often 1, 3, or 5 years. Most stock photo houses will contact you when your license is about to expire – but if your site was designed by a freelancer or third-party, it’s up to you to check your receipts and invoices to make sure that you continue to own the rights to the images on your site.
Also, some images may not be renewable. If you licensed a photograph that shows a recognizable person, then the individual(s) in the photo as well as the photographer have rights that must be considered, and the photographer or stock photo house may need to purchase additional rights from the talent before they can update your license. So an annual check is a good way to avoid a copyright infringement suit you can’t win.
Protect Your Domain
One of the most valuable assets your company has is its domain name. That is the URL or web address your customers use to find you online. At least once a year, make sure that your domain registrar and the web hosting company that is hosting your site has current contact information for you. If they don’t, you’ll miss renewal notices that could cost you your domain name.
When you verify that your domain registration is still valid, and that the registrar has current contact information, there are some other things to check, too. Most importantly, you want to check that the domain is registered to the business owner, not a developer, graphics designer, or marketing person who may have created the site for you.
Several contacts are listed with most domain registrations. The most common are:
- Registrant: This is the name of the legal owner of the domain. This should always be the business owner – not a web developer or anyone else.
- Administrative Contact: The administrative contact has the right to change the domain record (including the name of the registrant) at will. Again, this should always be the business owner – never a web developer or anyone else.
- Technical Contact: The technical contact is responsible for dealing with any technical problems with the domain. This is the one place where it might be acceptable to list someone not on your company’s payroll, such as a contract IT person or web hosting contact.
If you’re not sure whether your domain is currently set up, you can use any WHOIS service to see your domain registration. There are many such services on the Web – a very simple one without graphics, sales pitches or ads, is OneWhois.com. Just enter your domain name in the search box to see how it’s registered.
Review Website Content and Links
Small business owners are often so busy growing the business that content for the website may be the last thing on their minds. But the end of the year is the perfect time to take a fresh look at how your website displays on mobile devices, whether the content is fresh and appealing, and whether the information is up to date. Compare your site to your competitor’s websites, and make sure that you give customers and prospective customers a reason to visit often.
One of the most important things to do is to test all of the links on your website – those that link to other pages on your website, and any that link to outside content. Broken links make your site look unprofessional, and customers will usually move on quickly if they find a site with broken links. You can check all of the outbound links on your site quickly and easily with The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) online link checker. This is included witht he free report
Last, but not least, make sure that your website review includes the hidden sections of your web site, including your content management system (CMS). If you have any password-protected areas, do the passwords need to be changed? If there was any staff turnover during the year, this may be essential, but it’s a good idea even if there was no staff turnover.
In addition to all of this get CR4L to do a performance and marketing website evaluation. Its FREE and can give you an insight to your website’s performance and how to make some small but effective changes.