website design agency blog development tips

Does your website or blog got ya' down? Are you hangin' out on other websites, wondering why yours doesn't have the same cool look and feel. Remember the social grass isn't always greener on the other side. There are probably also folks looking at your blog or website thinking yours is cool too.

Don't let the need for a refresh get ya' down!  It may just be in need of a little tender loving care (TLC).  Check out these 30 tips to freshen up and rock your website this week!

30 Tips to Freshen up  & Rock Your Blog or Website

Pre-Refresh Tips 

social media plan goals objectives plan1. Define your objectives. This is pretty self explanatory. However, defining goals for a website is an entire webinar and blog post in itself.  To put it simple your website needs to support your business and marketing objectives.  Don't force fit your objectives to meet your broken website.  Your website should support your audience needs, engagement, communications, sales and marketing strategy and objectives.  Get focused and spend the time needed on planning and you will reap exponential benefit.  This is your #1 most important step.

2. Define your audience.  Who do you want to visit your website? Who are they? What do they do for a living? What do they do in off hours? Where do they hang out online and offline? What makes them tick? What do they like, dislike? How can you connect with them if you don't know them? Get in the head of your audience.  Get intimate and do the research.  Visit the sites they are visiting.  Listen and learn! Download-> Audience Analysis Worksheet

3. Create experiences. Make it a goal to create an amazing experience for every visitor to your website. Give them something to remember. Connect with them on a human and emotional level. Don't write like a robot. Share yourself. Humanize your language by sharing real stories, providing inspiring and authentic content. Read->13 Characteristics of Human Brands

4. Do a quick walk-thru on your current website. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Do a walk-thru for each major market segment. As you walk-thru determine if you are making it easy for the visitor to learn who you are, what you offer and why they should care in as few clicks as possible? You have less than 30 seconds to grab their attention. The first page they look at better grab their attention or unfortunately they may be gone for good before they ever really stepped foot into your beautiful online abode made specifically for them.

5. Do the 1-2-3 double click test. How many clicks does it take to get to the call to action? Match your objectives to the number of clicks it takes to get to the page where you can click the button, enter the necessary content or credit card information. Any call to action should be as few clicks away as possible. If it's four clicks away then review the process. Is each click really necessary? Could you remove a few?

6. Less is more! Remember less is more when it comes to website and marketing in general. Chances are if you failed the 1-2-3 double click test above you have a “more is less” issue. Acknowledge it if you do. Make note of the pages where content can be minimized. Do a quick analysis to see what redundancies there are in content, forms etc. Remove pages that are providing no value.

7. Get down with data! Analyze your Google Analytics, email blast and other metrics. Check out how users are behaving on your site. What content are they clicking on the most? How long are they staying on your site? How many pages are they viewing when they visit? How quickly do they exit your site (bounce rate)? What are the pages they are on when the exit (exit page)? If you don't have Google Analytics installed, then install it and run it for a week before you make any major changes to your site.

8. Passion test. Is your website representing you and your passions? When a user visits your site do they get a sense and feel of your passion? Or are you boring them with the same jargon everyone else is? Read-> The Power of Passion in Business and Life 

9. Engagement test. Are you really engaging your audience? Are you drawing them in? Are you measuring your engagement?  Engagement is key for online marketing. Don't just blast spam messages all day. Engage with your audience in a genuine way.

10. Unique test. Does your website say anything different than any of your competitors? Going with the flow is not a good thing when it comes to websites. Develop unique content. Content that represents what you can do for your customers. Do an honest analysis of how different your content is from other similar sites.

11. Message Platform. If you don't already have a document that defines and describes your key messages, time to make one. Develop a 1-2 page document that at minimum includes value proposition, description, features, benefits, elevator pitch, differentiators. Trust me, if you spend the time up front developing such a document it will save you hours of time on the back end. Create once, use many. That's your goal! If you already have this document then update it with fresh content. Don't change the content per se, just freshen it up with some new words. Do the validation test on features and differentiators and be certain it still represents who you are, what you are and what you can do for your audience.

12. Color check. Hopefully you have a comprehensive brand and identity strategy and plan of which a color palette is a part of.  However, many don't.  If not, at minimum start with an over all look and feel.  Do you have a color palette? Is there a specific look and feel that appears when you visit your website? As mentioned in “define your objectives” above, what is it you want your audience to feel when they visit your site? Ensure your chosen colors help users feel the way you want them to feel.  For example, if you work in mortgage short sales and have visitors who you quickly need to gain their trust, do NOT build your site with red and yellow.  Your colors need to support your objectives and audience. Don't simply pick the colors you like as they match the room you had when you were ten years old! If you want to exude excitement then yes, yellow might work. If you want to exude trust then blue is probably a better option.

13. Remember your audience. In everything you do during your freshen up process, think of your audience. Just because you are tired of a certain page, a certain word or a certain look and feel doesn't mean your audience is. Remember, you probably have new people visiting your site every day. A refresh doesn't mean to change everything just to be different. A refresh should do just that, refresh. It should enhance, brighten up and have a goal to inspire both new and returning visitors. It should add value to your audience at every page, every click and every turn while they are educated, and inspired to engage with you and your brand!

Time to Rock the Blog! 

social media community growth strategies1. Inspire – Connect – Achieve! My belief is you must first inspire your audience to listen.  You then connect with them. Last you achieve your business objective.  We must earn the trust and time of our listener.  Just because someone has clicked the “like” button on your Facebook fan page or joined your LinkedIn professional network, does not mean that you have earned their trust or their time to listen to what you have to say.  Develop all content, website, conversations with a goal of inspiring and connecting with your audience.

2. Refresh the content. This one is pretty self explanatory. Time to freshen up your content. Go thru each page. Update with your latest thinking. Ensure your features and differentiators are accurate as described above.

3. Get blogging. If you're not already blogging, then now is the time to start.  Google and your audience both love updated content. Why shouldn't you? Blogging is a great way to share what you have to offer in a less informal way. You can share life experiences that add value to your audience. It is a great way for them to get to know you, like you and engage with you and your business.

content-marketing-editorial-calendar4. Create an editorial calendar. Editorial calendars are a great way to drive consistency in content creation and also ensure you are staying focused on the needs of your audience as well as aligning to business goals. Download-> Content Marketing Editorial Calendar 2014

5. Invite guest bloggers. Invite colleagues, partners or even customers to guest blog on your site.  Include a form where they can either initiate a conversation with you or they can enter a guest blog post.  Guest blogging can be very helpful for people who don't enjoy content and writing as much as some of us crazy content lovers do. Be sure to create a guest blogging policy that is fair and protects both you and your guest bloggers.

6. Get social. Make it easy for people to connect and engage with you on and off your site. Use the WordPress link features to include links to your core social platforms and place them in the footer if possible.  Hire a social media consultant or marketing agency if necessary. A few hours with someone who understand business, marketing, PR, advertising, website development and social media can bring an exponentially positive ROI to the dollars you are spending on online marketing and social media.  The goal should be to integrate social media with your business. It should live and breathe in the DNA of your company.  Adding social icons will yes, refresh your website but to get ROI on those icons you need to get social on both your website and in business!

7. Add new icons. Add new social and call to action icons. If you don't already have social icons, add them. There are many plug-ins that make it easy to add social icons and share buttons. If you are in need of icons do a quick Google search for “free social media icons”  or “free web buttons” and you'll find more than enough for easy, quick and free download!

8. Add new imagery. Photos and images can add a lot to your site. Check out the top photo sites and add some new imagery to your site. If you are not already doing such, add a photo on your next few blog posts.

9. Data driven refresh. Based on the Google Analytics data and different tests we completed in the section above (i.e., audience, passion, 1-2-3 double click, engagement) update your site accordingly. If you find that the majority of visitors land on or spend time on one page, then beef up that page. Add video on your sidebar, links to other relevant social platforms, add an opt-in lead form specific to the  audience being targeted on that specific page.  Add links to articles you have syndicated.

10. Add a slideshow.  Wordpress provides several options to easily add a slideshow.  Do a search on or Google and you'll find many options.

11.  Add a few new plug-ins. Add social, comment and content plug-ins. Many install in seconds and can not only freshen up your content but also engage your audience!

12. Engage your audience. Every page should have specific objectives for engagement. You want your customers to read, listen, watch and learn about what you have to offer. You want them to tell their friends about it. You want them to scream from a mountain top how awesome you and your company are and all the wonderful things you can do to help their life. A visitor that visits your site and leaves within seconds is not going to do this. Draw them in with a relevant and inspiring experience based on content that connects them to you and others in your audience (i.e., community!)  Bring them in closer with social links, surveys, video, comment plug-ins, audio, and of course rockin' content!

13. Add video. There is no better way to freshen up, add personality and engage with your audience than video, webinars and Google hangouts.  You can do this today! Get out your flip camera, web camera or go pick one up.  Leverage your message platform to create a video series based on the key messages you want to get across.  Don't be afraid of video.  Learn it, use it and love it! My business ignited when I started integrated video. I now meet new customers and they hug me. They feel like they know me.  It has decreased the sales cycle and time to close exponentially.  Trust me, I have a busy life too.   It doesn't matter. Be you.  If you don't live your life in a suit then you don't need to be in a suit for your video.

14.  Add humor. A great way to inspire and connect with your audience is to make them laugh. Don't be afraid to show your funny or silly self.  If your product has a funny side to it, share it.  Often times humor can help you communicate a topic that may be hard for both you and your reader to talk about.  Use emotion to educate and connect with your audience.

15. Update your website blog or theme. This takes more time and depending on your skills you may need to hire an expert to do such.  If your website or blog is on WordPress it is fairly easy to switch to a different theme.  Some of my favorites are Thesis, Woo Themes, Themeforest and Frugal.  Every theme is not created equal.  I highly recommend you do your research before choosing a theme.  Objectives, audience and type of content to be shared are key inputs into choosing a theme that will drive business and marketing results.

16. Hire an expert. Some people simply shouldn't be behind the wheel of a website development project. If this it you, it's okay.  You probably out perform those that can at other skills.  If you need an expert, hire one.  The worst thing you can do is waste dollars and time doing it yourself if you lack the expertise and skills.  When hiring an expert do your research. Ask for references.  All website developers are not created equal.  You may need to hire more than one expert to ensure you develop a website that meets your objectives, supports a comprehensive marketing plan and enables you to inspire and connect with your audience to achieve your goals!

17.  Perfection is the enemy of good. Remember as with everything in business, marketing and life, “Perfection is the Enemy of Good!”  Don't wait until you have all of your content perfect. Don't wait until you make another $10k to freshen up your site.  Freshen up your site, your content and your business now and you'll get to that $10k increase in revenue faster.

There are many ways you can refresh your website.  All refreshes should not be created equal.  Much depends on your objectives, audiences, state of your business and social media platforms.  This post is not intended to be a comprehensive website strategy but instead a list of ideas to enable you to refresh your website and hopefully zoom your business.  Many people have commented on my site lately asking me for help freshening up theirs.  These are recommendations I have that can apply to most businesses, most sites.

As always, do your research.  Any marketing activity that you do not properly plan is what I refer to as a Random Act of Marketing (RAM). We obviously want to avoid  RAMs for reasons such as negative ROI, brand equity, loss of market share or simple audience confusion.

Take the time to know your customer and what you can offer them.  Inspire them, connect with them and help them achieve their business and life objectives.  When you do this, a default benefit is you too achieve your objectives if you've planned it right.

Have fun!

Your Turn!

Is your website ready to rock 2014? What recommendations can you offer others? How do you inspire, connect and engage with your audience?


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