With the holidays behind us and 2018 in full swing, it’s time to shift your attention to sprucing up your website for the new year. This includes making both front- and back-end changes to improve your site’s attractiveness, competitiveness, and security. In this post, we’ll review five recommendations from our development team here at Longstreet Labs.
1. Update Everything
If you’re using a CMS like Wordpress, then you’re probably like most website owners out there who have 10, 20, or even 50+ pending updates. Sure, some of these are cosmetic, but most updates are for security purposes, so it’s not a good idea to leave them unattended, especially since common platforms are easily hacked. So, stop putting them off and just do it!
Additionally, if the server hosting your site isn’t regularly maintained by a webmaster or dev team, then it too likely has outdated software and is missing critical security patches. If you don’t know your way around a Linux server, then you should not attempt to update it on your own. Ask your web developer or hosting company to make sure everything server-side is up-to-date.
Note: We always recommend backing up your site and database before making any updates.
2. Add an Email Pop-Up
We’re going to assume that everyone who has a website is doing some form of email marketing (if not, then you seriously need to talk to our team at Longstreet Solutions), so you may as well take a little time to make it easier to grow your subscriber list. Below is a great example of a full-screen email capture, which we stole from our post a few weeks ago on how to grow your following.
3. Selling Stuff Online? Streamline Your Checkout Process
We first wrote about this back in October of 2016, but it’s worth re-iterating, because the checkout process is the most critical component of any e-commerce website. If you’re seeing lots of abandoned carts and order drop-offs, then you’ve got to enlist the help of a designer and developer to make your site’s checkout experience better. What’s the best thing you can do to improve purchase completion rates? Consolidate your process into a one-page checkout design.
4. Swap Your Images with SVGs
An SVG, or Scalable Vector Graphic, uses vectors (mathematical calculations of the object’s shapes), not pixels, as the image’s base. Confused? All you need to know is that SVGs will render beautiful, crisp images at any size. Plus, they improve your site speed because they don’t require any HTTP requests to pull images from your server. Looking for photographic proof that SVGs are better? Take a look at the comparison Twitter’s SVG and PNG icons when enlarged.
5. Redesign Your Site with Brighter Colors
For roughly the last half-decade, design trends highlighted flat, monotone colors in an effort to shift website designs towards something more professional. However, something not-so-surprising happened when the web became overrun with bland designs: websites were boring. So, companies are going back to big, bold, and bright designs that catch users’ eyes and highlight their products and services in unforgettable ways.
And, there you have it! Of course, the opportunities for your website in the new year are endless. Want a website audit? Lend us your ear and we’ll lend you a hand.