Your Website Is Your Face Online
People and organisations have different reasons for having a website. For some it is just to have an online brochure whereby interaction with the site's visitor is possibly limited to the contact page. Others may have a site designed to sell physical products such as t-shirts or electronics. There are also those who have a website to promote their professional services such as consultants, doctors, dentists etc.
Through my years of developing and designing websites I've come to the realisation that a website is the first point of contact between you (or your organisation) and your site's visitor. I think "first impressions count when meeting people for the first time" is also true for websites. This first impression will determine or shape the way your visitor interacts with your site.
An old-looking and poorly maintained website will not bode well for your business or service. It has to be taken care of like a rose bush. It has to be pruned and cultivated, fertilised if need be, etc. Your website should look like it is constantly evolving in terms of content and presentation. Sometimes the changes that you do will not be in the big things but in the little things.
Things To Avoid
Here are some things that I think can help you keep your website looking fresh and well-maintained:
- Spelling Mistakes - this one affects your site more than anything else. One spelling mistake is probably forgivable but to have them occurring several times in different pages is really bad.
- Grammatical Errors - this is more subtle and sometimes more difficult to detect. It is always a good practice to check for grammatical errors in the text that you will publish on your site.
- Broken Links - you have to check for broken links often because websites come and go. There is this amazing article in another website that you want to share to your visitors so naturally you linked to it. A few months later the website closed down and then the link is now broken. A broken link in your site can tell your visitor that you do not look after your site regularly.
- Poor Layout - your website must provide a pleasant experience for your visitors. A cluttered layout or confusing navigation could be a symptom of a poorly planned website.
- Copyright Notice Not Updated - if your site has a copyright notice at the end of the page that includes the year make sure that you update it to reflect the current year. Some site visitors will use that information to conclude that your site has not been updated for a number of years even though you have just updated it last week.
- Update Your Blog/News Section - if you have a news or blog section in your site it is a good idea to regularly post a new item every so often. If your most recent post is six months ago it may show that your site may have stagnated.
I hope this short list will give you something to think about and maybe also implement in your website. Google love websites that are constantly updated and revised. Do you have any more ideas that you can add to this short list? Add them in the comments below.