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Website improvement checklist

If you understand the website fundamentals you know a website is never "complete." Like a business you need to work at continually improving it. So where do you start? This is a list of the top methods in the order we recommend to help you improve your website. They are simple, easy to follow directions with links to more detail including benefits and reasons along with the technical how to.....and to professional help if you choose.

If your website is brand new make sure you have completed the New website optimisation checklist

Website improvement checklist

1. Plan your resource & time

The number one reason websites fail. They are published and forgotten about. Remember a website is a business and you need to "run" it like one. Find the right person to do it and schedule the time in your calendar. Or organise the budget and pay for a professional.

Plan your website resource and schedule time to optimise

2. Check spelling & broken links

A spelling error or a broken link can instantly breakdown the trust and credibility of your website. Google's Matt Cutts confirmed in a video, that the number of spelling mistakes correlates with the PageRank of a website. Spelling errors and broken links are obvious problems that are easily fixed...The hard bit is finding them.

Free website analysis tools

3. Do keyword research

Before you optimise your website for the search engines you need to decide what keyword phrases you will target in the search engines. You will want to target phrases that your customers will be searching on. It is important to establish these words early on as they will become the language of your website and will be used to optimising your website content, inbound links and Google Adwords.

Keyword research

5. Measure

You have probably heard the quote - 'if you can't measure it - you can't manage it'. Before you can improve something you need to carefully measure it - only once you know how something is currently performing can you can try new initiatives to see if you can improve it. Website measurement is vital.

Learn why measure Understand Zeald reports

6. Optimise for local search

Google places, also referred to as google maps or Google local. This feature forces many of the traditional search listings down the page and below the fold, which reduces impressions, clicks and ultimately orders. So it is important for local business to have a healthy presence here for relevant search phrases.

Optimise your website for Google Places

7. Promote your website through other media

Ensure that your website is listed on all your media. Business cards, Invoices, Advertisements, Billboards, Signage, Vehicles, Packaging, Email signatures, And anything else that will be seen by your potential customers.

Ensure that your website address is listed on all your media

8. Optimise website with target search phrases

The next step is to saturate the content of your web pages with these keywords. Ensure that important keywords have pages of content specifically dedicated to them. Search engine optimisation is a specialist area. If you would like to pay a professional please talk to your consultant or the Zeald support team.

Optimise your web page content

9. Tidy your website

It has been repeatedly shown that if your site looks messy, it will give your visitors a poor first impression of your site. A messy looking site can damage the credibility of your organisation, which is a big factor when your customer is deciding whether to purchase your products or services. The key to having a tidy page is to follow a few simple steps when pasting in text and adding new images to your content.

Techniques & tips for maintaining a tidy Zeald website

10. Build a database for email promotions

Brainstorm up a creative strategy that will encourage users to sign-up for your email newsletter. Give visitors a reason to sign-up for your newsletter and request that you keep them informed of what is going on in your organisation.

Email marketing to promote your website

13. Get free links from online directories

Submitting to the directories is a good idea - but can take a substantial amount of time. So start early! Create a keyword rich title and description for your website. Specify a category and source relevant directories to link to your website.

Submit your website to directories to build inbound links

14. Get some easy reciprocal links

Think about people you can approach who would be willing to link from their website to yours. Think about your prospects, suppliers, resellers, partners or even just websites with complimentary information.

Generate traffic by building links that endorse you

15. Get forum and blog links

Create a keyword rich signature file to include at the bottom of your post whenever you discuss topics in an online forum. Determine relevant forums and blogs to link to your website and contribute to the discussions that are occurring in these places. Don't forget to include your signature whenever you post.

Online networking through forums & blogs

16. Send regular email newsletters to your database

Establish a system of regularly communicating with your database. Send them regular promotions. Keep them informed about what is going on with an email newsletter. Offer them helpful advice and guidance.

Successful email marketing

17. Test the usability of your website

Watch real people use your website & listen to their feedback. Identify problems with your website & get constructive ideas to improve it. Get them fixed ASAP.

Usability testing Zeald Usability testing service

18. Establish trust & credibility with your visitors

Check that you are successfully establishing your trust and credibility with your visitors on your website. If your visitors don't trust you and believe what you are telling them, you will never persuade them to take action - no matter how amazing your products or services are. Make sure you have included in your website a number of the trust building elements that are listed below. Remember you can never 'over-establish' your trust and credibility.

Establishing your trust and credibility online Learn more about pre-sales content

19. Spark interest with headlines

Check that you are successfully sparking your visitor's interest on your website. On a website you spark interest using a 'headline'. Most websites just use the following headline 'Welcome to our website!' This is a very poor headline because it doesn't spark interest!

You homepage needs to have a fantastic headline that sparks interest and grabs the visitors attention. Further to that, every key page on your website needs to have a great headline that continues to spark the reader's interest. Make sure you try to different headlines to see which ones work best.

Use headlines to grab attention Find out more about our copywriting services

20. Persuade visitors to take action

Check that you are successfully persuading your visitor to take action. Visitors are persuaded to take action by good website content and lots of it! Most websites don't have enough website content - they don't provide their visitors with enough details. And most websites have poor sales copy.

Creating great sales copy

21. Have a clear call to action

Check that you are clearly telling your visitors what you want them to do. Make sure you are saying things like, 'Click here to buy now', 'Do this to sign up now' or 'Click the 'Add to Cart' button to add this product to your shopping cart'. Make sure you close the sale.

Many websites don't have a clear 'Call to Action'. Make sure your website has very clear 'Calls to Action'.The clearer the better!

Creating a clear call to action

22. Add extra content pages for long tail search

Using your Keyword research and feedback from customers, determine further themes or topics that you could target with your optimisation efforts. Create web pages around certain themes and topics to target specific areas.

Add extra content pages for long tail search engine rankings

24. Ensure your website loads quickly

Studies have shown that if a web site takes more than 8-10 seconds to load on a 56k modem then you risk losing the visitor. With a slow website you run the risk of your user not even hanging around for the page to load, let alone go through your conversion goals and purchase something or enquire about your products.

Tip's to reduce your websites loading speed

26. Optimise your internal search

By measuring what people search for on your website you can find out what products and services you do supply that you might want to. You learn what language your customers are using and you can then optimise your pages to ensure they come up top when your users search. Optimising for internal search will also help with an external search engine search optimisation.

Measuring internal search Learn how to optimise fot the Zeald website internal search

27. Test, measure and tune (TMT)

Make sure you are testing everything as you go. A website is comparable to just about any business. If you set up a new organisation it is impossible to establish an organisation that runs perfectly from day one. Good organisations become great only through consistent ongoing improvements.

A website is no different. It is impossible to get a website perfect from day one (no matter how good you are). A fantastic website only becomes so through careful TMT!

Test the different items that you are using to establish your trust and credibility. Test your headlines. Test your website content and test your calls to action (even test your prices if you are selling online).

Test measure & tune Zeald Experiments