Spring cleaning is an essential part of any website owner who dabbles in web design. There are various reasons why you would want to keep you site updated and less cluttered. One important reason, however, is the fact that as a designer, your website is the first point of reference everyone will have of you when they arrive on the site. Image counts for so much and most people decide within seconds whether they like a website or not. In this post, we’ll look at ways of spring cleaning your design website so that it can have that professional feel, and give a great first impression.
Steps to Take in Spring Cleaning
1. Your website is an extension of you and your business. You want to do some research and look into your competitors, and see what they’re doing differently. It’s vital to be in the know as to what everyone else is doing. For example, if you design sites for media companies, check out the competition’s work for the same, and then tweak yours accordingly. As a result, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the pack in terms of your design aesthetic.
2. Next, you’ll want to add new information to your site, by updating what’s already on it. Web users are more likely to visit your site over and over if they realize that you’re adding fresh content over a period of time. Keeping the site fresh adds to the dynamism and relevance of your site, helping you gain web traffic.
3. Update your design skills. This means that you should be able to use what you’ve learned over the course of weeks or months, to the growth of your website. As a designer, you should know that the process of creation is endless and as such, you should always be on the lookout for web tutorials that you can take, which will add to your skills. After mastering one, showcase it on your website. Perhaps you might even get lucky and get a client who likes your take on a design concept you just mastered.
4. Check out your Google page ranking. It’s not enough to have a site; you have to be able to draw in visitors and like-minded designers. Web traffic gives you an opportunity to touch base with your visitors, sell your services, get some invaluable feedback on what you should incorporate into your site, and what people would like to see more of. Once you know your ranking, you can use blogging resources to raise your ranking through Search Engine Optimization, ensuring that your vision is seen by a larger audience.
5. Delete outdated information. The design world is filled with lots of different software and standards that come out on an almost daily basis. A static website might get left behind by time, and be rendered irrelevant. What you need to do is get rid of information that is not useful for the present time. You could download or archive whole pages, creating space for newer content.
6. Update your domain name. Most of the time, people forget that domain names have an expiry date on them. Once this happens, someone else is free to take up the name and use it as their own. Note the validity of your domain name, and renew it during your spring cleaning.
7. Fix known bugs. With time, a website stops running as fast as it once did. This can be caused by the traffic, growth of the page over time, or faulty code. You could look into hiring a programmer who, for a day’s pay, will fix the errors that cause your site to malfunction from time to time.
8. Add social media widgets. In today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, you need to understand the importance of social media, and the power it has to promote your work and open doors of opportunity. Most websites have widgets that allow people to link information they got online to their Facebook or Twitter pages. Add widgets that will help people share your articles, photos, and leave comments about your site. Adding ‘like’ buttons will help you, from a web design perspective, learn something about the demographic of your site, and how best to attract and retain it.
9. Add a Contact Us section, if you don’t have one already. Also, ensure that this information is relevant. There is no point of having a great site with hard to find information on how to contact the owner. Make this information easily accessible at specific points of you site.
10. Moderate comments left by visitors to your site. This helps you maintain a flawless aspect that exists in most of the world’s major companies’ websites. There’s nothing as bad as scrolling back to a post you made a few months ago and realizing that it’s been overrun by spam messages. Periodically checking for offensive or spam messages will help you maintain a professional image as a committed designer. All these tips will come in handy when doing a website cleaning, ensuring that you always look your best in representing yourself and your work as a designer.
Alfred M is a freelance writer and web designer who contributes to such blogs as Degree Jungle. He loves discovering and presenting new information, and puts it in an easy-to-read format for the average reader.