As your business rings in another year, there are a lot of things to do. Reviewing the previous year, focusing on new goals, upgrading equipment, and more are usually on the task list. But, what about your website? As you move into a new year, it’s a good idea to do all of these things for your website too. Here is a new year website checklist to get you started:
1. Crawl Your Site for Technical Errors
You should be regularly crawling your website for errors throughout the year. But, transitioning to a new year is a great time to do it again, especially if you haven’t done it for a while. There are plenty of site audit tools available, so it’s just a matter of finding one that you like and that fits your budget.
Google Search Console has built-in tools that can help you identify and manage errors. If you want something else that you can run on command, you can use something like Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Moz Pro, etc.
Using these tools, you can check your site for errors and then fix anything you find. This helps keep your website running in top form and your user experience smooth as you move into the new year.
Plus, if you do find anything major, like broken links, duplicate content, slow page speeds, and more, you can put a plan together to fix it sooner rather than later.
2. Review Analytics
Whether you use Google Analytics or another analytics tool, it’s a good idea to take some time to review the data from the previous year. Were the results what you expected? Did you meet your projected goals for the year?
Digging into analytics can help you determine whether you missed, met, or exceeded your expectations and goals for the year. And, it can also help you determine some potential reasons why you had those results.
If your numbers were better than you expected, you can identify the things that helped get you there and focus more of your efforts on them. At the same time, you can see what didn’t work for you.
From there, you can figure out new things to test to see if you can improve upon what didn’t work. You can also identify the channels to spend more or less time, money, and effort on in the coming new year.
3. Evaluate Your Website Content
Once you’ve nailed down your goals for the new year, it’s a good idea to look over your website content with a fresh eye. As you look over things, you want to evaluate how well your content matches your business goals, speaks to your target audience, and provides the information they’re looking for.
You may find that you have irrelevant content on your site that needs to be edited or updated so that it is accurate and actually speaks to the potential customers you’re trying to reach. You could find that there is content missing from your site that you need to add, whether it’s elaborating on existing content or creating an entirely new page of content.
In general, it’s a good idea to periodically update your content to keep it from becoming outdated or irrelevant. Not only is this one of the best ways to keep your old content working for you, but it also gives you the opportunity to expand and improve your content so it performs even better!
4. Make Necessary Updates
The overall function and security of your website depend on it being up to date. Outdated plugins, databases, servers, etc. can all put your website’s security at risk. Making sure everything associated with your website is updated for the new year can help you keep it functioning well and keep it protected.
It’s also a good idea to revisit the users and services that have login access to your website. Are they all still active and necessary? People who should not be accessing your website should not have active users or logins that allow them to do so.
Does anyone have more permissions than they should? If they shouldn’t have full admin access, adjust their permissions so they can’t make sweeping changes or access files that they shouldn’t be able to see. This is also a good time to update the passwords for your own login.
5. Consider Upgrading Your Server
Part of your new year website checklist should be making sure your server can support your website effectively. As new updates are released, your server should be updated along with them. But, this may not be enough for your website as you move into the new year.
Choosing a good hosting provider is one thing, but making sure you have enough server power is another. If it makes sense for your site, consider upgrading to a more powerful server or moving to dedicated hosting instead of shared hosting.
6. Test Your User Experience
Another important item on a new year website checklist is to test your user experience. When it’s your website, it’s easy to miss things that could cause user experience issues for someone else. Try to go through your website as a user and see if there are any places where you get stuck or where something doesn’t make sense.
There are plenty of user experience tips to help provide a good one, but you won’t know how good your user experience really is until you or someone else actually tries to use your site. You can ask friends or family to visit your website and let you know how it goes.
You can also use analytics to see where people are getting stuck as they use the site. You can even put a focus group together where strangers use your website, try to complete specific tasks, and provide feedback. All of these methods are useful for getting valuable insights into how well your user experience stacks up in real-world scenarios.
This new year website checklist is a great place to start to make sure your website is ready to take on another year. If it’s been a while since your last redesign or your website just isn’t performing for your business, contact us for a meeting of the MINDs. We can help your site get back on track and working for your business!