Time Management, Website Tips

Refresh Your Website in 15 Minutes

You’re busy. You’re juggling a hundred things each day, and this is the time of year when the pressure tends to build slowly but surely. So I know you don’t want to spend hours – or days – updating your website.

However, if you sell books, digital products, or services – especially those of a “giftable” nature, you should anticipate increased traffic to your website in the next few weeks.

Refresh Your Website | Pauline Wiles

People may be shopping for gifts and will want to check you out, or maybe they read one of your books/articles during a restful moment and want to know more. Even if what you sell isn’t especially gift-worthy, recognize that as soon as the main Christmas/Hanukkah/other celebration is over, a potential buyer’s thoughts will turn to projects, needs or resolutions they’ve been delaying.

So what can you do, then, to spruce up your website and be ready, without undertaking a major overhaul?

These 9 website updates each take 15 minutes or less

If you can find an hour to work on your website, you can take care of several. Pick the ones you suspect are dragging down the effectiveness of your site the most.

  • Update your bio, especially if you have outdated information like the age of your kids or dog. A surprising proportion of website visitors will click on your About page. Avoid the mistake I made when I released my first novel, of writing that I moved to California 8 years ago. It’s amazing how fast 8 becomes 15!
  • Make sure all your published books (products, or services) have Buy links or, ideally, buttons. Many visitors use mobile devices so the bigger and bolder you make these, the better.
  • Check for broken links. Keeping up with external links is tough, but within your site, links must work if you’re to come across as professional. If you’re using WordPress, try a plugin like WP Broken Link Status Checker.
  • Remove clutter. Your sidebar is especially likely to contain ugly, distracting or outdated rubbish. For every element on your website, ask yourself if it adds true value to your visitor’s experience. If not, get rid of it. (A project for later could be to remove your sidebar altogether.)
  • Remove links to any social media accounts you no longer use, or, even worse, places like Google Plus (which no longer exists). I’ve been on the fence for ages about Instagram, so today I went ahead and removed that link. The same applies if the social media in question doesn’t “sing the same song” as your website. For example, if you write light fiction but tend to tweet about politics, don’t connect the two.
  • Test your contact form, and ideally ask a friend to submit their information too. Make sure everything comes through as expected. Incidentally, I’m not a fan of contact forms. Unless you desperately need anonymity or write on sensitive topics, give your visitors the ability to reach out to you directly.
  • Swap sites with a friend and check for spelling errors. You’d be amazed what creeps in! If you find any on this site (except for British/American spelling variations which are abundant): let me know & I’ll send you a thank you gift!
  • Check whether your blog is showing the date of your last article, and if so, make sure you have something posted within the last 4 weeks. At a minimum, just mention the upcoming gift-giving season and suggest your book/service as a gift. And if you never know what to blog about, consider investing in my done-for-you content calendar.
  • Visit every main page and skim read for out of date content or other cobwebs. Things change fast, and your website visitor deserves accurate information.

This is the perfect time of year to give your website a little care and attention. Any of these tasks would be a great use of 15 minutes. Let me know which you decide to do!

Does your website need more help than this?

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    April 8, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Also, you may update plugins if you are using WordPress.
    Check your Google analytics and make some tweaks accordingly.

    Bonus Tip
    You may change the thumbnails of your blog posts in case you find any attractive ones to replace with.

    1. Reply
      April 9, 2020 at 6:56 am

      Please do back up your website before updating WordPress plugins, or at the very least make a note of which ones you’re updating. After I update plugins, I aim to check all my pages in different browsers, to make sure nothing is broken. I learned this the hard way!

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