Preparing Your Website for the Winter – Your Winter Ready Guide

The winter season means myriad things to many industries, but whatever your circumstances, this valuable time of year can revitalise your web presence, increase your website health, and support growth in quarter one 2017.

In this winter ready website guide, we explore practical ways to make the most from your website before the end of the year, and into the next year. From website pruning to product positioning, this guide is all you need to know for maximising your website gains during this core season.

Effective website pruning

website-pruning-concept-of-websites-being-trimmed-at-winter

One of the greatest challenges for website owners is the ability to effectively manage the scope and scale of a website. The winter season is a great, and natural timeframe to consider who your website is for, what your website is offering, and where you intend your website to take your business in the following year.

There are a number of pertinent questions to answer when trimming down content, pages, or products on a website, and the following are particularly useful ones to factor in before deleting website copy.

  1. Is this content relevant? Who is it written for? Does the content have a purpose?
  2. Do these products or services still exist? Find out how to handle discontinued products or services.
  3. Is the content adding value? Are visits entering the website on this landing page? Does the content appear for important ranking terms or themes?
  4. Do people like this content? Do visitors share the content or engage with it?
  5. Can the content be re-purposed or work more effectively? Are there better content types to display this information?
  6. Is the content high quality? Is it fresh, up to date, and reflective of expertise, trust and authority on the topic?

A healthy start to a digital New Year

conceptual-image-of-a-healthy-diet-for-websites

Waiting for New Years resolutions to start when it comes to website health and well-being is an oversight that many businesses fail to maximise for competitive advantage.

When users are keen to purchase and start new ventures, a healthy site can mean the difference between making a sale and capturing the user, or passing on new business to a competing website.

There are a number of operability, functionality and technological considerations for personal training a website for health and well-being however, the following are a great starting point.

Speed. Users demand an expedient online experience, even more so when purchasing and information seeking on the move. The faster the site delivers content to mobile, desktop and tablets the better.

Operability. Make sure everything works and factor in regular checks. Broken links, missing images and 301 hops are just a few examples of where sites can technically fail. Keep on top of these and provide a functioning offering online.

Content. Content needs to be fresh, accurate, relevant and reflective of your audience. Ensure service pages are updated frequently, that statistics used are current, and that content depth, variation, and types used (image, video, more) show value and expertise.

Understanding and ranking. Through the growth of CMS, and general website understanding, it’s never been easier to add content to websites. The next challenge is to make sure search engines can find content, understand it and rank it accordingly. Removing technical barriers to content discovery and enhancing code for content understanding need to factor i to every websites health check.

There are a few decent website checklists that can be useful for monthly reviews and benchmarks for site health and technical performance.

Repositioning for the festive season

conceptual image of a snowman to demonstrate seasonal content repositioning

During the lead into the festive season, there are a number of reasons to consider repositioning your website content (visuals, offers, pitch, tone, style and more) for maximising traffic and sales online.

With key retail dates (are you ready to make the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday?), a reduced consideration timeframe on buying products and services, plus peak levels of active online browsers, there is no better time to reposition for potential gains than the fourth quarter of the year.

Updating a website for seasonal change doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, and the more this becomes a key aspect of your annual marketing calendar, the more effective and efficient it becomes. Whilst there are a number of areas you can pay attention to, the following provides targeted items, and if you are completing this for the first time, or looking to make these updates more successful this time around, I hope these will help.

  1. Update visuals on top landing pages to tie into the seasonal period
  2. Provide seasonal incentives to drive conversions and sales
  3. Change headings and core on page elements to reflect seasonality
  4. Update your website meta data so your adverts show seasonal search behaviour
  5. Add some festive fun into your marketing communications – show the human aspect of the brand/site/products/services

What’s next?

Take a fresh look at your website and consider how you could improve it’s positioning for this Christmas and festive season.

If you have tried some seasonal driven updates that worked in the past please let me know, as I would love to hear your feedback.

Images:
Images included have been sourced from https://www.pexels.com/discover/ – “All photos on Pexels are free for any personal and commercial purpose.” See https://www.pexels.com/photo-license/.

About Lee Wilson

Lee Wilson is the Head of SEO for Vertical Leap, a UK Search Marketing and Digital Agency that offers the most effective and thorough search marketing service in the UK, helping companies maximise their online visibility.