Prepare your website for 2021

The ultimate clean up checklist for starting the new year on the right foot 

When you first launch your site it’s typically lightweight. There aren’t too many images, pages, plugins, or other content. However, as time goes on, new media, themes, plugin, code, and content is added little by little. A cluttered website doesn’t make a great experience for the user or the team members managing your site. Follow these guidelines to move into 2021 with an organized website.

Complete a Content Inventory

So much marketing focus is centered around creating content that in the last year, you’ve probably added more blog posts, CTAs, resources, and forms to your site than you can count. We recommend moving into the new year with a clean slate and that means understanding what you have available. At Evolve Media, we utilize tools like Screaming Frog to generate an entire list of URLs, segmenting them by blogs, resources, and other content types available on our site. We cross check these content pieces with any pop-ups, CTAs, or forms attached to them so we have a comprehensive understanding of what we’re sharing with our users.

Review Performance

Once we’ve completed our content inventory, it’s important to review the performance of pages on your website. We prefer to review our content inventory both objectively and subjectively. 

Objective Performance Review

This involves collecting information from Google Analytics, SEMRush, and other tools. How often do people visit this page? Do people convert on this page (or is it a part of their conversion path)? What’s the bounce rate? Does this page rank well or have ranking potential?

Subjective Performance Review

This allows us to utilize our marketing expertise to determine the relevance and quality of a content piece. Is the advice we’re sharing out of date? Can we update an older content piece to be more relevant to today’s users? Is this information helpful? Could we add a resource or form to this page that encourages users to convert?

Your performance reviews will lead you straight into an action plan that helps you clean up your website. Create a to-do list: removing outdated pages, updating forms, changing the information you collect on forms, adding calls to action, better internal linking, and more.

Test Your Forms + CTAs

Click around on your site! Test forms to make sure they’re submitting the correct information, and that users are receiving the correct information in response to a form submission. Nothing is worse than a nurture campaign that never sends! This is also a great way to confirm that your tracking methods are working. You can look in Google Analytics Real Time Report or other tools you utilize to track conversions to make sure you’re properly attributing actions on your site.

Check Your Site Speed

Too often we make the mistake of only checking our site speed around significant events like a website launch. We recommend revisiting page speed more often than once per year, but the new year is a great reminder to run your URL through Google Pagespeed Insights. At Evolve Media, we use this tool while working closely with a developer to make next-steps that support our site speed initiatives. As we add content to our site, new files, pages, and images can affect the way your website performs. Completing well-checks on your site more frequently can save you an uphill battle in the long-run.

Clean Up Your Content Management System

If your team has turned over, gained new members, or worked with different partners that have access to your website CMS, the back end of your site can become a messy place.

  • Audit your plugins to determine what is active and installed, and consult your website admins and developers to see what needs to stay. This will eliminate the number of notifications on your dashboard, ensure all plugins are updated and allow site management to remain a user-friendly experience.
  • Review your users to see who still has access to your site. Remove anyone that no longer works or partners with your team. Ensure everyone has the access they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
  • Implement naming conventions that make your site easier to use for each site manager. Determine the appropriate way to title a page depending on the type (landing page, thank-you page, etc.) so that everyone is on the same page.

Audit Your Tags

Work with your developer or site manager to clean up the back end of your website. If you use Google Tag Manager to manage your tags, clean up is easy! Just determine which scripts or pixels you still utilize (LinkedIn Ads Manager, HubSpot, CrazyEgg etc.), preview your site to make sure they’re all firing correctly, and get rid of the ones you no longer utilize. Scripts can affect your site speed and page performance, so make sure that only the ones you utilize remain implemented.

If you don’t use Google Tag Manager, you can work with a web developer to determine what tags and scripts are firing on your website and collaborate on next steps for removing or adding tags.

Look at Your Site With Fresh Eyes

Navigate your website like one of your users would. Try coming in on different landing pages (review the Behavior Flow in Google Analytics to map the journey of your users). How easy is it to navigate your site and identify the information you’re looking for? If you want to convert, ask questions, or find certain resources, is it an easy process? How intuitive is your content? Do you utilize too much industry jargon? Will your users understand? Is there anything you should add or remove to improve the user experience?

Review your site from different devices to make sure the experience is enjoyable across your iPhone, Android, Tablet, Macbook, and more. Identify any areas of improvement and work with a developer to start 2021 with a clean, optimized, clutter-free website!

Start tackling this list yourself or pass along to a team member that can take initiative on cleaning up your website. Your website is your digital storefront, interface, and brochure. Or, better yet, have Evolve Media help you manage your site.