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A Checklist for a Website that Propels your Business Forward by @rachelccool

sitechecklistby Rachel Cool | Featured Contributor 

It’s a new year and now is the perfect time to assess your website and make some updates so it will serve you well this year, helping your business grow. Your website is the base of your online presence, and if you sell products online, it’s your virtual storefront. It can help you tell your story, find potential customers and grow your business.

Here’s a checklist you can use to make sure your site is ready for the new year and will help you find success.

Responsive Design

It’s essential that your website is easy to view no matter what kind of devise a visitor is using. Make sure your site has smartphone, tablet and laptop-friendly versions.

Logical Navigation

There’s nothing more frustrating that not being able to find what you need on a website. Use a navigation system, with a main menu or sidebar, that makes sense for your content and users.

Current Information

Now is the perfect time to make sure the information on your site is current and accurate. Check things like contact information, mission statement, product offerings and photos to make sure they reflect your business as it is now.

Accessible Contact Information

Your contact information shouldn’t be hard to find. List your phone number or email address in a place where it won’t be missed and consider adding a contact form for easy communication.

Compelling Copy that Works

Does your site’s copy make you want to take action? Use short paragraphs, a voice that matches your brand and content that will inspire your visitors to take action.

Front and Center “So What” Factor

You want your site visitors to know from the second they visit your site what you are all about and what you can do for them. I call this the “so what” factor, and it should be front and center.

Calls to Action Align with Goals

Your goals and focus likely change periodically. Make sure your calls to action are in alignment with your current goals so your site works with your business. For example, if your current goal is to sell a specific package, find ways to highlight that and ask people to make a purchase.

Fresh, Professional Design

People judge your business based on your website. Make sure it is fresh, professional and uncluttered so people will see your business as one that is a resource they can depend on.

Simple Subscription Form

If you use email marketing, make sure your subscription form is simple, easy to use and only asks for relevant information. If you don’t use email marketing, look into what it can do for your business this year.

Strategic Blog

Does your blog help you reach your goals? Set up a content calendar so your blog posts help you reach your market and brand your business in a way that brings results.

Sharing Buttons

Your blog posts and other resources on your site should have sharing buttons so people can easily post your content to their social media accounts. This single feature can help you build your online presence and get more visitors to your site.

Optimized Site and Copy

When your site is optimized with meta tags and descriptions and copy that has keywords and links, your pages are more likely to appear higher up on search results, helping potential customers find you.

Take some time to look at these aspects of your website and determine what areas you can improve this year so your site better represents your business and helps you promote your services.

Of course, your list may include more items depending on your business and goals. What are some things you consider essential to a business website? What have you seen success with?

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Rachel CoolRachel Cool has a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has experience working in public relations, journalism, Internet marketing and search engine optimization.

Rachel’s passion is writing and she loves helping brands tell their stories, reach their markets and influence their audiences. She feels that a business’ copy, whether it is online or print, is an integral part of its marketing and communications strategies.

When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to cook and get lost in a mystery novel. She also likes to get competitive over a good card or board game, watch movies, fish and spend time outside.

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