10 website fixes you must do TODAY

November 19, 2012 •

This is a guest-post from the fabulous and glamorous Kate Toon, a Sydney SEO copywriter and SEO consultant. Are you guilty of any of the mistakes she mentions? (I bet you are! 😉  Over to Kate…

I’ve been building websites since 1996. In those days we were chuffed that they weren’t in black and white and, if there was an animated gif involved, we pretty much wet ourselves with excitement.

Obviously things have progressed since then so I find it shocking, and a little depressing, that so many business websites still don’t address the most basic requirements.

Here are a list of simple fixes and changes you should do right now:

1. Write a decent ‘About’ section

Your customers want to know the ‘who, what and why’ of your business.

Who you are: Include biographical detail about your company’s founders and staff. Try to include a little personal detail (do you hang-glide at the weekend or own a pet pig?)

What is your business all about: What do you stand for? What do you care about? What community activities are you involved in?

Why you started: Why did you start your business? Why are you different and why should we care?

2. Include a Google map

Include both your business address and a Google map on your website (and make that thumbnail map clickable through to a bigger version). If you are located down an alleyway or in a block of businesses, perhaps even include some photos to help first-time visitors find you.

3. Make your contact number clearer

Your logo should be at the top left, and your ‘phone number in the top right, of your website header. Simple. Don’t make it hard for people to contact you.

4. Proofread your copy

That typo on your HOME PAGE is off-putting. Fix it. Now.

5. Remove the rules

If you have a login, then don’t set a million restrictions (character limits, not allowing special characters, at least one number, capital, etc.). It’s frustrating for users who may have a set password they like to use. If you are going to set rules, tell people what they are BEFORE they enter their password not after they’ve typed it in.

6. Ensure access all areas

Accessibility is a big word with a lot of things to think about, but at the very least, make sure users can change the font size, that the contrast between the background and the text is obvious, and that all images have a explanatory ALT tag.

7. Get with the times

No flash intros, no ticker tapes and no animated gifs.

8. Hire a photographer

Be sure to buy all your images; don’t steal them from other sites (again sounds obvious but you’d be surprised). Buy some credit from a site like iStock, or if you can afford it, pay for a professional photographer to take some high quality imagery specifically for your business.

9. Make it mobile

You don’t need to build a specific mobile website, but you must make sure your site at least renders properly and is readable and is usable on smartphones and tablet devices. If you’re using WordPress there are a number of plugins that help make your site more phone friendly.

10. Get social

Every page should have a means by which customers can share your content on the various social media sites.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of possible changes, it should give your website a little kick up the bum. Once you’ve got the basics locked down you can breathe easier and prepare to tackle all the complicated stuff!

Share your thoughts

What are your tips and advice for getting the basics write on a business website? Why not share them below?

Who is Kate Toon?

Kate is an award-winning SEO and advertising copywriter with over 18 years’ experience. She’s also a well-respected SEO consultant, information architect, strategist, hula hooper and CremeEgg-lover based in Sydney, Australia.

Feel free to comment...
comment avatar
Matt Brennan wrote on November 27th, 2012

Excellent post. So many of these are just stopping points for readers. I love that the about copy is number one. It's an absolute must anymore!

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Chris wrote on November 28th, 2012

Hello Kate. Brilliant article thanks for sharing. I felt much better when most of what you listed I had already done on my website, but I see the value in explaining the little things. I mean, who wants to visit bad websites? thanks!! Chris

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Diane Whiteley wrote on January 10th, 2013

Hello Kate. Thanks for the tips. I am just about to write copy for my 'soon to be live' website and had been hearing conflicting advice (from friends) about sharing personal information on the website and other content. Your tips resonated with me as simple common-sense guidelines and just what I needed to hear at this very moment. Cheers Diane

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Darryl wrote on January 29th, 2013

Hi Kate, Valuable post! 10 things you mentioned are must and obvious for all kind of websites. Among these proofreading, remove the rules(at least keep them open), and make it mobile are the top ones. Thanks for sharing great thoughts.

comment avatar
Kate Toon Copywriter (@katetooncopy) wrote on March 4th, 2013

Huge apologies for the late reply to these lovely responses. I didn't know they were here! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. And best of luck with your websites!

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