10 Tips to Improve Your Website in 2016

By eleventy marketing group

Website Design TipsThe New Year is a great time to revisit those marketing and branding efforts that slipped through the cracks in previous months because of time, budget, or other priorities. One such effort collecting dust on the to-do lists of many organizations: a website redesign.

Don’t let your website sit stagnant for another year. Use the New Year as a launching point to create a plan and a deadline for updating your site. Like so many things in life and business, the hardest part is simply getting started.

To help guide you on your quest—and give you a few things to think about as you map out your new and improved website—here’s a checklist to help make your site the best it can possibly be.

Checklist: 10 Ways to Make Your Website More Modern & Effective

If you’re thinking about updating your organization’s website in the coming year, here are 10 tips to make your site more modern and effective:

1. Make It More Visual

Today’s websites have moved away from a text-heavy look to a much more visual one. Take a look around at some newer sites and you’ll find large, vibrant images occupying a significant amount of page real estate. Incorporate clear, crisp and high-impact images for your site that (and this is important) present the key message of the page in a striking way.

2. Get Responsive

With so much Web traffic coming from mobile devices today, there’s no reason that EVERY website shouldn’t be responsive (meaning that it adjusts to fit the size of the screen the user is viewing it on). Add on top of that the fact that Google started factoring responsiveness into its search rankings this year, and this is an absolute website must.

3. Integrate Video

Another visual component you may want to consider on your site is the use of video. As long as it plays fast and looks good, video can make a nice supplement to your content. For example: On your About page, maybe instead of talking about how beneficial your company is you can include a video that shows it.

4. Reduce Your Content

Going along with the more visual style of today’s Web is a reduction in the amount of text that fills up the page. Yes, you still want content that tells your story and why what you do is important and beneficial to visitors—you just want to do it in fewer words. That means being more clear and concise, and choosing impact verbs over extra adjectives. You may be surprised just how much better your content reads when you boil it down to the essential.

5. Use White Space

As any good designer will tell you, white space is a huge visual asset—making web pages infinitely more digestible and less frenetic and distracting. While your initial instinct may be to cram the kitchen sink into every page of your website, consider keeping a good amount of white space so the images and content have room to breath. Your visitors will love you for it.

Apple's website offers a great example of how to use white space

6. Simplify Your Navigation

Can a person find any page they would reasonably be looking for on your website in five seconds or less? If not, then you may need to simplify your navigation. The first thing you want to do is keep it from being overloaded. But you’ll also want to make sure you have clear labels that let people know exactly what’s in each section.

7. Eliminate the Excess

It’s time to do away with those lingering website novelties from years past that can drive visitors crazy. We’re talking about things like pop-ups (people mostly view them as a nuisance), audio that automatically plays on your site (unless you’re in the music industry, this is jarring and unnecessary), or contact forms with too many fields (name, email, and maybe a general message field will usually do the trick).

8. Add Meta Data

Meta data is content about your website that sits behind the scenes for search engines, social media, and other tools to read. This is valuable because it can help your site get more clicks and visits from people interested in what you’re doing. You’ll want to make sure to add meta titles and descriptions for each and every page of your website. *If you have a WordPress site, we highly recommend the plugin SEO by Yoast, which makes adding meta data a breeze.

Make sure to include meta titles and descritpions on all pages of your website

9. Reinvent Your Blog

Have you been meaning to add a blog to your site for years, but, you know…? Or has your blog simply fallen by the wayside in recent months? A website update is a great time to rethink your blog. Specifically, think about how you can format your blog so it will be easy to write and grab people’s interest. Maybe it’s talking about a different news story each week, or exploring a single stat, or sharing personal stories about the ways your nonprofit is making a difference.

10. Test, Adjust, Repeat

The great thing about the Web is fixes can be made fairly quickly. Make sure to get some people outside of your organization—preferably in your target audience—to test drive your site. They can tell you what they like and what drives them nuts about it. If one person tells you they don’t like something on your site, consider reworking it; if two people tell you they don’t like something, get rid of it immediately. The more you test, the better your site will be.

Good luck updating your website. If you need some help, let us know!