Your guide to a successful online business!

You’re busy running a business, perhaps even more than one business so it’s to be expected that sometimes things fall by the wayside. But if one of the things that you’ve been neglecting is your business website, then you need to put things right as a matter of urgency.

Why? Because a neglected website gives the wrong impression to potential customers who might think your website has been abandoned and your business has closed. On top of that, because Google likes websites that publish fresh content on a regular basis, a neglected website can also harm your search engine rankings.

So if you have neglected your website, here are the areas you’ll probably need to look at and update to make sure you don’t put people off.

Product pages

If you’re an ecommerce business that has neglected its product pages, then things can’t get much worse. If you have outdated pages for products that you no longer sell, then you need to stop people visiting them as quickly as possible. Why? Because people who can’t find what they want from your site straight away, they’re going to head elsewhere. Also, if you’re spending money through advertising to get people to those pages then that money is just going down the drain.

You need to redirect these old product pages as soon as possible. You can learn more about doing that in this guide from Woo Themes.

Even if you don’t have product pages for items you no longer sell, you still need to make sure the details on your product pages are accurate. Take the time to audit all product pages on your site and edit any information that is outdated.

Finally, even if your product pages are performing reasonably well and you’re making regular sales, that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements to be made. Try reading about A/B testing and how that can be used to improve pages, as well as looking into specific tips for improving the way your product pages are laid out.

Not up dating your product pages will leave customers feeling like this

Not up dating your product pages will leave customers feeling like this

Lead generation pages

If you’re not selling directly through your website, but are instead getting people to contact you through your website so you can follow up and close the deal, then your lead generation page is going to be the most important part of your site.

Again, if you’ve neglected this page it’s going to have a significant detrimental effect on the way your business performs. If the page isn’t functioning as it should, or there is outdated information on there you need to fix it as quickly as possible.

If your site was built using WordPress, you’ll be able to quickly add a form using a plugin like Contact Form 7, or If you’ve built it using the 123-reg Website Builder then you’ll easily be able to add or edit the contact form. If you can change your lead generation page yourself, then you’ll be able to quickly put right any problems and it’ll be easier to keep on top of thing in the future.

However, if you can’t easily edit your website then things won’t be as easy. Employing a web designer just to make some small amendments to your lead generation page might not be worthwhile. By all means get a quote and see how much it will cost you, but it might be quicker, easier and cheaper to rebuild the site yourself. That might sound complicated, but 123-reg’s Website Builder allows you to import your existing website so you can build on that rather than having to start from scratch.

And of course a working lead generation page isn’t a perfect lead generation page. In fact, there’s probably no such thing as a perfect lead generation page. What’s important is that you regularly try to improve your lead generation page because doing so will help you increase the number of sales you make. As with product pages, it’s important to A/B test any changes you make.

Homepage

A neglected homepage is a huge red flag for potential customers. If the first thing people are greeted with when they explore your site is a homepage that hasn’t been updated for months or even years, then they’re going to worry that you’re no longer in business. You don’t need to update your homepage every day or even every week, but you do need to keep track of design trends so your homepage and site as a whole don’t look outdated.

You should also consider adding some dynamic content to your homepage – something that you can easily update without too much effort. If you’re active on either Facebook or Twitter, you can embed your social media posts on your homepage. That way, people will be able to see you’re still active and in business without you having to update your homepage itself.

Alternatively, if you’re using the 123-reg Website Builder, you can use inSites to add dynamic content to your site. You can learn more about inSites in this support article.

About Us/Contact page

If your site has an about us and/or a contact page, you may think that they’re not that important to your overall website. And although it’s true that you won’t need to update these pages all that often, if you neglect them altogether then you could be in for trouble.

Why? Well, firstly about us and contact pages are one of the first places potential customers look to see if a business is legitimate. Even if you don’t have a physical shop that customers can visit, an address and telephone number reassures people because it means that you’ll be easy to contact if things do go wrong. It also allows people to get in touch with you if there’s anything they want to check before they buy. If that information is missing or out of date, then not only do you lose that element of trust, but you actually start to look like you might have gone out of business.

Secondly there are search engine optimisation (SEO) considerations. One of the cornerstones of local SEO is using a consistent name, address and phone number (NAP) across your site and the wider web. This helps Google determine where your business is located, in turn this helps people find your business when they make a search. If your NAP is wrong or missing, you’ll find it much harder to rank in local search results. If you want to know more about local SEO then you can check out our guide here.

The bottom line for these kinds of pages though is to keep the information on them accurate and up to date.

Accurate information is vital if you want to appear in local searches like this

Accurate information is vital if you want to appear in local searches like this

Blog

So you started a blog with the best of intentions and now you haven’t written a post in 18 months. It’s a familiar story. Blogs are great – they help customers learn more about what you do, they can be used to solve problems potential customers face, increasing your chances of making a sale and they can help with SEO.

But a neglected blog is probably worse than no blog at all. A blog that isn’t updated on a regular basis gives the wrong impression to potential customers and could have fewer SEO benefits than one which publishes new posts.

So what can you do?

The nuclear option is just to remove the blog altogether. Quite how dramatic a step this is depends on the number of posts you’ve published. If you only wrote a handful of posts before giving up then it’s not such of a big deal. If, however, you wrote hundreds of posts then you should think twice before getting rid of them completely. If you do decide to remove your blog, it’s important not to just delete things – use redirects for SEO reasons. You can learn more about redirects and SEO in part four of this guide.

If you don’t want to just get rid of your blog, you could think about repurposing the content on your blog. If, for example, you created a series of tips post, you could combine these into a comprehensive how to guide and create a specific landing page to post that content on. (Done properly, this could even generate leads.) Once you’ve repurposed all the content you can on the blog, removing it will become a much smaller step.

Of course, you could always start blogging again. If you decide to do this, you’ll need to draw up a plan and stick to it otherwise you’ll just end up neglecting the blog again. Don’t feel like you have to blog every day, or that every post you make has to be thousands of words long. You could blog just once a week and write an in-depth post every fourth week. As long as people can see that your blog is updated to a schedule, they’ll know it’s not neglected. You can get more tips on blogging for business in this guide.

However, if you decide that blogging isn’t for you after all, you can check out some alternatives to blogging in this post.

Keeping on top of things

Once you’ve dealt with the neglected areas of your website, it’s important not to get into the same position again. You should check your site at least once a month to make sure that you’re updating everything you need to. That can just be a casual look at the most important pages as outlined above, but you should also take an in-depth look at your site as a whole at least once a year to make sure nothing slips past.

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