Well, January has come and gone, and 2017 has definitely arrived with a bang, which means it might be time for a new website – or at least some updates to your current one!

Let’s assume you’re going to do some amazing things this year, so before you get too swamped with new clients and projects, take a look at these quick tips to boost your website in 2017!

1. Install an SSL certificate

Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a technology used to secure and encrypt communication between computers. In other words, it helps keep sensitive information on your website incredibly secure.

If you’ve done any online shopping in your time, you may be familiar with the little green padlock and https:// in the website’s address bar. This is so any information entered into a page on your site (passwords, credit card information, banking credentials) remains safe.

Why does it matter? In case you haven’t heard, Google will start showing scary red warning pages on sites without an SSL certificate this year. That means it’s definitely something that needs to be on your radar, and the sooner you add it, the better.

As an added bonus however, it has also been mentioned that websites with SSL certificates will take preference in search results over their non-secure counterparts, a great way to give your site an extra rankings boost over those competitors.

On our new super fast WordPress optimised Website Boss servers, we can set this up for monthly maintenance clients FREE of charge, so there’s really no reason not to!

If you’d like to learn more about our monthly maintenance packages, securing your site or moving over to our new lightning fast WordPress hosting, you can learn more here.

2. Improve your site’s SEO

These days, nearly everyone has their very own website. It’s great that more and more people are getting online, but it also means that your content has a lot of competition! So, how do you help your site climb to the top of the charts? One of the best ways to make your site stand out is to establish a solid SEO plan.

Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done. Best practices can frequently change and search engines update their algorithms, but there are a few ways to prep your WordPress site to make sure it’s always a step ahead of the competition. Hint: remember SSL from tip no. 1?!

If you’ve already dipped your toe into SEO and have recently reviewed and optimised your website content and have started a blog, but are struggling to keep up your weekly blog articles, then you might like to check out Content Boss, our blog content and optimisation service.

Ready to be at the top of search engine results? Start with these seven tips!

3. Refresh the theme of your site

There’s no better time than the new year to start working on a new design for your site. Whether it’s a full redesign or a few simple layout changes, take a moment this year to revamp your website.

Some things to consider:

  • Do you need to add (or remove) any content? Think old portfolio items, landing pages, contact information, out of date content etc.
  • Do you have opt-ins strategically placed? Make sure it’s easy for people to sign up for your email list, if that’s part of your marketing strategy.
  • Does the design fit your current aesthetic? If it’s been a while since your last site design, your personal writing style, logos, packages, or business location might have changed a bit. Make sure your website reflects your current business.
  • Does your theme work well on mobiles? Recently the iPhone 7 was released and new devices are appearing all the time, as technology evolves so does the need for your website to keep up – perhaps some mobile website updates are in order?

Whether you decide to make a few little tweaks or some major layout changes, we are here to help. Simply contact our new support email and one of our support team will direct your request.

4. Enhance your site’s security

Have you changed your login passwords lately? Do you have pending plugin or theme updates? Little details like this often go undetected by most business owners, but they can weaken your site’s security. Before you get too far into the new year, it’s best to do a little housekeeping to make sure your site’s defenses are good to go.

Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Create new, strong passwords for your user login
  • Avoid obvious WordPress usernames
  • Update themes, plugins, and the WordPress core
  • Uninstall inactive themes and plugins
  • Uninstall themes or plugins that you don’t actually need
  • Make sure you’ve got a quality WordPress host

For most website owners, these tasks can be overwhelming and confusing, and can often lead to a broken website. We have created a selection of great Website Security & Maintenance plans so that we take care of everything and you can focus on what you do best, your business.

5. Make it look good on mobile

Mobile usage is growing at an astronomical rate, and one thing is clear: ignore it and you’ll lose visitors.

A recent study showed Mobile users now outnumber those accessing the Internet via their desktops, but mobile users and desktop users are very different beasts.

Mobile users are, well, mobile. Which means they’re seeking instant gratification, whether that’s to browse your store, purchase your services, find out some information, or read the news. Time is of the essence; if they can’t find what they want immediately, they’ll disappear to the website of your main competitors.

Desktop visitors are more likely to browse and read detailed information about your product or services.

When you look at your website on a mobile, do you show users just the information they’re likely to need on the go or do you bombard them with information and images that take time to load and clutter the screen?

6. Create an exceptional eCommerce experience

If you’ve got big plans to grow your business in 2017, it’s best to plan ahead to make sure your eCommerce site is ready to handle the surge of shoppers.

Start with the simple things like updating product descriptions, taking new photos, and making sure your contact information is up to date.

Once you’ve got that squared away, you can move onto the harder stuff, such as optimizing performance, designing a super smooth checkout experience, and minimizing code.

7. Speed up your site

Nobody likes a slow website, and that’s especially true for your visitors. You have on average 3 seconds to grab their attention before they leave your site!

If your content takes a long time to load, you’re missing out on potential clients while also losing credibility.

If things are looking a little sluggish, chances are that:

– A sketchy plugin is slowing things down
– Assets aren’t being cached at the server level (or at all)
– There are pending updates to your site
– Images on your site are GIANT (this is most common)
– Your hosting provider just isn’t getting the job done (cheap hosts put lots of websites together on one server)

Most of these can be avoided if you’re on our Monthly Maintenance Package where we backup your site each week, check your content and forms and ensure your website is upgraded to all the latest, fastest and most secure versions.

Conclusion

That’s it!

We hope you found this little list useful, please leave any questions or comments on the post in Facebook and we’ll answer them as soon as we can. All the best to an amazing 2017!

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