Everyone is doing spring cleaning. It is the season of renewal and people love sprucing up their houses with a fresh coat of paint or by getting rid of clutter. And this is something every business should do, as well – both in stores and offices and on their official websites. So, today we will share with you how to tackle spring cleaning for your website.
If you wonder if it is really necessary, the answer is generally yes. Unless you have just launched a new company website, chances are that it contains unnecessary or outdated elements that slow it down.
Spring Cleaning Is a Great Opportunity to Tweak Your Site
Also, spring cleaning for your website means making any changes that you have planned for the year, such as a new layout, a new colour palette or a new brand image. Your customers are more likely to embrace the new image of your company around this time of the year, when they are also spring cleaning their homes.
Thus, it is a win-win for all types of purposes, including:
- Speeding up your site
- Implementing new requirements for SEO ranking
- Giving your website a fresh, modern look.
Before You Begin: Back Up Your Data!
Now, there is always the chance of something going wrong as you are spring cleaning your website. You may delete a page or a set of photos that you did not mean to. It would be a hassle to look them up and re-upload them.
This is why, as a basic rule, before you make any significant changes on your website, remember to back up the data, preferably in the cloud. Physical devices such as computers, external hard drives or USB sticks can malfunction without any notice and you lose everything stored on them.
After you do this, it is time to start spring cleaning for your website. These are the things you must do:
1. Check for and Correct Broken Links
Broken links happen constantly on websites. In most of the cases we’ve encountered, site owners decide to optimise the URL of a page with a new keyword, or they realise the URL was not optimised at all.
However, once they make this change, they do not apply it on any other links on the site pointing to that specific page. This happens with product pages, which may need new keywords. Meanwhile, blog posts linking back to the product will give the user a 404: Page Not Found error message.
Thus, the first thing you need to do when spring cleaning for your website is to find all the broken links and fix them. You can use this free tool to find the problems and decide what to do about them:
- Recreate the link with the new URL
- Remove the anchor text.
2. Remove Obsolete Content
Obsolete content is cumbersome, useless and can even hurt your SEO ranking. Google is increasingly proactive in identifying and penalising sites that publish false or misleading information.
In some cases, obsolete content can give users the wrong idea and cause them serious harm or financial losses. This issue is extremely serious if your line of business is in the so-called YMYL category (your money or your life) which is even more closely scrutinised by Google.
The category includes domains such as:
- Legal information
Thus, keeping obsolete content and pages may lead to serious penalties, which will take a long time and lots of efforts to reverse.
3. Spruce Up Images
Now, we talked about giving your site a fresh new look as part of the spring cleaning. The best way of doing it without affecting the theme, layout or key branding elements is by replacing photos with new ones.
For example, try to replace all the stock photos on the website with original, branded images. They will give your site a more authentic look and will help you reinforce the brand image among consumers.
Since you are doing it as spring cleaning for your website, consider the visual content on each page. In some cases, you may want to add one more photo to break up a very long text. In other cases, removing one or several graphic elements will make the page look cleaner, with sufficient white space.
4. Audit Plugins and Widgets on Your Site
Plugins and widgets help you personalise your website and offer your visitors useful tools, such as:
- The weather forecast
- A calculator for anything from body mass index to mortgage rates
- The time in various cities across the world.
However, these widgets and plugins bloat up your website and slow down its loading speed. Worse, some of them have not been updated by their developers for some time and are vulnerable to hackers. You do not want to give your customers viruses on their devices from an infected plugin, right?
Thus, take the time to analyse:
- If you really need the widget or plugin
- If it is up to date
- If it is still maintained by the developer.
In many cases, after updating the CMS, such as WordPress, will get an alert that some plugins were disabled because they are no longer compatible with the platform.
5. Update the Content Where Necessary
Content is also included in spring cleaning for your website. You should separate all the content on your blog in three categories:
- Evergreen content – topics that will always be of interest to your audience
- Time sensitive content – topics related to a specific moment or event
- High-performing content – pages that have a lot of traffic on a constant basis.
There is not much you can do about time sensitive content. You can choose to leave it there or delete it. However, evergreen and high-performing content must be kept relevant.
Here are a few ideas:
- Add more recent statistical data
- Add new items to listicle articles
- Create a summary at the top of the article and include a few new ideas.
6. Optimise and Compress Photos and Videos
Since you are doing spring cleaning for your website, you should make sure that it meets the latest Google ranking requirements. Thus, you will have two different tasks to complete in this instance:
- Find large files – photos and videos – and compress them to a smaller size
- Optimise photos and videos with the relevant keyword.
At the present, Google will display photos and videos as separate results for queries. Thus, you cannot pass on the opportunity of ranking higher than your competitors not through written content, but through audio/video media.
7. Check that the Site Is Mobile Friendly
Last, but not least, it is imperiously necessary for your website to be optimised for mobile browsing. Starting with 2022, Google uses the mobile first indexing method, so any site that does not offer a good browsing experience on mobile devices may not show up in search result.
This simple Google tool shows you how your site performs both on mobile devices and on desktops and offers detailed insights about the page experience factors. You will also get helpful tips to correct any errors.
Spring cleaning for your website is something you should do every year. As design trends and Google rules change, you must keep up with them. Also, sites accumulate a lot of clutter over one year of adding, editing or deleting content.
We hope this simple guide is helpful and you will be able to present your visitors a fresh look, fast page loading speed and up to date brand image!