We have a window next to our front door with a crack in it. It started out as a tiny crack, and when my husband first noticed it, he said “I should fix that window.” I try to stay out of home maintenance (much like he doesn’t install printers or configure backup drives) so I nodded “Yeah, sure.”
A few months later, the crack was a bit longer. A few years later, the crack is much longer. The glass functions; it’s not drafty or anything. But it’s a crack. In our front window.
What would it take to fix the crack? About 6 hours and maybe $30: some research online about how to do it, a trip to the home improvement store for supplies and probably at least one new tool, and the time and energy to actually implement the fix.
Or… we could call the neighborhood handyman or google for a repair service. It might end up costing two or three times as much in dollars but far less time and energy.
The real reason that window hasn’t been fixed yet isn’t time or money: we don’t really think about the crack anymore. We’re so used to it that neither of us really notices it until we’re about to have guests or we’re (read: he’s) washing windows for the Spring.
When you own a home (or anything with lots of complicated pieces to it), there is always something with a crack in it. Your online presence is no different. It’s so easy to create a web site now – or a Twitter profile or a Facebook business page – that we tend to set it and forget it.
Then you hear from someone: “I sent someone to your site but they weren’t really sure what you do.” This just happened to me! I struggle as much as the next person with this issue. And I thought about my cracks. The bits that I just stop noticing until the guests are on their way over. And then it’s really too late to implement the fix that I know would improve the situation.
So please don’t feel bad if you recognize yourself in this, too. We all have cracks and always will. I call it “presence blindness.” When we do start noticing all the cracks, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin.
But here’s the good news: you really can break it down into manageable bits so that you can start fixing those cracks, ever so slowly but ever so effectively. Think of it as annual spring cleaning.
Make that list of cracks and start ticking through them, even one per week – or hire the handyman/copywriter/graphic designer/photographer who can help you spruce up more quickly. These things will pay off fast!
Still feeling overwhelmed? Break it down into just three things:
- Assess what the crack is.
- Make a plan to fix it.
- Implement the fix and celebrate your progress.
Here’s a checklist to help you spruce up your whole website.
- Make a list of your site’s pages.
Download the spreadsheet to give you a jumpstart on identifying key pages on your website, e.g. Home, About, Services, FAQ, Testimonials, Contact.
- Review your text.
Read it carefully. Is it up to date? Is it tightly focused so that visitors can clearly know what you can help them with? Is it formatted in a way that is friendly for online readers?
- Check your images.
Is your personal photo up to date? Does it still look like the real you? Are the other graphics on your pages consistently branded with your color palette and strong thematic elements?
- Assess your conversion strategy.
Every page can benefit from having a call to action: an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter, an offer, a freebie, whatever works in the context of the page. Don’t make visitors guess about what to do next; make it easy for them to stay connected with you.
- Drill down on easily neglected spots.
Check your things like your copyright and your legal pages. An out of date copyright notice can telegraph “out of business.”
- Step back and look at the bigger picture and flow of your site and your brand.
What about your navigation? Your freebies? Are things coherent with how you want to be known?
For each crack you find, just record it at first. Then think about how you want to fix it or get help with it. The trick is to NOT get overwhelmed by the volume but to start. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with your home page, then services, then your about page. Those are the three that are usually the most brittle in my experience. The spreadsheet will help you enormously by breaking it down into small chunks that you can assess with less risk of feeling overwhelmed.
If you’re really stuck, and especially if you’re unsure about how to fix things, ask a friend who is online marketing savvy to lend their eye or hire someone who can help you with the assessment.
Then DO celebrate as you start fixing your cracks. You’ll be feeling great next time guests drop by.
Did I miss any types of cracks? Please let me know in the comments and I’ll keep updating the checklist online. If you have questions about how to do this assessment or making a plan for fixing the cracks, I’d love to discuss that in the comments, too.
image credit: uberculture