It’s a must every year or two: Re-freshing your company’s website. Since our heads have been attending to website improvement, we’ve created a round-up of things everyone who is doing a site re-fresh should know.

The Hook

Make sure you have a hook on the homepage since you have less than three seconds to capture viewers’ attention. Using a short video loop will draw people into your site and help move them down the home page. Of course, our strategic content studio needs video on the front page (see left) since that’s the crux of our business, but most businesses will benefit from using a very short video on a loop, or rotating images for their first impression. You’ll want to make sure that your website platform can handle the video’s size, but many website builders can.

The important letters of HTTPS

Businesses must make the switch to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) for their website in 2018. Google has promised that this July’s release of Chrome will flag all non-HTTPS sites as not secure, which means secure websites will be heavily favored. Since making the original announcement in 2014, Google has pushed HTTPS more and more each year so now it is a legitimate ranking factor. In an HTTPS site, communication is encrypted so data or information sent to and from your website is secure. If you have a website and you want to generate leads, make sales, or just tell people about your business, you need a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to make your website HTTPS compliant. An SSL is a small investment for any business. Properly implementing and maintaining an SSL will cost you only a couple hundred bucks a year. Plus for your customers, it tells them that your website is secure and that any information they share with you on that website will be secure.

Responsive Design–Mobile Friendly

Make sure that your website was created using responsive design as this is the best way to rank highly in our current mobile-first world. Mobile-first is a change by Google so that their index crawls pages on mobile, first. To be clear, Google will continue to have one index, but will crawl mobile versions of webpages and base the index for both mobile and desktop off these mobile crawls. If your website currently uses responsive design, there’s nothing you need to do to adapt to the change. You will, though, want to think of the phrase “mobile-first” as a reference to the fact that the mobile version will be considered the primary version of your website.

Fun, Discoverable Content

Whatever your type of business, there’s no reason that the navigation and presentation of your content should feel boring or stuffy. Use a template that rewards people visually for clicking through and discovering areas of your site. On our new site, the big, visual boxes on the home page of project examples, beg to be clicked on and discovered. When you think of how you structure your content, give people options on how to consume it. It’s not only about people’s preferences, but where they are in the buying cycle. Very often when people first come to your site to get a sense of your product or service, they’ll want to watch a video. Since it couples sight and sound for the highest sensory experience, people choose video more often than text. A Forbes Insights survey reported that 59% of senior executives would prefer to watch a video than read text. Even with people’s love of video, when you embed that video on your site, give a written transcript of the piece. Transcripts are on our list of Phase 2 items for our new site!

A Blog That’s Deep, Not Wide

At this stage, many, many websites have blogs with a dedicated influencer, or influencers who write original content. However, with all of the internet’s clutter of low value content, experts agree that having a blog on your site that provides deep, rich 2000+ word content on a topic less frequently is more important than writing more shorter, lower value blog posts. In fact, Google has dropped hints about favoring in-depth content by providing it a special place in its search results over short-form content.

Since it took you awhile to write it, show that valuable blog content on your website’s front page to show your expertise and provide people with helpful information. These long blog posts serve as an anchor for your site’s content. Readers of your content, who are probably newcomers to an area of business since they’re reading long blog posts, will know where to start to dive in deeply.

What are your website musts for a re-fresh? Let us know.