The new year is a great time to freshen your website. Everyone is focused on improving themselves, and your main source of communication with your readers deserves nothing less. The good thing about a website refresh is that it won’t lose the new look you bring to it–unlike some people’s New Year’s resolutions! Try these suggestions and see if visitors don’t approve.
- Improve your bounce rate.
The bounce rate is the percentage in your site analytics report of visitors who leave the homepage without going elsewhere on your site. Although bounce rate is often touted as a very important statistic, it’s not the only one of importance. But it does give a snapshot of how interesting your readers find your site. Find out your bounce rate by going to Google Analytics or other analytics tool. It will usually be listed first or be prominent on your analytics tool’s dashboard. A lower bounce rate means people who visit stay longer and look at more information on your site. A high bounce rate means they glance and move on. The suggestions below will help you improve this statistic.
- Change your theme.
My tastes change over time, and I’m sure your readers’ tastes do too. If you’ve had your current theme for more than a year, it’s definitely time for a change. Consider a more modern look and feel. I recently changed my web theme to one of those infinite scrolls designs. Now, a new theme doesn’t always guarantee improved bounce rate. I’m afraid my infinite scroll has raised my bounce rate. Change out the theme and see how your bounce rate fares. If it helps, great! If not, try something new.
- Change your photos.
One of the rules of thumb about web design is that people love to see photos of people. What kinds of photos do you have on your site? Be sure they’re good quality, with good composition. If you don’t have any of your own, join a stock photo site. Don’t grab images from a Google search; assume images are copyrighted unless they specifically say they are in the public domain and may be used freely.
- Write new content.
Make sure your blog is up-to-date if your homepage displays blog entries. Nothing says, “Neglected website” like months- or years-old dates on blog posts. But don’t forget about your other pages as well. Have you published a new book? Spoken at an event? Spruce up your static pages by either changing the wording, adding new photos of yourself, or updating your accomplishments. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that information will go out of date, or can be phrased in a different way.
Good luck and hope the new year treats you well! Happy writing!