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Website Spring Cleaning Tips from Fathom’s Writers

By | April 19, 2013

Spring has sprung in Cleveland, and you can tell by the swaying temperatures that go from sunroof to snow shovel in the span of a week. This time of year is ideal for getting out in the yard to prepare flowerbeds for summer’s blooms, and cleaning out closets as you pack away sweaters and hang up your capris. It’s also a great time for cleaning up your website, checking for blatant errors and those coding cobwebs that you’ve let sit far too long.

My tip for businesses looking to clean up their online presence is to create high-quality, “evergreen” content that is valuable to readers. You can help boost search engine rankings and conversions by creating quality blog posts, useful articles for your resource section, and videos that show how to use your product or service. Give your prospective customers what they’re looking for. Never take your eye off quality in exchange for quantity.

Today our team of content superheroes offers their tips for sprucing up your site to maximize its full potential:

Haley Hite, Copywriter
Tip: Get rid of text clutter: break up large paragraphs into smaller ones, use bullet points, delete unnecessary words, break up long pages into two pages.
Many people don’t want to have to read through giant paragraphs to find the information they need. Make it easier for them while making your site look cleaner and less-cluttered by getting rid of those massive paragraphs of text. Delete unnecessary words, shorten sentences, add bullets to draw the eye to important information, or create new pages if your current pages are too long. If you want your visitors to find what they’re looking for, make it possible by not overwhelming them with too much text.

Karen Cover, Copywriter
Tip: Clean your Web pages from top to bottom
Spring cleaning usually means cleaning your house from top to bottom. Why not use the same approach to clean your website? You can start by evaluating the information above the fold on each page. Another top-to-bottom approach is to figure out which issues are high priority and which are low priority. Consider these questions:

• Is it clear what the purpose of this page is?
• Does the H1 tag include the primary keyword?
• Does the header have a call to action?
• Is the header cluttered with unnecessary graphics or text?
• Do the visuals draw the user’s eyes down the page?
• Is the copy engaging enough to make users scroll down?
• Can users quickly find what they are looking for?
• Is the top navigation clear and easy to use?

The above questions are easy to answer and address, and they’re quick wins that can have an impact. Don’t forget to take a look over the whole page to identify any major messes that need to be cleaned soon.

Caroline Bogart, Content Onboarding & Training Leader
Tip: Make sure CTAs on pages are aligned with where someone is in the buying cycle.
Evaluate the content on your Web pages and determine whether or not you’re using the right call to action for the page content. If the content is geared towards someone in early in the buying cycle, stick to a call to action that entices someone to get more information. If the content is towards the end of the buying cycle, your call to action should be to request a quote or to make a purchase.

Rob Hosler, Senior Copywriter
Tip: Check for keywords that are no longer “in fashion”
Just like last year’s spring wardrobe, your website’s keywords may no longer be in fashion. And those once-popular words and phrases, the ones driving all that traffic to your website, may have gone the way of pegged pants and the 8-track player. If traffic is down and you don’t know why, read through your website’s content, looking for outdated and non-relevant terminology. You will want to pay particular attention to products that are no longer popular, references to industry trends that have lost their sizzle, and headlines that are old and stale. One way to test a suspected keyword of being outdated is to enter the phrase into Google’s Keyword Finder. This free AdWords tool will shed some insight into just how often that particular word is being searched. It will even offer a suggestion for alternative keywords and phrases.

Angela Verlei, Senior Content Strategist
Tip: Update your blog … if you’ve fallen behind or off-track use this as a chance for a fresh start. Create an editorial calendar and stick to it.
If you can’t commit to blogging regularly, try to get others involved. Share responsibilities and topics with your co-workers. Create a weekly schedule in advance so you aren’t struggling to generate topic ideas on the spot. When creating your editorial calendar, keep in mind holidays, current events, industry trends and news updates.

Jennifer Daddario, Copywriter
Tip: Clean It Up
Take a close look at each and every page on your website, and do some cleaning up. You may be surprised at all of the outdated information that still lives on your site. The news page with press releases and others news from your company is typically the biggest violator of having outdated content. Remove any press releases or blurbs that are older than two years.

Also, take the time to closely read every sentence on every page. Does the content still use the voice you want for your company? Does it reference products/services no longer offered? Treat your website like a closet you want to spring clean: don’t be afraid to get rid of or repurpose things.

Daiv Whaley, Senior Content Strategist
Tip: Create a site-wide value proposition
Creating a value proposition to be positioned beneath the page-top logo on all site pages can work wonders for your website for three reasons. First, it helps visitors to understand immediately WHY your product or service can be of value to them and should be considered. It helps them to understand what your business is all about, communicating succinctly and with immediacy.

Second, a text-based value proposition increases keyword saturation across the whole site for overarching keywords or phrases, so that search engines “understand” the nature of your business.

Lastly, a value proposition can be of strong value for SEO, since increased keyword saturation can affect rankings with the engines, particularly if your site has a large number of pages. Communicate your company’s mission or specialty with a value proposition and start spring off right this year. Express what makes your business unique and excellent, and use trenchant keywords to do it!

2 Comments

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About Jennifer Callahan

Jen has been at Fathom for eight years, beginning as the company's first full-time copywriter. She now leads the content/social media team of more than 20 full-time writers and social media strategists. Jen also plans Fathom's insanely fun summer picnics and end-of-year holiday parties. If you're looking for her at 11 a.m., you'll find her with the other early lunch-ers in the Fathom kitchen watching "The Price is Right."

  • http://www.ixactcontact.com Rich Gaasenbeek

    Great article, thanks Jennifer!

    Daiv, I’m intrigued by your idea. Can you give me some examples of websites that have done a good job implementing this?

    Thanks,
    Rich

  • Daiv Whaley

    Hello Rich.

    Glad you liked our ‘spring cleaning’ post and that the value proposition tip intrigued you.

    The value proposition strategy can be used in numerous ways – it’s especially handy when coming up with content marketing strategies like case studies, infographics and narrative blog posts, since the VP helps you shape your message to readers. When used as a tag line at the top of your site pages, it instantly helps visitors understand what your business is about and what excellence you bring to the table.

    A few examples of value proposition-based tag lines are these:

    http://www.polystarcontainment.com
    http://www.vivesse.net
    http://www.tanklink.com

    I took a look at your website and your V.P. – “Real Estate CRM and Marketing Made Easy (on the Home Page) – would work well on all your site pages, placed right under your logo where you have “For Real Estate Professionals” currently. I’d advise to change it so that it is text-based instead of graphic-based language however, so that the search engines can index that content for SEO effect also.

    Cheers!

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