Top 75 website maintenance tasks you should handle soon to avoid the risks of a stale site

Category Archives: Sharp Hue

Top 75 website maintenance tasks you should handle soon to avoid the risks of a stale site

You might be surprised by the number of things it takes to run an adequately updated website!

Fortunately, if you picked a dependable website partner to build your site, a lot of these things might be getting handled periodically. The truth is, there’s always something you or your website partner could be doing to improve your website. We focus on seven key areas of website maintenance: SEO, Analytics, Sales & Lead Generation, Promotion & Marketing, Testing & Hosting Upkeep, Content Updates, Usability & Interaction. Each area might be something you assign to different team members for a fair distribution of work.

Review this Top 75 list to get new ideas or double-check that you’re on track.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  1. Add ALT tag descriptions to all of your images
  2. Make sure each page has an H1 tag for SEO
  3. Generate a sitemap.xml file and submit to Google & Bing
  4. View your robots.txt file and verify it allows search engines to index your site
  5. Write a new blog post to help boost your SEO
  6. Update content on inner pages with “internal links” that link to other pages on your site
  7. Update your physical address and Google Maps if you’ve recently moved
  8. Add keywords to your headings and content for more SEO impact

Analytics

  1. Review your Google Analytics to see if there are opportunities in your traffic
  2. Review Google Search Console for potential errors or warnings from Google
  3. Add a Facebook Pixel, so data collects sooner than later
  4. Install heatmap tracking to understand where visitors pay the most attention
  5. Double check your Google Analytics code is working on ALL site pages
  6. Consider replacing Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

Sales & Lead Generation

  1. Add an email subscribe form to start building a subscriber mailing list
  2. Make sure your contact form is notifying the correct person, so you never miss any leads
  3. Create a new web form or survey to capture customer feedback and testimonials
  4. Review and respond to comments visitors have left on blog posts
  5. Add a CAPTCHA to your web forms if you’ve been experiencing spammy leads
  6. Create an autoresponder for your contact form to increase professionalism

Promotion & Marketing

  1. Add any new social media accounts as links or icons in your footer
  2. Add a social sharing plugin to allow visitors to share your content easily
  3. Create a dismissible popup to promote a special offer
  4. Create a video or short slideshow with music to help explain your products
  5. Incorporate a tagline or slogan on your site to enhance branding
  6. Create a landing page to help you promote a new product or service
  7. Add new events to your events calendar to keep constituents and customers informed
  8. Create an email newsletter to share updates with your customers
  9. Incorporate an e-commerce plugin to sell a single product such as a book or report
  10. Link to the browser version of your latest newsletter to entice new subscribers

Testing & Hosting Upkeep

  1. Redirect broken links in your navigation to other pages in your site
  2. Test all website forms to make sure follow-up actions and notifications still work
  3. View your site from a mobile phone to see if it works and looks the way it should
  4. Check for broken links to external websites in content and either update or remove
  5. Remove or redirect old promotions & sale pages to avoid confusing a customer
  6. Test your site search to ensure it’s returning relevant results
  7. View your website in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Explorer to ensure consistency
  8. Renew any premium plugin licenses to avoid plugins becoming outdated
  9. Update WordPress core framework to the latest version
  10. Update WordPress plugins to the latest version to keep your site secure

Content Updates

  1. Update footer copyright year to reflect the current year or range of years
  2. Use your homepage slider photos to announce new products or services
  3. Update bios and pictures of people currently working at your business
  4. Remove past employees info: bio, phone numbers, and phone numbers
  5. Remove website user accounts for employees no longer with the company
  6. Format blog posts with headings, bulleted lists, and photos for easy reading
  7. Update lists of partners, sponsors, or client logos using their latest logos
  8. Add the most recent job openings at your business and remove old listings
  9. Update screenshots or portfolio items to the latest revision
  10. Add or update your privacy policy to keep up with GDPR or similar regulations
  11. Update your about page with any recent awards or accomplishments
  12. Add photos to your photo gallery and remove & delete ancient images
  13. Add new customer testimonials and remove old or no-longer relevant testimonials
  14. Update your business hours and let customers know if you close for holidays
  15. Review and update your refund and shipping policies for accuracy
  16. Update food menus, product pricing sheets, and catalog PDFs to the latest revision
  17. Remove authors byline or posted by dates if you are no longer posting news
  18. Add new Q&A items to your FAQs page and update outdated items
  19. Organize pages to assure your site is simple to navigate
  20. Update your products or services pages with the latest details and pricing

Usability & Interaction

  1. Add subtle animation or parallax background effects to add visual interest
  2. Implement background videos or textures to add more appeal to your site
  3. Change the wording and color of buttons to try and increase conversion
  4. Incorporate icons into buttons to make them more interesting
  5. Add an alert banner to the top of your site for inclement weather announcements
  6. Make your desktop site navigation “stick” to the top for easier navigation
  7. Integrate a social media feed onto your homepage to keep it fresh
  8. Implement a chat program to enable website visitors to chat with you live
  9. Add a header image to each inner page or site section for visual interest
  10. Implement a ‘Pay My Bill’ capability to enable online payments for customers
  11. Make sure your site is secure and uses an SSL certificate
  12. Update important graphics on your site to be compatible with high-resolution screens
  13. Add a favicon for your site to make browser tabs and bookmarks more interesting
  14. Add custom icons/photos to your homepage to draw attention to services or products
  15. Add expanded navigation to the footer so users can easily find where they want to go

Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to keep updating and adding content to your website. A part of search engine optimization strategy is the evergreen value provided by writing new material that is rich in keywords and letting search engines see that you keep your content fresh.

Even if you accomplish all 75 of these items, you can always start thinking about your next website redesign or refresh. The typical shelf life of a correctly built website can be several years; however, most businesses experience enough changes every two years that should consider a modern and up-to-date website presence that takes advantage of the latest technologies. Fortunately, if you’re using a platform like WordPress, a new theme can be chosen or custom designed without worrying about losing the underlying content.

If taking care of all these updates sounds daunting, ask your website partner about a WordPress maintenance service where you can work with them to tackle small updates on a monthly basis. Most websites that stay updated are the result of proper planning and teamwork, so the workload is spread out among team members and over time.

Top 10 Takeaways from WordCamp Fayetteville 2018

We survived WordCamp Fayetteville 2018! It was an action-packed weekend of speaker sessions, sharing knowledge, and networking with other professionals in our industry. Every presenter came prepared with a relevant topic and took the time to answer questions at the end of the session.  The beauty of a gathering like WordCamp is the concentration of experts in one place all who share a passion for doing their part to make WordPress the best content management system in the world. In 2010, when WordCamp Fayetteville was founded, WordPress powered around 15% of all websites and today it’s 30%!

David Navarro Jr. – Keynote Speaker

Since the Sharp Hue team manages around 175 WordPress sites, we divided and conquered the conference to attend over a dozen sessions in total.  We learned about the latest in topics like SEO Content Clusters to Facebook Custom Audiences. This was the first WordCamp for a few members of the team, yet we all overwhelmingly agree that we learned very current and relevant knowledge that helps us with our clients’ websites.  We each took away some new ideas and learnings that we think we can apply immediately to serve our clients even better. Here’s a summary of the highlights from each team member:

Josh Bonnell, Scott Nguyen, Shan Pesaru, Taylor McCaffrey, Sean Borsodi

Shan Pesaru

  • Facebook Pixel has a lot of similarity to Google Analytics. Even if you aren’t using Facebook Business Manager products today, it is a good idea to go ahead and install the Pixel code.  When you’re ready, creating custom audiences is easy to do from the data that’s collected and can be used to run very targeted ad campaigns.
  • Content Clusters are a way of organizing information with internal linking that helps signal to search engines a dominant topic in your website.  This is useful especially when a website has multiple focus keywords. Speaking of which, setting the focus keyword in Yoast helps organize the strategy around creating a content cluster.

Sean Borsodi

  • WP REST API has come a long way and was the missing link for many software application uses. The WordPress platform is now easier to integrate with external projects and gives developers new ways to use WordPress.
  • Gutenberg Editor is the new way to create content for WordPress. This new editor will be replacing the existing text editor after it is integrated into WordPress core later this year. The Gutenberg editor will focus on a better user experience and extended tools for content layout.

Taylor McCaffrey

  • When designers think User Experience, great design is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Keeping the end user in mind is essential and the most valued quality in a company’s communication is clarity.
  • Accessibility is often overlooked though crucial in the quality of creating a website that’s usable for all people. Whether it is through the use of color contrast in design, image Alt Tags in WordPress, or countless other techniques, we must make sure not to exclude users with disabilities. Rather, we must prioritize an accessible website throughout design and development processes.

Josh Bonnell

  • A/B testing allows you to make the most out of your site’s existing traffic by testing variations of the same page, and seeing which variant most increases conversion. Even the smallest changes can increase conversion, proving that A/B testing is worth the effort and should not be overlooked in the web design process.
  • The WP REST API will make web development easier and more flexible than ever before. Because the API is JSON-based, it allows WordPress to easily communicate with other sites and services universally, regardless of programming language.

Scott Nguyen

  • When it comes to Launching Without Fear, it was great to get insight into how another Web Development company handles their process of launching a website. Seeing many similarities to Sharp Hue’s launch process, we are feel validated that there really is a correct way to launch sites with a good process.
  • Maintaining WordPress For A Profit with the automation tools available today (ManageWP, InfiniteWP, etc.) allows for someone who’s knowledgeable with WordPress & PHP to start a company with little capital upfront and focus on the maintenance/hosting of websites instead of the design/development aspect.

The biggest takeaway that we didn’t expect was the reminder of how many talented professionals we have in our community and how blessed we are to have speakers who are willing to travel to our corner of the world to share their knowledge.  In fact, we didn’t even realize there was a monthly WordPress Fayetteville that meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 6pm to 8pm on the Fayetteville square. Since we are a relatively large user of WordPress, we are thrilled by the chance to give back to a platform and community that’s made our entire business model possible! 

We launched our new marketing campaign #KeepIt200 over the #wcfay weekend!

We are excited to sponsor the event again in the future and stay involved with the talented WordPress professionals in our community. There is probably no faster way to get caught up with all the happenings in the WordPress universe and learn from experts than to attend a WordCamp, so we hope to see you there next year!

Keepin’ it 200 (OK)

WordCamp Fayetteville #wcfay, a gathering of WordPress enthusiasts is being held June 22-24, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Being loyal WordPress fans ourselves, it only makes sense that Sharp Hue is a Proud Sponsor of WordCamp Fayetteville 2018.  

Since the Sharp Hue team will be in attendance at the conference, we tasked ourselves to create a shirt for the occasion that celebrates our unique brand. So, we went straight to the drawing board to sketch out a few possibilities.

Our process starts on paper

Putting pen to paper is the best way to jumpstart the brain and get ideas flowing freely. We wanted a design that our team members could wear proudly, while not resorting to the overdone designs like putting software code on a shirt. While that’s something designers and developers would understand, we didn’t want to create something so niche that people outside of our circles would be lost. We needed something that everyone could enjoy while also channeling our inner geek!

Our original sketches (four concepts shown above) ranged from baking cakes to a Rubik’s cube. Now, while walking around wearing a shirt with a cake on it would’ve been a great fashion statement, everyone really liked the idea of playing off the “100” emoji 💯 and its related hashtag #KeepIt100.  And so…

#KeepIt200 was born!

If you’re wondering by now why we’re Keepin’ it 200 OK, that’s because 200 OK is a status code used by web browsers that means “The request has succeeded”. The hacker looking graphic below provides some insight into that page loading process.  While most people have come across a 404 Page Not Found, very few realize that 200 OK is a status.  In fact, there are dozens of status codes if you want to check them out here:  HTTP Status Codes.

From paper to digital concepts

Now that we had a solid concept,  then came the question, “how could we incorporate our own personal twist?” So, we made several variations and plentiful design revisions. During these revisions, we determined it would make sense to have a t-shirt color that matched to a color or two on our logo for the sake of brand consistency.  We decided on using two colors so we could keep the shirts within our project budget.  You may have noticed the Sharp Hue logo is quite colorful which can mean more cost in screen printing projects.  We had our shirts inked with a company called real thread that has a really simple online ordering interface coupled with a great customer service team that takes care of you along the way.

Finding opportunity in every concept

$1M dollar, original, one of a kind prototype.

All said and done, the t-shirt concept that the team loved the most was a badge-style emblem that marries the idea of #KeepIt200 with being proud of our company’s history. See bottom right of the photo above.

We are always a little sad when a design isn’t used, however, we also love stickers!  While “Keepin’ it 200 OK Since 2006” is great for a Sharp Hue team member to wear, we decided that the “Keep It 200 OK” emoji style emblem was a great way for others to champion our brand.

After some tweaking and including the sharphue.com domain name,  Kevin Bourne, our newest team member who worked on this project, was personally rewarded with the $1 million dollar paper prototype! We had the stickers printed with Sticker Giant which was very easy.

So, what does #KeepIt200 mean to the team at Sharp Hue?

While the t-shirt and sticker were really fun projects to work on, there are some deeper meanings to how #KeepIt200 connects with the Sharp Hue brand.

  • We always give our best to whatever problem we’re solving or project we endeavor.
  • We think through all the angles and double check to make sure we’ve thought of everything.
  • We really love things that are high-quality, built-to-last, and pay respect to our craft.
  • Because 200 OK means the website loaded successfully, we feel this strongly represents everything we do behind the scenes at Sharp Hue to create Beautiful Websites That Work®

Happy 6th Birthday Sharp Hue!

May 11th is always a special day for us here at Sharp Hue. Today we celebrate our 6th birthday. We have officially survived five consecutive years of business. It is extremely satisfying and humbling to know that over 130 clients trust us to deliver exactly what they are looking for: a beautiful website that works.

Given that it is our birthday, it’s only fitting that we hear a few words about our past, present and future from Sharp Hue’s owner and CEO, Shan Pesaru.

What led you to found a web design firm?

I started Sharp Hue because I wanted to build a company around my passion. I built my first web site when I was in the 6th grade and knew it was something I wanted to do as a career. There is so much to learn in this industry and I think staying cutting edge has always been a driver for me. My education and career paths have always aligned with the Internet and every single day I try to become better at my craft.

What’s Sharp Hue’s current business philosophy?

Build enterprise quality solutions at affordable small business prices. Ordinarily, producing the highest quality product at the lowest price is a sure way to end up in the red. The way we make it happen is to offset the difference with extremely hard work. When we hit the 5 year mark last year, I knew we were on to something and that our “recipe” was proven. Growing a business during a recession quickly validated for me that our product is exceptional and in high demand.

What are your goals for Sharp Hue moving forward?

We’re on track to grow at a faster pace than ever. For us, that means hiring a new employee every few months. This past April, we hired a new manager of Client Services, Megan Perez. With him on board, we are able to take on a larger workload and deliver even more services in an accelerated time period. We have grown this company organically without any outside investment. Owning 100% of my company means a lot to me. In the next couple of years we will need to move into a bigger office space and add a few more developers and designers.

What about you? What do you see yourself doing after you add more staff?

Even though I’m the owner and CEO, you’ll still see me writing lines of code, configuring servers, and moving pixels just like all of our talented employees. I’ve worn all the hats over the years so I intimately understand what it takes to do this business right and exceptionally well. There will likely be a time where my role in Sharp Hue’s operations will transition to a purely visionary one. I’m thinking something like Creative Director and Head of R&D. You’ll have a tough time tearing me away from the keyboard!

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners you’d like to share?

Customer service and communication are the keys to any business. If you listen to what your customer’s say, you’ll know exactly which way to head with your business. As you grow, expand your company at a rate that’s comfortable for you and in such a way that you constantly remind yourself of the core competencies and values that got you there in the first place. Remember to have fun in the process and get out and play every once in a while.

I often joke with budding entrepreneurs that every company I started with a business plan failed (because I tried hard to stick to the plan). The ventures of mine that still exist have experienced success because we adapt to customer needs, develop efficient processes, reinvent ourselves when necessary, carefully manage our expenses, and surround ourselves with talented people. I still stick to my entrepreneurial roots in order to stay agile and humble. The difference now is that I make fewer mistakes and better decisions.

Launch of Bikes, Blues & BBQ Website Redesign with First-Ever Mobile Version

 

When it comes to great music, amazing food and—most importantly—loud motorcycles, you just can’t beat the Bikes, Blues & BBQ Motorcycle Rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The event is a favorite for bikers from all over the country, featuring tons of live music venues, great BBQ food and hundreds of vendors with the latest and greatest in bike accessories, clothing, and gear. This year, Sharp Hue was proud to revamp the event’s web presence, which included its first-ever mobile website!

Yet again, we pushed the innovation boundaries and redesigned the BBB website to modernize the look and feel of the organization, providing easier content management tools so that the group could easily update information on the site. We just finished launching the website on July 23, and look forward to helping this group raise awareness and contributions to its cause.

We were very happy to work with BBB, a great organization that raises money for local charities in Northwest Arkansas through its annual rally. As one of the top five largest motorcycle events in the country, the rally attracts visitors not only from all over the U.S., but from around the world. This year’s event takes place September 28-October 1.

As with any charitable organization, time and resources are precious commodities, which is why we streamlined the management tasks for the site. With custom integration of existing technologies like WordPress, Google Calendar, WuFoo Forms, Twitter, and Facebook, the site is easy to navigate and runs very smoothly. Furthering the group’s dedication to engage in cutting-edge technologies, the new web presence for BBB includes a first-ever mobile version of the site, which provides timely information available at the fingertips of hundreds of thousands of event-goers.

Some of the exciting features of the new BBB site:

  • Redesigned look, completely original and unlike any version of the site in the past decade
  • Custom styling of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
  • Custom email marketing template
  • Mobile-friendly version of the website (check it out yourself from your mobile phone!)
  • Sponsor ad tracking that records ever-important impression and click metrics
  • Online vendor application forms and payment
  • Online volunteer signup forms
  • Optimized and custom web hosting, providing fast performance before, during and after the big event

BBB’s rallies have donated over $600,000 to local charities since the event began in 2000. We are honored to work with local organizations like BBB, as well as others like the Arkansas Crisis Center, Boys & Girls Club of Benton County and Chile Pepper Cross Country festival. We’re committed to providing our local nonprofits with high-quality and cutting-edge resources, allowing them to best serve those who they wish to help.

We invite you to take a look at the revamped website for Bikes, Blues & BBQ at www.bikesbluesandbbq.org. Please let us know what you think!

The Sharp Hue Toolbox

At Sharp Hue, Inc., we’re cutting edge and committed to excellence. One reflection of that commitment is the tools we use. We’ve worked to refine our toolbox to contain the most powerful and efficient tools. The resulting efficiencies are what let us build premium sites for reasonable prices. We want to be able to help every client, small or large, at a fair price.

The version control system which lets us have zero data loss is one part of the equation. Managed hosting with zero down time is another. Investing in the best software is a third.

We have lots of things in our bag of tricks, but here are the tools we think are the essentials for a designer’s toolbox:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 is our primary tool for the prototyping process that expedites communication between Sharp Hue designers and clients. This program also allows us to work efficiently as a team, saving our clients money and time.
  • Adobe Illustrator CS3 allows us to create vector graphics that can be used in multiple media without losing quality. This means that our clients can use the logos we create for them in their print, screen, and online materials, and even in signage and billboards.
  • Adobe InDesign CS3 lets us meld content, graphics, and design in the most natural way. We can produce fliers, brochures, and other print materials to meet the mosMicrosoft Visual Studio is our preferred development environment. We det stringent requirements. Our clients can also be confident that their visual identity will be consistent across print, screen, and online media, ensuring a recognizable and trustworthy impression among their clients and customers.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio is our preferred development environment. We develop as well as design, so our clients can have exactly what they want and need in a website. While we specialize in providing a custom experience at a reasonable price, our range of skills allows us to produce custom solutions when that is the best option for a client.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 is our web coding tool. We use the code-view approach to help us efficiently hand code all of our web sites with pixel precision. When we code a site, it looks the same on Mac or PC, Firefox or Safari, regardless of operating system.

Check our archive for posts containing tips for using these tools, or just call us to schedule an appointment and let us use them on your behalf.

Ignite the Trend

A couple of months ago I was working in a consultation session with a client on her upcoming web site for East Meets West Spa & Salon (www.emwspa.com). Helena said something profound to me that got me thinking about what it takes to be a real entrepreneur with a vision. She summed up risk and reward in three words “Ignite the Trend”.

Every great idea has to start somewhere & someone has to make the push to make it real. I guarantee that in a majority of those cases where a spark is turned into fire that determination, hard work, and ingenuity were all fueling it.

It’s no doubt that web development today is undergoing a phenomenal rebirth into Web 2.0. Those that embrace this change in their development strategies will definitely see the rewards of doing so at least until Web 3.0 happens. What is profound about Helena’s comment is that it describes a mindset that quickly embraces whats current, but continues to build bigger and better things leaving a blazing path for others to follow.

Sharp Hue, Inc. was built on entrepreneurial principles but also a sound business foundation. The combination is explosive and that’s why we’ve adapted a provisional motto: “We’re cutting edge and we mean it”. We aren’t just another firm that uses hype and language to make ourselves look good. Our clients and portfolio tell the story.

We understand that not every business is ready for the kind of development we are offering or willing to pay for the best, but if you invest in a professional relationship with Sharp Hue today, you can be sure that your web presence will always be better than your competition’s. This is in no way a guess about the future — we are built on firm principles and you can count on us growing to be a well known name in web development in Northwest Arkansas and around the world. We are here to stay and we will continue to Ignite the Trend.

Trends & Dying Arts

We started noticing a trend in big city developers to move towards standards and sites without many photos. Photos have become a thing of the past as a header graphic or space filler in web sites. Instead, practical and useful graphics and screenshots have replaced the archaic methods of web development. Don’t even get me started on stock photography — All I need to say is that unless it is directly related to your concept, nobody cares about the random people dressed in business suits shaking hands anymore.

The wide adoption of CSS in the past couple of years is transforming the way people think about web design. It’s funny though, because all of this technology has existed for many years but just now is being popularized through the concepts of “Web 2.0“. The Wikipedia entry for Web 2.0 has this amazing graphic which explains in a nutshell what all the new hype is about:

[Click Image to Enlarge]
Sharp Hue, Inc. is located in the ever expanding metro of Northwest Arkansas. For those of you that don’t know, we are home to Wal-Mart, JB Hunt, Tyson, and the University of Arkansas. Standards based development is a rare thing around here, but we are no strangers to being cutting edge and leaving a path for others to follow. All of our clients are encouraged to adopt these new trends as they can be a huge competitive advantage if they do it before their competition. So far, we have had good response from clients to allow us to spend a little more time implementing standards in development so that we can continue to make the push for standards in our region. Just imagine how nice it will be when everyone does…then on to Web 3.0!