New year, new website?
The truth is you don’t have to create a brand-new site to get that ‘new’ feeling. There’s lots of things you can do to update your site, as well as lots of things you need to do.
Updating isn’t just about adding new content (though you definitely can and should!) there are lots of other things to keep on top of. Like…
Software updates are usually pushed out as a precaution to protect against any future attacks, so a really simple way of keeping your site secure is by consistently updating your framework. Website maintenance is going to help you prevent being hacked and avoid being exposed to vulnerabilities that could put you or your users at risk. A data breach is a very serious matter, so just update your framework. Prevention is key.
If you’re on WordPress updating is easy – head over to dashboard and go to the updates page, click on the check again button. WordPress will reload, notifying you of any plugins, themes or software updates that may need doing. Click the update now button and you should be good to go! In the rare case that you’re not, your solution may be found in this article.
Updating your PHP
What is PHP? WordPress uses the server side scripting language PHP, which takes data from the database and turns it into a HTML web page when someone uses your site.
Why do you need to update your PHP? Your website will not only be more secure with the latest version, but will also have improved load times. A faster website will be rewarded by search engines too, so enjoy faster loading times, extra security and ranking higher.
Before completing any major updates, our developers recommend always backing up your website. This way if something does go wrong you can always revert back. Additionally, as we mentioned previously make sure you’ve updated WordPress, themes and plugins.
To check which version of PHP you’re using, go to your dashboard on WordPress and select ‘Tools.’
Then ‘Site Health’.
Next select the info tab, expanding the server section and scroll until you find ‘PHP version.’
As of right now in 2023, the latest version of PHP is 8.2, but you should at least be on 8.0. Anything below this leaves you vulnerable to security hacks.
When it comes to actually updating, PHP is installed on your server. So, you’ll need to interact with your host’s settings or ask your provider to update for you.
The update itself depends on which hosting company your with. Here’s a list of different companies’ instructions for updating.
If you can’t find your hosting company on there or run into any problems during the process we’d recommend contacting a professional web developer, like us. Alternatively, your hosting company or theme and plugin authors should also be happy to help.
Checking your links
Isn’t it frustrating to click onto a link that leads you to a 404-error page? We feel you. Broken links contribute to bad user experience which can negatively affect your SEO. One of the updates that Google rolled out last year included user experience as a key factor in rankings. Clicking on an item that should be clickable and it not working or sending you to a page that it shouldn’t makes people less inclined to continue using your site. In this case, Google will stop wanting to send people to your site, it’s that simple.
Your features may be broken if: You misspelled the destination link, you forgot to assign a button a link, the page destination has been deleted.
Find broken links through Google Search Console. You can create a report that allows you to see all pages that have returned a 404 error to Google. You can then go and correct them, whether that be correcting a spelling mistake or linking to another relevant page.
Another way is to add a redirect. This is an SEO friendly way of telling a search engine the requested destination URL is no longer available so you have sent users to a new location. This step can be quite developer orientated so we won’t dig too deep as you need to be familiar with the backend of your site. If you’d like to learn more here’s a helpful resource.
Broken external links can be tricky because you cannot control the destination page, you can however use a different resource if you are linking to an error page.
If worse comes to worst it is better to have no link than it is to have a broken one.
Okay that’s everything technical, but what can you do to get that fresh feeling?
Keep your website fresh with new images, showcase your office now! Not how it was in 2016. Remember to include alt tags and relevant image titles for your SEO too.
Review your services or products, got any new ones to share? Got any on your website that you don’t sell/do anymore? This is your reminder to keep all your information up-to-date. Check your telephone, email, social links.
A really great way to have a consistent stream of high-quality content is to create a blog page. Write about the latest industry news and business updates. You can even use tools like Moz Pro to see what keywords you’re ranking for, and then write blogs using keywords that are less strong. Of course, keep all keywords dispersed naturally and make sure it is still valuable information for the viewer.
Google bots can see when you add a new blog post and will crawl your site again, checking for new keywords. Google cares about giving delivering the best answers to its user’s queries. If you want to be further up those rankings you need to be delivering the best answers, how is your content different from anybody else’s? Have you gone into more detail? Maybe you could add an infographic, or a resource. Bring some new information to the table.
You can also use your blog to answer some of the questions you frequently get asked.
Changing your branding, whether that be the company colours, the logo, or the whole website, gets attention. People start to talk about the change on their social media channels or with their colleagues and friends, it’s a great way to remind people that you’re ever-growing as a business. Mc Donald’s recently made a change to their socials, swapping out their iconic yellow arches for the same ‘M’ only the bottom half seems to be cut off. We’ve seen people questioning the reason for this, posting onto LinkedIn asking if anyone else knows why, and here we are talking about it too! Revitalize your brand and engage your consumers with a branding makeover.
Something as simple as refreshing your typeface can be advantageous. BBC recently ‘revamped’ their logo, only it looks almost the same except they’re using a different font. The font is more symmetrical and saves them tons of money as it has no licensing costs. They also now have complete control and ownership of the font. So, you don’t have to change your branding massively, something as small as this can have a big impact! Why try and fix something that isn’t broken.
All in all, if you’re going to do any of these suggestions please let it be updating your site. We wouldn’t want you exposed to cyber vulnerabilities just because you didn’t know how to do this, if you need help do not hesitate to give us a call on 01482 223469
And if you are looking for a brand refresh we can help with that too! Throw your ideas at us and let’s have a chat.