11 Types of Website Improvements
Table of contents
What are website improvements?
Website improvements cover a wide range of corrections and enhancements you make to a website after its launch.
The goal of website improvement is to make more useful to its users and your business. It could be by adding features, improving the design, changing the layout.
As part of an all-encompassing digital strategy, websites need to be improved, optimized, administered and kept secure.
Compared to website optimization, website improvements are the noticeable changes you make to a website, whereas website optimizations are the tweaks done behind the scenes.
Security and administration covers work done to the site that keeps it safe, tidy and up to date.
Digital marketing and SEO are things you do to promote your website and some of these activities can be considered website improvements.
Why is it important to improve your website?
A launched website is just the start
Launching has to happen within in a practical period of time. When a website is launched, it’s by no means close to perfect or finished.
There will be content that wasn’t ready on time. Features that didn’t fit in the budget and phase 2, phase 3 ideas in the pipeline.
It’s the face of your business
More than ever, your website is the face of your business. Keeping your website looking its best, working its best and giving you the most mileage makes economic sense. Specially in this digital age, website improvement is important to ensure that people know what your business really is like.
When a website is launched, it represents the business at that moment. But a business never sits still, it always adapts and improves – and so should your website go along with it. Website improvement ensures that your website adapts to the trends, helping your online presence stay in power.
Just look at any website on Wayback archive and you’ll see that websites evolve over time. There are major revamps once in a while but for the most part, websites improve incrementally – even though they are more or less the same website. This is all thanks to website improvements done over the years.
It also means that it’s not fair to not compare your website to others unless you’ve put in the years of effort that they have.
It’s part of your digital marketing and SEO strategy
Once a person finds your website and visits it, the idea is to make them stay as long as possible, build up their trust and then get them to contact you.
While it’s never a good idea to follow the latest design trends, as they soon become out of fashion – you may have inadvertently caught onto one and need to change it to something more modern.
On the other hand, every year there are new design trends that will help keep your website looking fresh and modern – a sign of a progressive and on the up company.
Main areas to improve
There are a lot of things that can be considered a website improvement, but here are the most important ones:
- Graphical elements
- Trust signal
- Spacing and Alignment
- Site and page structure
- Mobile friendliness
How to know what to improve
When you look at a website for too long, it’s hard to see what’s wrong with it. This is why it helps to get the opinion of others or better still look at other websites and compare theirs to yours. This can be done in a competitive analysis.
Major reviews can be carried out once a year along with any marketing strategy.
Ideally, you will have a monthly budget put aside ongoing digital support for all your website improvement needs.
1. Improving Photography
Changing photos is a quick and effective way to significantly change the look of your website without too much work.
The photos on your site may be out of style, cheesy or put in as a stop-gap until better choices were found.
There are now plenty of new resources to find interesting photos.
2. Graphical Elements
Graphical elements are things like icons, logo, illustrations and favicons.
Icons sets are easier to download than ever and can easily be swapped out and replaced with something newer and more relevant.
Logo tastes change too – they can very much date you – and if you’re not married to your logo, then a spruce up can give your entire website a whole new look and feel since it appears on every page.
3. Trust Signals
Trust signals are elements on the website help users infer that you’re true to your word. Particularly with services, users have little way of knowing what they will get of what you promise.
If your business is young or you’re not in the habit of collecting reviews, they might not be enough have upon launch – which is why they are good thing to work on after launch.
Having frequently updated content, testimonials, certifications, ratings are trust signals that encourage users to take the next step.
Another important thing to focus on when it comes to website improvement is content. Good content is such the crux of a business website, yet it’s rarely on-point at the time of launch.
Particularly if you’re running a small business and the content has to come from you – it’s going to need working on to get it to have the right length and clarity.
Search engine friendly content needs to be of a certain length to have any impact – this can take several tries to get important articles to that length. Content optimization is the process.
Content can be difficult to understand. It’s natural for smaller companies to emulate the bigger, more successful companies.
The marketing language or tone of voice of a small company needs to clearer and more straightforward than a larger company.
Writing clear messages that aren’t flat can be more difficult than writing “clever” marketing-speak which is unclear and meaningless.
Branding is a general term for a look and feel. The visual identity represented through the different components of the page such as logo, color schemes, fonts and style of photography.
Larger organizations may have strict brand guidelines and a website improvement is needed by making sure the guidelines are followed throughout the website.
Smaller companies usually have an undefined, or loosely defined brand identity consisting only of a logo and a color palette.
To improve websites with loose brand identities you can help tighten up the brand guidelines and make sure that the website has consistent styling.
Over time, the look and feel of a website may deviate from the branded look because of all the minor website improvements made.
Things to look out for are:
- Correct use of heading hierarchy throughout the website
- Correct font styling and limited usage of fonts through the website
- Graphical elements brought into the website that don’t fit the overall look
- Correct and same use of contact addresses
- Spacing and alignment
7. Spacing and Alignment
Even fixing spacing and alignment is considered a website improvement. Spacing and alignment are used together to create harmony on a page and give them that professional look.
Spacing and alignment need to be consistent but when a website that is being continuously updated with new content – they often become out of kilter, giving the page an untidy amateurish look.
Readjusting these elements is a quick and easy way to polish a website and make it look professional again.
Spacing – the gaps between objects needs to be of the right size so that the readability of the website is good.
If objects that aren’t related are squashed too closely together, the meaning of each object is lost.
Imagine having two paintings in an art gallery too close together – will mean you can’t focus on one without the other getting in the way.
Likewise, if objects that are related are too far away from another, the flow and the connection won’t be easy to grasp. This can happen when a heading is too far away from the text underneath.
Alignment happens when you can draw an imaginary line between two objects on the page.
They help the eye flow from one object to another and makes the page look neat and tidy.
Alignment is simple with simple pages but finding alignment in pages with lots of different elements of different sizes gets complicated.
8. Site structure and page flow
The entire website as well as each page individually needs a clear and logical flow and structure.
With the addition of new content and new pages, the site can become messy and difficult to follow – like reading a book with chapters in the wrong order.
Once in a while, reread the flow of each page to make sure there is a logical flow of thought from start, to middle and end will ensure that people stay longer on your website since they can find the content that’s relevant to them – rather than simply glance at the headings because everything is a jump of separate ideas.
The structure of a website is the arrangement of pages into a logical flow. Pages of a similar nature are grouped together in the navigation. Creating a good site structure is one aspect of website improvement.
For smaller websites, the arrangement of pages is easy, but the larger the website gets, the more thought about page placement is needed.
Users need to find content through the navigation with ease – preferably without having to use a search function.
Pages need to be 2 clicks away from each other. What tends to happen is that as pages are added and taken away, the structure of the site needs to be reconsidered.
When looking at a business website, is it clear what the business does? Is it easy to see what specifically about them is different – enough so that a potential client will think, “ah, these guys seem interesting”.
Marketing messages need to be clear as do the meaning of any photos, products, services, prices, promotions, terms and conditions and policies.
Quite often it’s difficult to speak with clarity in your own website because you know the website as well as the business. The best way to address clarity is through user testing.
Differentiation – making your brand, product, service or business stand out – can be seen as a core business strategy or a marketing strategy.
A further challenge is to highlight these differences in a website.
The easiest way to differentiate is simply to look more polished – particularly for small business where real differences are harder to evaluate for users.
Users don’t have the time to look at the details – so saying you’re different or pointing to minor differences isn’t going to cut it.
If your product or service is truly different, these differences have to be translated into every aspect of the website from brand, to tone, to content.
The benefit is worth the continuous effort, as standing out of the crowd gets you noticed.
11. Adding Features
Adding features can help with website improvement if the features are useful to the user.
Watch out for “feature creep”. When ideas that seem nice at the time, eventually add up to a messy and slow website. Instead of a website improvement, you might end up with a website downgrade.
It’s often easier to add a feature than remove one, since people are often reluctant to remove something someone else put there – just in case.
This can happen on corporate website, where different departments have their hands on the website – but no one has overall say.
Some example of features that could be useful for website improvement but sometimes aren’t:
- Chat support functions that aren’t manned
- Book Now functions that go unused.
- Form functions like questionnaires, geo detection.
- Search functions, especially on small websites
- Social media sharing, on sites that don’t publish much
- Banner adds
- Animations, counters, faddish interactive features
Overall, website improvements involve correction and enhancement of your website. The goal of a website improvement is to make sure that your website is up-to-date and useful for users. There are many ways to improve your website, the essentials are laid out in the above article. Working on these website improvements regularly and in an effective way will help boost your online presence considerably.