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Matthew Karge

WordPress Practice Director & Business Development Manager

Matt is the WordPress Practice Director and a Business Development Manager at Northwoods. He works with clients in many different industries, helping them to pursue a digital marketing path with the greatest amount of return. He’s always happy to meet over a cup of coffee (either in person or virtually!) to listen to your needs and provide as many resources as possible to help you succeed.

10 Ways to Get Your Website Ready for the New Year

December 10, 2021 | Matthew Karge, WordPress Practice Director & Business Development Manager

4 Minute Read

The end of each calendar year is a perfect time to reflect on your successes as an organization. It’s also a great time to look at your website with a discerning eye in preparation for the new year ahead.

Here’s a list of the most important tasks to complete to get your website ready for 2022:

  1. Review and Update Contact Information
    It’s surprisingly easy to get a new phone number or change addresses and completely forget to update them on your website. Look at your header, footer, and ‘contact us’ pages to make sure they contain the latest and greatest contact information.

    Additionally, any contact information updates you make to your site should also be made to your Google My Business page and other directory listings in which your organization appears.
  2. Update the Copyright Date in the Footer
    Having an outdated copyright date in your footer gives the impression that your website isn’t important. If your website has a copyright date from several years ago, it won’t leave a positive impression on your users. Take 5 minutes to make this important change.
  3. Review Your Privacy Policy
    Privacy has changed a lot in the past few years. If your privacy policy doesn’t address these changes, or, worse, you don’t have one at all, spend the time and effort to hire an attorney who can help protect you. 

    You can also create your own privacy policy using online tools such as Termly. This can be a good place to start; however, we still recommend having an attorney review any policy you produce with a tool to make sure it covers you appropriately.
  4. Test Your Website for Accessibility
    If your website was built to be accessible, it’s always a good idea to run tests to make sure that it has remained so. If your website isn’t accessible, it’s a good time to consider having someone audit it. Accessibility has become a hot topic in recent years. Protect yourself and serve all of your users well by making your site accessible. 

    If you're not sure where to start, Northwoods can help. Learn more about our website accessibility services.
  5. Test Your Forms
    A ‘contact us,' ‘request a quote’ or any other form can easily be forgotten after a website launch. Test all of the forms on your website to make sure that they still work. Confirm that those who should receive them do.

    A great trick to see if your internal forms process is working is to add a note on the form that says, “Let me know when you receive this.” If the person never lets you know, then either the form doesn’t work or your co-worker isn’t following through.
  6. Update Your Staff/Team Page
    Do all of the people listed on your website still work there? Are there new people who are missing? Now is a perfect time to review your team page and make any necessary updates.
  7. Review Your WordPress Plugins 
    If you have a WordPress website, the end of the year is a great time to review the plugins you have installed. Are there any that duplicate functionality? Are there any that you don’t use anymore? Could you replace some with one that does the work of many? Are there any plugins that no longer receive updates? Ask all of these questions as you review your list. Remove any unnecessary plugins and confirm what you have to make sure your website continues to run smoothly. Check out these additional tips for keeping your WordPress website up-to-date all year round.
  8. Make Sure Your Site Technology Is Up-to-Date
    Is your website running on the most current version of the CMS you're using? If you're several versions behind or if any of your plugins or add-in functionality aren't current, now is a good time to talk to your vendor about maintenance, upgrades or support options to ensure you're as up-to-date as possible.
  9. Review User Accounts
    It’s easy to become complacent with user management throughout the year. Now is a great time to review users who have access to your website. Be sure to remove anyone who's no longer employed with your organization (ideally, you should remove them as they depart) and to change roles for those who have moved into different positions and may need different website access or permissions.
  10. Review Your Website's Health
    Conducting an annual website health check-up may sound a little bit strange, but there was a lot of change in the digital space in 2021. Just like your own health, it’s a great time to review how well your website performs on Google’s Core Web Vitals, including site speed, load time, and stability. Sites that are slow or don’t serve content quickly are more likely to lose traffic over time.

    Search engines are putting more of an emphasis on Core Web Vitals to determine what websites will appear at the top of the results pages. Users have little patience, so make sure your website responds quickly and effectively. If your site performs poorly, don't hesitate to reach out to us for help!

    A recording of our All About Google's Core Web Vitals webinar is available, as well, if you'd like to learn more about this topic.

There are other website tasks to do at the end of the year, but completing these 10 will result in quick wins that will help you start the new year off on the right foot. And, you can do all or most of them on your own!

If you find that you do need help tackling any of the above tasks, please reach out to us – we're here to help! Here's to a happy, healthy and successful new year!