Keep it Simple Stupid: 9 Low-Cost WebSite Enhancements

News flash: The flip phone is a thing of the past, although some observers would have us believe otherwise. If you could swear you just got yours a few months ago — even if it’s true — it’s time to wake up to the reality that time and technology both go faster when we are too busy to pay attention.

Your web site is no different. A site should be reevaluated on a regular basis to make sure it is still getting the job done. It doesn’t take too long for it to look dated and give your customers the impression that you were the “it” thing — like 20 years ago. The good news is that the passage of time has also driven down the cost and complexity of implementing enhancements that might have been out of reach just a few months ago. There are many things you can do with your site to make it more usable and more informative for your visitors and to make it do a better job of connecting with them.

Here are some simple, low-cost site enhancements that can bring your site up to date and make your visitors happier:

  1. Add a media gallery. Do you have pictures or video clips that would help get your message out? Add a media gallery to put those images where they can have the greatest impact. Paired with an easy-to-use content management system, you can keep your image and video content up to date without having to get the web developer involved.
  2. Incorporate sharing and social media tools. It’s not too late to get on board with social media and sharing tools. For very little effort you can add Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and a host of other options that enable your visitors to spread your message for you. Even the humble “share by email” can be an effective tool.
  3. Count down to your next event. Using a simple countdown timer on your home page can help draw attention to your next big event.
  4. Spruce up the text content. With an easy CSS change, you can update your look by changing the typeface, spacing, font color, and more, all without a major site redesign. Find a nice, readable typeface that fits in with your products, services, and message. For headings, consider adding text decorations, such as a simple shadow drop.
  5. Tidy up long text elements with ellipses. Using another CSS trick, you can shorten the amount of text that is displayed in a list of items. Instead of displaying the whole first paragraph of every blog entry in a list, you can choose to display only the first line or two, followed by an ellipsis (…). Clicking on the text can take the user to the full text on another page, or expand the full text in a pop-up box. This way, users can skim through more content to find what interests them.
  6. Add informational widgets. If your products or services are related to information that constantly changes, add a widget to your home page to display the latest updates. Weather, news headlines, and more can be constantly updated with minimal fuss.
  7. Get some insight with simple analytics. Want to know how many visitors you have, where they are located, or how they found your site? For simple analytics such as these, you can sign up for free or low-cost services that will gather this information for you. Add a snippet of code to your site to start capturing the data, and look for trends in site visits in response to promotions and other events.
  8. Protect against web-form spam. CAPTCHA is the best-known solution for preventing spammers from flooding you through your forms, but there are several other options that can protect you without frustrating your real visitors.
  9. Join the blogosphere. This one is easy to implement but harder to maintain. A blog can easily be added to your site, but it requires constant updating to keep the content fresh. However, it can pay big dividends on several fronts. By sharing your thoughts on the issues in your industry, you can build a community of followers, enhance your SEO presence, and drive new business your way. If you don’t have the time, or if writing isn’t your thing, you can outsource the task to a professional blog writer.

Have a look around at other web sites—in particular, those of your competitors. See what other features would make a nice addition to your web site. The ideas mentioned here, and others like them, are within reach. Pick up the phone (even if it’s a flip phone) and call your web developer today.