How to Perform an Annual Website Review
The beginning of a new year is a great time to evaluate how things in your business are going. Rather than a year-end review, I like to start fresh making sure everything is fully serving my business needs. An annual website review is something I like to do to ensure my website is still serving me well.
An annual website review will quickly identify what’s working well and what needs improvement.
Not to mention, without an annual website review, your website could begin to cause more harm than good in your business. By the end of this evaluation, you’ll have a clear-cut list of to-dos to delegate out to your website support team.
For ease and flow, I’ve broken this down into five mini-reviews. We’ll cover your website user experience, your website design, website copy, website analytics and SEO, and all those little miscellaneous backend to-dos. While there is a lot of information in this article, my intention isn’t to overwhelm you but rather to provide you with a clear and concrete guide while reviewing your website.
So grab a cup of coffee, a pen and paper, and let’s dive in. You’ve got this!
I. Website User Experience Review:
While there are a lot of factors to consider when performing your annual website review, the user experience should be most important. A huge pet peeve of mine is when professionals in my industry don’t put enough (or any!) effort into the user experience.
User experience refers to your website visitors’ experience when visiting and navigating your website. A website’s user experience should always be simple, clear, and straightforward, guiding them to take the action you want them to take. To evaluate your website’s user experience, ask yourself these questions:
How fast does your website load? How long does it take to get from one page to the next? Does this need to be improved?
Is your website responsive? Can your website be accessed and easily used on a mobile device, a desktop, and every size in between? Click here to access Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
→ Calls to action + Contact Forms:
Do you guide your visitors with clear calls to action? Are your navigation and footer menus clear? Do you have a clear call to action on every page and every post? Do these calls to action support the big picture goal of your website? Is your contact form easily accessible? Use this time to test your contact form and verify the notification email address.
→ Visual Clutter + Noise:
Is your website cluttered? Is there so much information your visitors don’t know what to focus on? Or is there too little information they’re left guessing? Are the graphics, animations, fonts, copy overwhelming and too visually cluttered?
→ Website User Experience, Overall:
How easy is it for a new website visitor to navigate through your website? How easy is it for them to get the exact information they’re seeking? How easy is it for them to sign up or inquire about your services?
II. Website Design Review
An effective website design should be polished, professional, and cohesive. And, in my personal opinion, timeless. Next, ask yourself the following questions to see if your current website design is measuring up this year:
→ Logo Design:
Are all of your logos used properly? Are any logos too small or too big? Remember your logo shouldn’t be the center of the show but rather a small design feature that compliments the rest of your brand.
Are the colors on your website evoking the correct emotions? Are they easy on the eyes and use good contrast? Are they consistent and cohesive?
Are the fonts you’re using clear and legible? Are you using too many or too few variations? Are you consistent with the sizing from one page to the next?
Are the images you’re using clear and crisp? For portfolio images, are you using your favorite projects that you want more of? For your headshots, are they up to date and on-brand? For stock images, are they on brand and consistent in style, color, and size?
Does the design invite a good flow throughout? Does it accurately represent your brand and the level of service you provide?
III. Website Copy Review:
Your website copy is just as important as the website design itself. As your business evolves and grows over the years, your copy will, too. If you hire a professional copywriter, you won’t need a full overhaul every year, but you should scan through your copy each year while performing your annual website review. Use the following questions to guide you through a website copy review:
→ Website Pages
Read through your website pages. Is your copy still speaking to your target audience? Is it clear (on every page) who you work with and the services you provide? Does your website copy lead your website visitors to take action with clear calls to action?
→ Blog Posts
Scan your blog posts. Are the topics still relevant to your target audience and the clients you’re trying to attract? Are there any new topics you need to add to round out your blog? Are there any posts that you need to update?
→ Subscribe Forms & Landing Pages
Review your email marketing subscribe forms throughout your website. Are the calls to action clear? Does everything work seamlessly? Do you have a clear thank you page and next steps page after they subscribe?
→ Lead Magnets & Marketing Materials
Do you have a lead magnet that’s actively growing your email list? Who is subscribing to your list and downloading your lead magnet? Are these contacts your ideal clients? If not, get some fresh lead magnet ideas for interior designers here. Take this time to review your other marketing materials and brand collateral, too. Is your investment guide, welcome packet, etc. all on brand and cohesive with your website?
IV: Website Analytics & SEO Review:
Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console will allow you to track your website traffic, visitors activity, acquisition, search queries, and more. For your annual website review, I’d recommend looking at the big picture to evaluate how your website is performing and if you’re ranking for the appropriate keywords.
→ Google Analytics Traffic Acquisition Report:
Looking back at the past year, what are your top 5 traffic sources? With these in mind, how can you leverage these methods with your marketing efforts?
→ Google Analytics Engagement Report (pages):
Looking back at the past year, what are the most frequently visited website pages? Revisit these pages to make sure they’re polished, clear, and on-brand.
→ Google Analytics Engagement Report (blog posts):
Looking back at the past year, what are your top visited blog posts? How’s the content on these posts? Does it need to be updated or polished? Are there related topics you can write more about and then link internally to increase engagement and traffic?
→ Google Analytics Demographics Overview:
Looking back at the past year, what cities have the most traffic to your website? Is this in alignment with the areas you serve? How can you leverage what’s working well here?
→ Google Search Console Performance Report (queries):
What are the top queries (ie terms people are searching for that get them to your website)? Are these in alignment with your brand, website, and services? How can you leverage the queries you’re already ranking for? If you’re ranking for queries you don’t want to be ranking for, you’ll want to revisit those pages and adjust accordingly.
→ SEO Meta Descriptions + Keyword Phrase Review
Does every page and every post have a clear meta description? Your meta descriptions are crucial for optimizing your on-page SEO. Learn how to create a strong meta description. On that same page, does every page and post have an assigned keyword or keyword phrase? Your assigned keyword is what you want that page or post to rank for. Learn how to choose the right focus keyword.
V. Backend Website Review + Tech Tools:
The backend of your website is what your website visitors don’t see. It’s everything that’s happening behind the scenes that make your website function, feel and look the way it does. While I recommend weekly website maintenance, use the list to evaluate your website maintenance routine and backend tech tools.
→ Maintenance Routine
Are you staying up to date with your recommended maintenance? Are you on the latest version of WordPress? Are your themes and plugins being regularly updated?
Are you running regular backups of your website? Double-check with your tech team that this is happening. You can also do this yourself with your website host or a simple backup plugin, like UpdraftPlus.
Check the users that have access to your website. Are all of these users active members of your team? If not, remove the ones that should no longer have access. Have you reset your password lately? Make sure it’s secure and not the same as any other accounts. Use a tool like LastPass to keep credentials secure and unique.
Are all of your plugins up to date? Do you need to renew any of your licenses or subscriptions to your pro plugins? Are there any inactive plugins that need to be deleted? Are there any plugins you’re not using that should be deactivated and deleted?
→ Broken Links + Redirects
→ Website Host
How’s your website performing? Do you need to upgrade your hosting plan? Do you need to upgrade your hosting company? How about your hosting plan and domains, are they up for renewal soon? Make sure to set it to auto-renew and your credit card information is up to date to avoid your website going down or worse, losing access to your domain.
You did it! Remember that while this is considered an “annual” website review, that doesn’t mean it has to happen in a single sitting.
Break things down by section and feel free to take your time. My best advice is to take it a section at a time, making a list of your to-dos. Then delegate them out to your website care team.
If you have a strong foundation and timeless design, your website can last you for years to come. But remember, a website is a living, breathing, always evolving marketing tool for your business that should regularly be evaluated to ensure it’s fully optimized for your business.
If you got to the end of this list and decided now is the time for a rebrand for your business, I’d love to chat to see how I could support you and your vision. Click here to get in touch and we’ll set up a time to chat.
Hi, I'm Katie O'Brien, a seasoned brand + website designer who specializes in elevated branding and fuss-free websites for interior designers.
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