As we approach a new year, we tend to reflect on the previous year, what we loved and what we hated, then explore the possibilities of what we want out of the new year. For many business owners, we do this intentionally with our businesses, but have you considered what this looks like for your online home? Yes, I’m talking about your website! In today’s episode, I’m sharing 5 ways to prep your website for the new year!
The Branded by Bernel Podcast is brought to you by Bernel Westbrook, lead designer and founder of Branded by Bernel, a design studio dedicated to building strong brands and Showit websites for creative entrepreneurs.
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You know the importance of updating your portfolio on your website, but have you actively been doing it throughout the year? Now is the perfect time to make those updates and refresh your website with your latest work! You shouldn’t be sending people to your Instagram account to see what your latest work looks like—as you grow, your website should grow with you.
It’s so easy to forget to update the year of your copyright in the footer of your website, so make sure you’re making that annual update soon! This lets people know that everything on your website belongs to you. Not only that, but it also:
It’s important to have all of your legal ducks in a row, which is why I recommend checking out the resources that The Legal Paige offers to business owners, including privacy policies and terms and conditions for your website!
If you’ve made any changes in your business over the last year, it’s likely that you created different pages on your website that may not flow. Consider what you’ve adjusted here and there throughout the site, then look at how it should fit into your navigation. Is your website still cohesive?
Oh way that you can review this is to pull some sticky notes out and put them on the wall. You’ll place one that says “navigation,” then under that you’ll put a sticky note for each of the menu items you want to include in your navigation. On each of those, you’ll write down all of the links that each page will link to—this helps see the customer journey through a sitemap.
Year after year, you may raise your prices. When you do this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re updating any pricing references on your website so they align with your internal price sheets.
As you approach your price increase, one thing to consider doing is offering your current pricing to past inquiries who didn’t book with you to fill those upcoming spots in the new year.
Have you ever thought about updating old blog posts? It’s not something that most entrepreneurs think to do! Some of the things to update include: keywords for SEO, images and graphics for branding, broken links, and additional backlinks to other websites or your own CTA’s. Additionally, you want to review your blog comments and delete any spam comments. Then finally, make sure that you have a CTA on each of your blog posts.
Google Analytics is just a great free tool to let you know the customer behavior of people on your site. It shares customer demographics, search terms, where they’re coming from, what pages they’re staying on, and more. You can learn how to set up your Google Analytics on Showit here.
Review the Transcript:
Hey, hi. Welcome to the Branded by Bernel podcast. I’m your host Bernel. You may know me as the branding and web designer who obsesses over the details so you don’t have to, we all desire to be great at what we do. Although once we get there, no one seems to talk about the messy middle. This motivated me to set the table and invite industry peers over to share stories about living and working in the creative world. So grab the OJ and champagne, pull up a chair, join the creative community and be prepared to build a brand you fall in love with.
This is the brand new bye for now podcast. All right, guys. So it’s that time of year, you know what time of year I’m talking about? You’re walking down the aisles of a Marshalls or TJ Maxx or target and you see the pretty 2023 calendars and the pretty 2023 journals and planners and let’s be honest, you buy more than one because everybody needs for leather bound planners, right? Or is that just me? Anyway, it is the time of year where the evite start coming in for the vision board parties in January. It’s this time of year where you see those jeans that you bought last January, and they’re feeling a little smug, and you want to run and get a gym membership. And you just really want to better yourself, right? December is a month of reflection, it is the month where we start thinking about all the things that did or didn’t work this year. And all of the things that we want to do next year to be our best selves. I know for me, personally, I love to travel, if you’ve been around my page for any length of time, you know that I take quarterly trips, sometimes a little bit more frequently than that. But I love airplanes, I love to be on a flight.
So the other night over wine, me and my girlfriends, were talking about all the places we want to go next year. And we started to get on Priceline and hopper and look at all of the different deals and what months we could go to what location right. That’s what we do in December to play in for the next year. But with all this intentionality and all of this planning all of this preparation, there’s usually one aspect of our lives, specifically our business lives that we don’t really prepare for it. Yeah, you got it. I love websites. So I’m talking about your website, your online home, there are so many ways to prepare your website to better serve you in the new year, ways to prepare your website that aren’t going to cost you any money. So that’s even better, right? Things that you can do yourself in order for your website to continue to be a well maintained key player key profit piece in your business. So today’s episode is about the five ways to prep your website for 2023. So the first way is updating your portfolio. So this is something that every web designer every brand designer talks about every year, you make sure you want to update your portfolio, have your most recent images have your most recent body of work there. Okay, so you’ve heard it, but are you doing it? You should not have to send people to Instagram to see your latest work.
I know it’s happened to all of us where you’re walking through a networking event or you’re talking to a friend or even somebody beams you on Instagram and they’re like, Hey, I love your work. Do you have any projects that show X y&z Have you ever shot at x y&z location? Have you designed anything for X y&z brands, and you scramble to find an Instagram post to share with them? Well, guess what your website portfolio is a good place to put your shining work to put your most recent work. Because if your work looks this year, exactly like it looked last year, then that may be a telltale sign that you haven’t pushed yourself to try new things, do new things, and to just improve the quality of your work. So that’s going to be action item number one, update that portfolio. If you don’t want to remove things in your existing portfolio, you could always add a gallery tab of recent work or featured projects or highlight it client love or whatever you want to name it. Just make sure that you have some work that is representative of your growth this year. Number two, you want to update that copyright in the footer. Now this is something that we’ve all been guilty of not updating until spring, but it’s important to update that copyright because internet piracy is a major thing people are going on people’s websites stealing their stuff and that is not fun and not cool. So by having that little copyright symbol at the bottom of your website as well as having your legal notices in place in the show notes, I have a link to where I like to purchase all of my legal contracts and templates and things the legal page, she has one about terms and conditions and copyright. But for the purpose of this conversation, we’re just talking about the line at the bottom that says copyright year and your business name.
Why is that so important? Well, number one, it lets people know that the content, the Logos, the images, anything that’s found on your website belongs to you. But making sure that that copyright year is updated, it does three additional things for you. Number one, it builds trust, it lets people know that you have you take care of your website, and there’s a good level of trust of what you’re doing. You care about things being current and up to speed. Which takes us to number two, the number one way to know a business’s not up to speed is the scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and see copyright 2005. It’s like, wow, have you really not touched your website? Since 2005? Are there any more developments in your business? Do you offer new services, am I looking at the most current information on your website, that’s what goes on in the users mind when they see that your copyright yours from five years ago. And then also that you care changing your copyright every year really shows the visitor that you care about things being updated.
You’re not lazy, you’re not out of touch, but you really want them to know that you stay current you care about your website, and that this is a trustworthy and reputable place. So change that copyright guys, if you have questions about what you can and cannot copyright in your business, then that is definitely something to put on your list as you talk to your lawyer or as you talk to your legal consultant for the year because contracts are something else that you want to make sure are up to date every single year, as well as the terms and conditions on your website. Keep those things up to date and current because every year, business owners are facing legal issues where people are trying to take your stuff. So make sure you are prepared guys be prepared. All right.
Number three, the third way to prep your website for the new year is making sure it’s still easy to navigate. All right. So now you’re thinking what in the world does that mean for now? Well, especially if you like to add templates, or add on pages or DIY things in your business, you have probably added services and pages and affiliate links, and all kinds of new information and content to your site this year. And a lot of times when we add new information and content, you just throw a banner on the homepage and say, Hey, many sessions are open or hey, I’m now selling presets or Hey, download this new course. But does it make sense at the end of the year, when you’ve added 90 new patches to this quilt? Does it still look like a cohesive picture. So you want to make sure that all of these new links all of these new tabs and services on your website or not even just services, but all of these new links and tabs are taking people to a place it’s easy to navigate? If you tried many sessions this year, or if you try to coerce or if you created a mastermind and you beta tested it and it just was a pop up for the last six months. Does it now that you’ve tried it and you’d like it? Does it now deserve a place a permanent spot on your website? Is that something that maybe creating an Education tab could help you do to consolidate all that information or if you’ve written 12 blog posts this year, and every blog post had one of your affiliate links in it and you’re looking at your analytics and realizing that oh, okay, people are clicking on this link can that now have a resource or live on a resources page or an Affiliates Page in your business so just make sure that things are easy to navigate. Um, as we add things on, a lot of times it is a rush it is a we are launching in two weeks. And this means to be added in.
But the end of the year is a good time to assess. Does it make sense does it flow. So here’s an exercise for that that I encourage everybody to do with sticky notes and a wall. So at the top of my wall, I place a post it note and it says website navigation. And under that I put all of the tabs that are going to be on my navigation bar on my website or my menu, if you want to call it a menu. Then underneath each one of those, I write down any external links to other pages that are going to be within that page. For example, on my services page, there is a breakdown of our custom services are designed on demand, our website template customization, and then also our templates. So from that page, I put sticky I put five sticky notes below it of here’s where it’s leading to Though Now granted, your whole wall may be covered and posting notes by the time you’re done with this exercise, but it really helps you to see the customer journey. Clearly, it really helps you to see the workflow. And in the industry, we call that a sitemap like building your Sitemap. And so that’s what I encourage you to do to make sure that your navigation is still easy, still streamline and still make sense. All right, so number four, is updating your pricing.
I’m sure those prices have went up, inflation has went up, I was at the grocery store the other day. And eggs literally have almost doubled in price in the last two years, which is wild. So like the grocery store raises their prices, and everybody else raises their prices. As a creative entrepreneur, you want to make sure that you can make a living. Now, I’m not saying you got to make a killing. But you do want to keep things fair, keep yourself in the middle of kind of market standard. And also make sure you can make a profit. So make sure you update that pricing on your website. If you have starting at or average investment. If those are sections on your website, you can always update that number as well. You can also this isn’t necessarily web design related, but branding related, you can always put out a social media graphic or send a blast to your email list, or something I’ve done in past year sent a blast to all the inquiries that came in this year that did not turn into active clients, people who were leads that just didn’t follow through, I have sent an email out to them, just letting them know, Hey, we have x amount of spots that we’re booking for the new year at this current pricing, and then the pricing will be going up next year. So that’s a good way number one, to circle back and be top of mind with people. But number two, also to make sure that you’re informing your audience that your pricing is changing.
Alright, so the fifth and final way to prep your website is to update your old blog posts. Now this one I feel like is the one everybody forgets about the other ones. If you’ve been in business for some years, you’re probably nodding your head like I do that every year, bro, I update my portfolio, we changed the copyright year and my footer, my website is still easy to navigate. I have a web designer on retainer, if that’s what you’re thinking at home, then that’s fine. But do you update your old blog post, some of the things to update in those would be your keywords, you can always improve your SEO, you can go back through your text and add words that are trending AdWords that you’re starting to hear a lot in the industry or that your analytics are telling you that people are googling for. So you can always go back to an old blog post, just kind of rewrite that or just going in and strategically adding some keywords, adding some tags, as well, to make sure that people can find this post because that’s content that’s living on the internet that people could find, anytime those links could really be bringing in leads for you on a post that you wrote five years ago. That leads to my second thing with updating your blog posts, you want to make sure any of those back links still work, though. So go through your blog post and click through the old links.
If they’re no longer valid, they’re taking you to a 404 page thing, get rid of those or update those. I know with blog posts, an example of that is I have had guest B guest writers for my blog post or I’ve gotten quotes from other entrepreneurs that I include in my blog posts or affiliate links that I include in my blog posts that are external. And some of those businesses have went out of business, or they’ve changed their business name. And their URL is no longer the same. Well, it doesn’t do my viewers or my readers any good if they come and read this blog post. They don’t know me now let’s say they found it on Pinterest, or they found it on Google. This is their first point of contact with brand new Alberto. And they look at the blog posts and click on a link and they’re like, Yeah, I want to learn about, you know, this copywriter that you talked to five years ago, and it takes them nowhere, it takes them to a 404 page. Well, they’re probably going to just exit out of the tab. And then that’s the end of that. And I’ve now lost a potential reader.
And it’s also not looking so great for me as being current with my information. So I digress. Make sure the links in your blog posts will work. Also make sure if you have older images in your blog posts that don’t represent your brand well anymore. Let’s say your brand colors have changed. It’s showing outdated information. Then you can switch those old images out in current blog posts. Make sure that those blog posts have that pinnable size graphic you know the graphic that you see on Pinterest that you click on and it takes you to somebody’s blog posts. If you weren’t using Pinterest when you first started your blog, then it’s a good time to go back in and add Pinterest size graphics in there. Adding more of your trendy branding pieces If you’ve rebranded since and just migrated some of those blog posts over, this is a good time to make sure that your colors and everything really align with your current branding and your current aesthetic. Something else you could do is adding in additional backlinks now. So let’s say that you have a post that you wrote about wedding photography at the Botanical Gardens five years ago. But now like you have worked with a new florists that you want to include, or you now offer a PDF, or a freebie or a course about shooting in gardens or finding the perfect natural light, then you can go back to that old blog post and say, to learn more about natural light, click on this new post or click on this new page. So just making sure that you are incorporating all of the information you can give somebody because we never know how people land on our websites, they come in from all sorts of places. And a lot of times we focus on that homepage, but our blog brings in a lot of traffic as well.
And I can’t control which blog post somebody finds. First, if that makes sense, they may click on an old blog post because they search for something on Pinterest or because they search for something on Google. And that blog post pops up. So you want to make sure that it links them to your most current information inside the blog posts. If you wrote it in 2015, that’s great. But then at the bottom, it talks about like, hey, here are some of our current services, and it will take them to where they need to be. All right, two more things with your blog posts under that prepping it for the new year. If you have any spam comments, or any pending comments, I know in WordPress, they give you the option to approve comments before it shows on your website. So go in there, check and see if there’s any pending comments that you do want to approve so that people can see the comments on your website. Or if there’s any spammy comments, make sure you delete those, just so that your credibility is not called into play.
The last thing with blog posts will be having call to actions I know that call to actions are getting more and more bad that term call to actions is getting more and more trendy. But it’s important people talk about it because it’s important and it’s real, you want to make sure that any place that somebody’s reading about you there is a call to action that you can tell them, This is what I want you to do next, whether that’s going to be a button to shop my templates, whether that’s going to be a button to learn about custom services, whether that’s going to be a prompt to listen to another podcast episode or read another blog post, you want to make sure when they get to the bottom of your blog, they are prompted to do something. So if that has not been added to older posts, then that’s a excellent thing for you to do before the New Year.
All right. So I did have one bonus tip. And that’s going to be to set up your Google Analytics if you have not already done that. Google Analytics is just a great free tool to let you know what people are doing to let you see your customer behavior to let you see your customer demographics. And just to let you know, like what are they searching when they find you? How are they finding you? Where are they coming from? what pages are they staying on? For longer? What buttons are they clicking on, I could go on and on and on about Google Analytics. But in the show notes, I do have it linked to setting up your Google Analytics with show it. So if you are showing user and you have not set up your Google Analytics, now is a great time for you to do that in the new year. So that you can start January with some fresh metrics and knowing exactly what’s going on in your website. So there you have it, guys, those are my quick five ways five tips to prep your website for the new year. I am so so so excited to see all the things that you guys have been working on this year and all the things that you’ve been working on kind of in silence that are going to come to fruition next year. So super excited about that. I have a post it note currently on my desk that I wrote myself a few months ago when I was planning how I wanted q4 to work in brandy Barbara how I want it to close the year. Because this year we’ve been in hustle mode, y’all we have been creating websites. We’ve been hustling we have been building brands and launching things and had some wonderful speaking engagements this year, I was able to speak in four different states this year, hundreds of people in the audience so that has just been a cool experience.
But I digress. As I was prepping for q4 One of the things that I wrote on a sticky note that’s on my desk here right beside my coffee. It says little things make big things happen. And that’s so true. We have to make little steps to reach those big goals and so I have some big goals in 2020 30 some goals that kind of scare me so I am excited to share those with you guys but the little One thing that I’m doing to make that happen is I am actually closed for the remainder of the month. If you’re listening to this now, like we are not working on any client projects, we’re just really using this time to reset, refocus reshift our minds and just kind of prep for this new season of business that we’re walking into. So with that being said, the brand new by Brunel podcast, we’ll be taking a midseason winter break. Just like brand new IRA, the design studio is taking a winter break. And we will return with our next episode on Saturday, January the seventh.
So I hope you and your family have a wonderful, intentional comb and of this year, and I look forward to seeing you guys well, I won’t see you but I look forward to hearing feedback from you guys and chatting with y’all here on the podcast in 2023. Have a great rest of your year. Wow, that went by really fast. As always, thank you so much for showing up in my little corner of the internet. I would love to hear your thoughts on the show. So please, please subscribe, leave a review and share what you learned with friends. Some of the best things in life are freebies. So don’t forget to head over to Brandon by pronouns.com to check out our free branding goodies, the show notes and more educational resources.
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