In our previous post, we discussed quick changes you can make to your website before the holiday season is in full swing. It’s a bad idea to try to rush through a complete overhaul of your website or make sweeping, drastic changes in a month. Even if you have the resources available to successfully complete such a big project in such a short amount of time, you still likely won’t have enough time to carefully evaluate and consider the scope and effectiveness of the changes you’re making. Plus, you may have little to no time left to make any necessary revisions if there are problems with the new site design.

Consider The Small Changes

Instead of making grand, sweeping changes to your digital branding and website, many small business owners choose instead to make smaller changes, such as adding new landing pages, small edits and changes to existing content, changes to operating hours, or even just add a holiday greeting or decoration. However, even if you’re just making small or seemingly inconsequential changes to your content, you must still consider how these changes will affect your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the general functionality of your site. The last thing you want to do is make your business less visible in search engine results or make your website less usable right before the busiest season of the year.

Make Sure Your Website Is Functional and Optimized

If you’ve used the Internet since the 1990s, you’ve probably encountered many websites that seemed inexplicably broken, such as sites with mismatched pages and design elements, incomplete content, and broken links. Although Google uses automated programs to scan the hundreds of millions of websites, these programs treat broken websites in many of the same ways you treat them – by treating them as less useful. Of course companies and organizations don’t set out to create a broken website, but instead choose to add on or change parts of a flawed website without fixing the underlying problems that already exist.

Check Your Website For Existing Problems

Before you make any changes to your website, even small or inconsequential changes, it is a good idea to check your website for existing problems or errors and to ensure that your site is optimized for search engines like Google. Google’s Webmaster Tools are an excellent place to start. Google can identify problems with your site and demonstrate exactly how their web crawlers view your website. This information can provide you with an opportunity to make changes and fix errors directly. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) also provides a free link checker that will ensure there are no broken links in your website that would confuse and frustrate your customers.

Don’t Make Sudden Structural Changes To Your Website

It’s never a good idea to let your website or content stagnate, but it’s also not a good idea to make changes to your website without considering the consequences. For instance, if you want to create a featured or landing page for a new product or service, make sure that the page fits in with the existing URL or page structure of your website and that you don’t suddenly create a new webpage in a directory or section of your site where it doesn’t logically belong. Google considers the URL or website structure to be an integral part of your website, and breaking that structure can damage your SEO.