Happy New Year! The beginning of the year is often joined with a renewed excitement for trying new things, starting new diets and making positive changes. In all the excitement for what is new, it can be easily overlooked that some things that are not new need to be updated. A great new years activity for any organization or business is to use the new year as a chance to update your website for the upcoming year.

I believe that websites are the first impression that most customers have of your company. An outdated website sends a message to your clients that you aren’t serious about your company or that you are out of touch. An outdated website is also open for security attacks or shutdown for other reasons. I like to imagine a website as you would any equipment you have in your life if you don’t maintain it you are eventually going to pay for that neglect. If I neglect my car for too long and never change the oil, I will eventually have major problems. A website is very similar.
In this article, I am going to share some basic steps that you can do on your own to update your website and have it running smoothly for the next year.

So here’s what you need to keep your website up to date for the next year.

Update your copyright

Right at the bottom of your page you probably have a copyright statement. You’ve probably noticed phrases like “All Rights Reserved” or “Copyright 2017,” or perhaps the copyright symbol and a date at the bottom of a website. You can have this on your website, but you don’t have to. Listing this on your website or not provides about the same amount of rights if someone decides to steal your photos or content. Either way, if you have a copyright on the bottom of your site it should have the current year listed or a range of years from your websites creation to current date. For example, you could use “Copyright 2013-2018”. Not changing the year to the current year is a tell-tale sign that you have not updated your website in a while.

Make sure you have an SSL, or make plans to get one.

Look at the URL in the address bar in the above image. It begins with “https” which tells you something important. Any communication you have with this webpage is secure because it’s encrypted. SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. Think of an SSL certificate as a giant windshield for when you drive on the information super-highway. You wouldn’t head out on your local freeway without something between you and all the bugs.

If you sell anything through your website you have probably already been forced to have an SSL certificate on your site. However, if you don’t sell anything it would still be a good idea to have this anyway.

Google is trying to do something about this by pressuring companies to provide more security for the people who visit their websites. Google is pushing back against web pages with URLs that begin with “HTTP” – no “s” – because they don’t encrypt communication between the user and the website. Communication may not be secure and the user’s interactions with the website can be hacked.

My recommended hosting sites (and they include SSL!):
Site Ground
Flywheel
WP Engine

Update your content and photography

If you’ve built your website over 4 years ago, most likely it’s far behind in terms of looks and functionality. Look through your website thoroughly changing and reference to dates. Also, take a look at your photos and make sure that they are still relevant. If you started your site with a lot of stock photography, not might be the time you get professional photos of your business.

Update your technology

Website standards are changing all of the time. Check your site to make sure that it is still compatible with mobile devices and current browsers.
Also, think about your current business and how your website can work for you better with updated technology. Does your website allow visitors to contact you directly through it? Can you customers schedule appointments or ask questions through your website? Now is your chance to let your website better work for you and create a more convenient customer experience.