8 Ways to Improve Your Site Over the Weekend

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Everybody may be working for the weekend, but if you run a website, you already know that you’re almost always working on the weekend, as well.

In fact, most of the work of the everyday Web professional has to do with tweaking, analyzing, and generally optimizing the performance of their site(s), which can take up a lot of time.

So, if you don't want to spend your whole weekend working, here are eight quick ways to refine your website in two days, and still have time to go see the new Batman movie.

Offer social proof on your website.

While peer pressure is typically seen as negative, that is not the case in the marketing world. Web workers can display customer testimonials or case studies on their website to increase engagement and conversions. By doing this, your audience will be able to relate to other customers, and therefore learn how effective your services or products are from a trusted opinion. So, find some of the nicest things that consumers out there have said about you (and don't forget, you can encourage them) and share it with the world.

Test email subject lines.

Email marketing campaigns won’t be successful if emails aren’t delivered or opened, which is why it is always important to use best practices, such as testing, when creating email subject lines. One way that marketers can quickly test email subject lines is with subjectline.com. This free subject line scoring tool evaluates subject lines and provides users with scores, as well as deliverability and marketing tips and advice. Take some time - 15 minutes or so - to sit down and brainstorm great subject lines.

Generate a Fivesecondtest for your site to assess its usability/readability.

When you don’t have the time to conduct user tests, this handy Web-based tool lets Web workers upload a screenshot of their Web page and then creates two different five-second user tests, one for memory and one for descriptive feedback. And, you know, it only takes five seconds.

Insert dynamic meta descriptions into your HTML.

One of the easiest ways to improve your search marketing efforts is to include useful, compelling meta descriptions on your Web pages. Just be sure that they are relevant to the page’s content and are captivating enough inspire a user to click on the search result.

Monitor keywords on Twitter.

It is important to keep an eye on discussions that are relevant to your brand, because it can help social media managers better connect with their audience, as well as help publishers discover possible content ideas. While there are many tools that can be leveraged for monitoring social media mentions, two free Twitter-specific tools worth checking out are Monitter and Twitterfall. Take a few minutes every hour or so to see who is using your keywords in the Twitterverse.

Assess your forms.

Does your email subscription form ask for unnecessary information? If the answer is "yes," you may be scaring off potential subscribers. This is why removing unnecessary or less important information from your forms can prove to be beneficial in the long run. In fact, it is important to note that the only information really needed on a newsletter subscription form is a name and email address, especially because more targeted information can always be obtained at a later time. Should you have some time to spare, why not give one (or all?) of your forms a review to make sure they're not asking superfluous questions.

Fix up and customize your 404 page.

Obviously you never want your visitors to land on one of these, but it happens, and in those situations, it’s good to have a custom 404 page that will not only provide them with information, but also offers additional useful content and encourages them to continue exploring your awesome website. If your 404 page is uninformative and boring, why not take a few hours to create one that will be a little more meaningful to your site's visitors?

Adjust white space to improve readability.

Finding the right balance between too much and too little space around text is one of the essential aspects of a readable website. Remember that your chunks of text content need room to breathe so that your visitors can view them more easily, and they shouldn’t be adhered to other elements, particularly images. Spend a few minutes during your morning coffee looking over your website to make sure it's optimized for readability, and if you see any problems, try increasing your padding and margins.

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5 comments

Pam 07-20-2012 4:23 PM

NIcely done. I have several new ideas for this weekend!

Web Designer 07-20-2012 4:58 PM

Thansk for the ideas Michael. I am going to redo my forms this weekend.

ChadC 07-20-2012 10:25 PM

I've heard of the Twitter tools you mentioned but never gave them much thought till now thanks!!

Doolally 07-22-2012 1:37 PM

The five second test looks interesting.  Not much of the weekend left but I'm going to give it a got and see how I get on.

ShellH 07-23-2012 11:08 AM

How about this? Create a sitemap for your visitor and for the search engines. I would also add, install a blog. Simple enough with most hosting packages now.

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