UX wireframes

‘Spring Cleaning’ Your Website

As spring breezes sweep away the cobwebs of winter, it’s not just our homes that deserve a thorough cleaning: your websites do, too! Like any living space, your website can accumulate clutter over time, impacting its performance and user experience. 

Join us as we explore some of the tasks that should be on every website owner’s spring cleaning checklist. 

Remove and update 404 links

Imagine you’re tracking down an important piece of information on the internet, only to hit the dreaded 404 error — foiled again! If your website aims to attract and delight end users, providing them with a positive user experience while they visit your site is crucial. When end users encounter a broken link, it can be frustrating and diminish their trust in your website.

From an SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint, 404 errors can be a red flag to search engines, suggesting a lack of upkeep that can negatively influence your site’s ranking. Additionally, broken links disrupt the flow of search engine crawlers, hindering the site’s ability to be indexed correctly, which impacts how easily a user can find your website when performing an online search.

Ensuring that all links lead to the intended content keeps users engaged, encourages them to explore more of the site, and helps maintain a positive reputation with visitors and search engines.

How to check for 404 links

This task may seem daunting, especially for e-commerce or large-scale websites, but various free tools scrape your website for not only 404 errors but other unsuccessful HTTP response codes. As Quality Assurance (QA), I’ve used the following links and can vouch for both their thoroughness and a pleasant user interface. 

Manually review content

Among the most time-intensive yet vital tasks in your website’s ‘spring cleaning’ regimen is the thorough review of your content. Whether you’ve recently upgraded to the latest version of Drupal or are creating a new website, the content you initially uploaded was current. The real challenge lies in maintaining that freshness over time. But the more you can keep it current, the better it is for your site’s SEO.

It is imperative to regularly evaluate and update your website’s content to ensure that your information remains relevant, engaging, and meets user’s needs. This task, unfortunately, does require manual effort (but can be made more enjoyable by pouring a glass of wine while you review your content.)

Are you thinking it may not be worth the effort? This Semrush report found that 53% of marketers noted increased end-user engagement simply by updating their content. 

Screengrab of an SEMRush report with a bar chart demonstrating how engagement went up by 53% after content was updated on a website.

How to keep your content current

A content update or refresh can be as in-depth as you’d like. We’ve created a helpful content scorecard for anyone wishing to do a full content audit of their site. 

Additionally, look at Google Analytics so you can review which pieces of content are getting the most traffic. Then look at which ones aren’t getting enough. Can those be refreshed or updated? Can you add more images? Lastly, check your keywords as well to ensure your content is ranking the way you wish. 

Trends come and go, memes go viral and then fall out of existence (does anybody remember the ‘Dancing Baby’ 3D rendering from the 90s?), and while continually updating your website’s content to keep it bussin’ is lowkey tedious, taking the time once or twice a year to glow up your cheugy content shows you and your website got rizz. No cap. 

Note: The author wants to apologize for the last few sentences on this topic.

Audit meta tag/schema data

Updating your Schema markup and meta tags is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of website maintenance, as updating these fields yields no visible, immediate results. What does this data even mean, and what does it do?

Schema, a specific type of microdata, creates a description (or “rich snippet”) that appears in search results. For example, use a search engine to look up information on an upcoming event. Schema can provide you with where the event is taking place, the date and time of the event, images related to the event, and dozens more options.

On the other hand, meta tags provide metadata about the HTML document itself, giving potential site visitors more details about what kind of information your website has. Meta tags also help curate a better online experience by specifying images, titles, and descriptions appearing when a page is shared via social media. 

How to update your meta tags and schema

While there are thousands of configuration opens for schema markups, it is an excellent opportunity for more detail-oriented folks to get in there and refine the data as much as they’d like. As an added bonus, this data is easily configured within the Configuration settings for both Drupal and WordPress. 

Want more information on how many configuration options there are for Schema markups, or do you want to know more? Check out our blog post or visit schema.org’s ‘Getting Started’ section at schema.org. Or are you curious as to how your website appears for end users? Validate your schema markup here, and check your meta tags here

Verify media items have appropriate alt text and captions

The importance of website accessibility cannot be overstated and here at Kanopi, we have stated this importance plenty of times:

When we think about enhancing website accessibility, we aim to create a seamless user experience, regardless of how one interacts with the site. Consider this: while a user who doesn’t rely on assistive technologies can instantly appreciate an image of the world’s cutest puppy snoozing with its tongue poking out, these delightful details may escape a user depending on a screen reader. 

The backend of a website showing how and where to enter alternative text for a photo of a sleeping puppy.

How to add alt text and captions

Thankfully, it’s really easy to update alt text and captions in your media. When doing a content audit, simply check the images in your CMS when doing a ‘spring cleaning’ for your website to ensure the alt text and captions are there. 

By dedicating just a few hours a couple of times a year to update your images with clear titles, descriptive alt text, and informative captions, you not only comply with accessibility standards but also enrich everyone’s browsing experience. This small investment of time will ensure that all users, regardless of their mode of access, can view and interact with all of your site’s content, so you don’t lose any visitors along the way.

It’s time to get tidy!

Like many of life’s endeavors, consistent upkeep is not merely beneficial; it’s essential. This same logic applies with equal force to your website. The amount of time you choose to invest — a modest four hours or a more substantial forty — rests entirely in your hands, but remember that dedicating time to refresh and enhance your website will inevitably draw more visitors and significantly improve their user experience.

Are you interested in a spring clean but find yourself strapped for time? Reach out to us. Let us fine-tune your website to perfection.