Taking Care of the Tech

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The 4-Step Plan for Reviewing & Auditing Your Website Ready for Success Next Year

Usually, self-diagnosis is a no-no. Especially medically. Or psychologically. But in the case of your website, it’s totally ok – IF you know what symptoms you’re looking for.

After years of working in design and branding consulting, we at Podcast Websites have created the perfect DIY system for testing your own website. This system is the very same one I used on my web clients – the very same one I used on Fortune 500 companies, and the very same one I use on your colleagues and peers. And now you can use it, too.

Once your website analysis is complete, you will be able to either:

  1. make the changes, one by one, to increase the money-making power on your website yourself OR
  2. make a comprehensive list to hand to any designer to price for you OR
  3. send your feedback to the Podcast Websites support team, if you’re a member, so that we can implement the changes with you

Either way, we DON’T want you to get overwhelmed by what you find during this process. Each business, each podcaster, each entrepreneur, and each website is different. Maybe you don’t NEED every single thing you might be missing on my list. Not everyone needs a welcome video. Not everyone wants to have an FAQ page. No worries!! It’s a guideline, nothing more.

So here’s what we want you to do. Before we start this process together, we want you to repeat this oath.

I, INSERT NAME HERE, promise that I WILL NOT become so overwhelmed by the suggestions here that I will put down the guide and never open it ever again.

I, INSERT NAME HERE, promise that I WILL consider every suggestion with an open mind, decide whether or not it is right for my website and my business, and simply agree or disagree.

I, INSERT NAME HERE, promise that I WILL NOT feel hurt or insulted by any suggestion in the guide that may seem fussy, particular, overly nitpicky, or downright blunt. (For example, if I tell you to get a second pair of eyeballs on your copy. Which, if you’ve never done so, it most definitely needs.)

I, INSERT NAME HERE, promise that I WILL take deep breaths and close my eyes for just a moment if things start to seem frustrating.

OK, I think we’re all set. Remember, technology can be a never-ending beast sometimes – but that is the nature of it. Websites are a moving target, they are never truly “finished.” So knowing this, you should go into it expecting to get simply a wishlist, and not a big giant to-do list that has to be finished by the weekend.

Your website will never be “finished.” Ever. But you can keep things from getting stale, and you can turn your website into a money-maker if you follow a few best practices and guidelines.

Lastly, we highly recommend that you download the workbook in the Podcast Success Academy, as it has checklists and areas where you can make notes during this process. Working through this without your website open at the very least won’t be helpful. But you can print out the workbook, and sit with a pen or fill it out in one window with your website open in another. 

Download Your Free Podcast Website Audit Workbook Now

General Look and Feel of Your Podcast Website

A professional website is a happy website. Professional doesn’t have to mean expensive. Grassroots doesn’t have to look cheap, either. We want to make sure that your site is tight, that it reflects you well, and that it has all the important elements. Let’s take a look at some of the details and see if your site looks professional to other people.

At first glance, you should look to see if your website professional looking, in general. Signs of an unprofessionally designed site include fuzzy images and different fonts on every aspect of the website. 

Are the images featured on your site clear, or fuzzy? Fuzzy and blurry images could mean low-resolution.

Graphics, body copy, title/header, and headlines should all have similar fonts. The total amount of fonts to keep a site professional is 2, 3 if you really know what you’re doing. NO MORE. And ideally, they should all be different. A sans font, a sans serif, and a display font if you’re feeling sassy. For more info about the different types of fonts, read this.

Another aspect to consider about fonts is whether or not you’re using something unique. These days, websites created with Times New Roman and Arial look pretty outdated.

It should be very, very clear on the homepage who you are and what you do. If these aspects are missing, they need to be fixed.

Are you using a professional theme? Often this is the key to having a site that can really reflect your branding. Professional sites are much more easily customized. If the theme is a free theme, is it on-brand, or did you just pick it because you liked the color/background/graphics?

Colors and graphics should precisely match the feel and experience you’re trying to give your web visitors. If anything is iffy, get rid of it. When in doubt, do without!

Goals for Your Podcast Website – Yours

Goals are a HUGE part of every website. Each website should be designed and structured with both YOUR goals in mind and your reader’s goals. And they’re not always the same goals! Perhaps you’re wanting to sell a new e-book and everyone is coming to your website for your incredible blog posts. So we need to make BOTH goals easily accessible.

Let’s start with YOUR goals first.

What do you want people to DO on your site? Read your blog? Participate in something? Sign up for something? Take a look and first make sure your website is doing exactly what you want it to do.

Pretend you’re a new user of the site and you’ve never been to it before. Is what you want them to do obvious? If no, is there a functional or strategic reason why not, or is it just an oversight? Does it not fit on the homepage? If not, perhaps some rethinking of the site is in order.

Does your goal seem prioritized? It may be easy to find, but does it seem important to you, the website’s owner? If it’s just accessible, but downplayed, you may want to consider boosting the prominence of the action. When you downplay things on the homepage, the web user can often ignore the very thing you want them to do most!

Goals For Your Podcast Website – Theirs

We may want our audience to do one thing, but they want to do another. This can be a common problem, but not one that’s impossible to solve. We want to keep their needs active, even if we are ready for people to do something else on the site – and the reason why is so they don’t turn to someone else for those solutions! An example of this would be if people are going to visit a coach’s website to learn about their new ebook, even though what SHE wants is for them to coach with her 1-1. She needs to have both things readily available, right away on her website. So let’s analyze YOUR site for your audience.

What does your audience want to do, as far as you know? You can survey them, if you wish, but you should be able to guess based on what questions you get on a regular basis. Make sure their goals are easy to achieve, that your site is well organized, that the information is easily read.

Perhaps a sitemap would help or quick links in the sidebar, any type of buttons on the homepage to display their common goal, so they can find what they need from you.

By the way, last week we published 7 Mistakes Podcasters Make and How to Fix Them, and to compliment it, Mark added a FREE mini course and Trello template to help plan out your website and specifically, the goals I’m referring to above in the Podcast Success Academy.

Read The 7 Mistakes That Podcasters Are Making on Their Websites (And How to Fix Them!) Now
Download The Ultimate Podcast Website Planning Tool Here

 

Copy and Messaging

This part is two-fold. Your writing should really reflect your story, your brand message. It should be written in your voice. It should give the reader a real idea, a feel for what kind of personality you have and what you stand for. In addition, it needs to be edited. And let me type it one more time, just to make sure y’all hear me! IT NEEDS TO BE EDITED.

Unless you’ve taken writing courses, I can guarantee there are spelling, grammar and punctuation errors -4 and those errors are the difference between you looking professional and you looking like a hack. (The truth hurts. Ask anyone who has ever worked with me.)

It also needs to be easily readable. Centered paragraphs are generally bad because the eye reads from left to right. Copy that is colored blue or underlined, without being hyperlinked, is sort of like “faking out” your readers since we as web users are so used to blue or underlined text as links. So we’re going to test for it all, baby!

Your brand mission should be stated, and obvious on the site as well as your core values. And when you have core values, you need to make sure the rest of your brand reflects them, so check your about and services page to make sure your core values are verbally strong within your copy.

Your voice should be really apparent, as well, whether you’re trying to create a fun or conservative atmosphere.

Lastly, check for spacing that seems off, and large blocks of text that can be broken up. This helps the reader go down the page as opposed to having eyeballs glaze over with big blocks of words. (It happens.)

Finally, check for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Money Makers and Client Attractors On Your Podcast Website

OK let’s get into the nitty-gritty. This is a really big section, but all of these suggestions may not apply to you. Read each one and see if they maybe COULD help you out, but don’t get frustrated and want to do them all at once.

Patience, young Jedi.

These questions are designated to make sure your site has everything it needs to make you look credible, social, and the true expert you are. Here’s where you’ll dress to impress, put your best foot forward, and capture the audience’s attention. Here’s where you’ll get them drooling for what you have to give.

Firstly, do you have social profiles? Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn? Make sure your social channels are linked so you can invite people to connect with you elsewhere.

Give the audience the ability to share your content. Your blog posts and services should be shareable, but your about and contact page should not.

Give the audience the ability to comment in the right places. Again, blog posts, yes, other pages, NO. Webinars, maybe.

Each website should have a contact form, with a drop-down menu anticipating what they may want from you. (This also reinforces the goals from section 2.)

Note: Podcast Websites makes it really easy to incorporate all these things – the social, the contact form, the lead magnet – all of these things are INCREDIBLY easy when you’re a Podcast Websites member. Learn more about what’s offered here or book a call with James to discuss if Podcast Websites is right for you!

Make sure to include any awards or recognition, as well as any large/impressive companies, you’ve worked with – and make sure this information is visible on the site.

A media page is a great idea to help with credibility. Media pages are designed to help provide the media with the essential information they need about you (which also implies that the media wants to talk to you). A few of the elements to include on your media page include: Company Mission and History, Product List, Company Bios, Company News and Press Releases, Brochures, Logos, Images, Headshots.

 Make sure your involvements are accessible on your website, as well as any events you’re running or participating in. Even Facebook events can be advertised on your site, and it makes people able to become involved in your biz, and creates relationships.

Sign up offers give people a taste of your authority – but you can’t just ask people to subscribe to your newsletter. Give them a freebie. Something juicy. Something they can’t get anywhere else, your best and most useful. This way they’re sure to come back for more!

Make sure you have testimonials – and if you don’t have any yet, see our previous article explaining how to do so.

Go to The Giant Testimonial Gathering Guide to Start Building Your Podcast Testimonials, Now

Have LOTS of calls to action on your website. People love to be told what to do. Don’t be subtle and make suggestions. TELL them. “Download now.” “Sign up here.” “Share this post.” Think here about whether or you’re able to add more throughout your website.

Do you have a welcome audio or video? Sometimes personal connection right off the bat can be wildly motivating for potential new customers.

Allow people to pay you EASILY on your website. This is important. If you accept donations for a cause, don’t ask people to write checks. Go paper-free, tell people you’re saving the environment. Accept all your payments online, via PayPal or any other method. Let people sign up on your website if at all possible and pay you right away.

USP – your unique selling proposition should be obvious on your site. Make sure you explain why you’re different than other, similar shows/service providers/businesses.

Highlight your newest products and services front and center. 

Advertise your newsletter, affiliate program, books you’ve written prominently, and explain what’s involved in each.

Again, if this is starting to feel overwhelming, we are here to help! Our support team is available 24/7 and we work with you both on your website AND your podcast. So if you’ve gotten to this point in the article and thought – how am I EVER going to do all of this, remember there’s a checklist waiting for you in the Podcast Success Academy, and we can always be your support and launch team for your podcast and website!

Techy Shiz On Your Podcast Website

I bet you thought you’d get away with skipping this part, eh? Well, not today, friend. Now that the site is primed for making some money, let’s make sure people can find it. We want to optimize it for the search engines now. Because what good is all this work if no one gets to enjoy it? First, we’ll dive into what search terms you want to be found for, then the checklist (in the Podcast Success Academy) will just make sure that technically, everything is in place and secure.

What are your specialities? You should know everything people might search to find what it is you can help them with, and then write the website copy with these keywords in mind.

When you write your page titles, searchable terms should be included. They don’t have to be in EVERY page title, but the individual services, etc. should be considered.

Include an SEO friendly plugin installed on your site. (We include SEO tools in our Podcast Websites service for free.) 

Do you have Google analytics or some other way of checking traffic? I can’t stress how important it is to know your website statistics. You need to know how are people finding your site, what terms they’re searching for and what they SHOULD they be searching for.

Do you have a backup system in place if your website breaks down? If you don’t, use this moment right now to download a plugin that will prevent your life from mountains of chaos. (There’s a plugin that will backup to Dropbox, if you need a system on your own site, but if you’re a Podcast Websites member you get complete backups, every day.) Also included in this insurance moment should be hacker prevention, also available in plugin form.

Lastly, do you have a system for someone to go in and update themes, plugins and software? This is vital for keeping things functional at all times. Don’t neglect updates or things break, and then people are upset (mostly YOU.)

Our Podcast Websites product has SEO, a free SSL certificate, and secure RSS feeds built in. Being a member with us takes a lot of the pressure and stress off of taking care of ALL of the above! Book a call with James to learn more. 

Hooray! You’re done! How did it go? Is your website up to snuff? Is it better off than you thought? Do you have a to-do list a mile long? Regardless of what shape your site is websites are never truly finished. They should be ever-evolving and improving with age, just like we do.

Make sure if you’re going to go through these steps, you download the 5 checklists and workbook in the Podcast Success Academy – INCREDIBLY helpful in making sure each item has been attended to and completed.

Download the Podcast Assessment Guide In The Podcast Success Academy Now

As always, you can post in the forum with any questions!

Ready to monetize your audience & become an audio influencer?

Podcasters all across the world are transforming from simply producing audio to becoming a monetised, influential brand with Podcast Websites. When you're ready to become an audio influencer in your niche, we're here for you.

Jessica Kupferman

Head of Marketing at Rebel Base Media and the co-founder of She Podcasts. Podcaster since 2013, obsessed with marketing and advertising since about 1986. Twitter: @jesskupferman Instagram: @jesskupferman

Ready to monetize your audience & become an audio influencer?

Podcasters all across the world are transforming from simply producing audio to becoming a monetised, influential brand with Podcast Websites. When you're ready to become an audio influencer in your niche, we're here for you.