Often busy solopreneurs like you realize that their websites no longer shine as they did at first, but don’t quite know what to do. If you are no longer in touch with your designer, it may be overwhelming to have to to find a new designer, and if you built the site yourself, you may have stopped at this point because you reached the end of your abilities to make the changes you wanted. (We’ve all found a theme we’ve fallen in love with, and then hit a wall trying to make it do the one thing to make it ours, that we naively thought would be really easy to change!)
One of the biggest problems I see is that like cars, web design trends are always changing, so sites gradually start to lose their shine as they become dated. Your state of the art site from 2012 now looks less appealing, although it is still completely functional. You invested good money in getting your site built, but sadly, it is going to need aesthetic updates from time to time. While much of your content can be reused, the appearance will probably need some thought and then reworking. If you aren’t sure how quickly sites get out of date, visit the Way Back Machine site and put in the url for a site you visit often. Then look at the way it first appeared, and how it has changed, either subtly or dramatically in the intervening years.
Another way sites lose their shine is when Google makes changes to the way it ranks sites. While the appearance of the site is not usually the main consideration here, if you previously had 100 visitors a day to your site, and then they fell off abruptly, a Google update may be the reason. For a while the updates most targeted the behavior of spammy marketers who copied material from legitimate sites, or who created pages of gibberish packed with keywords, now Google is working to make sites useful to those who visit them. Are your keywords relevant to your content, or have you slowly changed direction so the original direction of your site has been lost? Google also likes it if you write good, original content that is helpful to visitors, and will reward your domain with better traffic. Google also likes frequent updates, so when their bots come around they find something new. I always recommend that clients have a blog on their site and establish a writing routine. Some resist, but even one client who posts just once a month is seeing more traffic that before they decided to post.
As someone who maintains sites for others, a big issue is that people want to upload high definition photos straight from their phones. These images are too large to use on a site as they would take a long time to load. Fortunately there are a lot of sites where you can easily upload large photos and get web-friendly photo files in return. Your site and/or webmaster will love you if you use a service like this instead of filling DropBox with enormous files for them to resize before using!
If you would like to receive my top 10 ways to make your site shine again, please go here to download it.