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When to Revise Your Online Presence

by Arianne Foulks

April 9, 2024
Worthwhile Paper homepage

This post was originally published in UPPERCASE magazine, issue #61.

Sometimes I get a bit uptight about finishing and sending in my article for UPPERCASE. Once Janine publishes the magazine, there’s no way to edit or fix mistakes. An appealing thing about my line of work, web design, is that a website is never done.

Shopify website for Nice Enough Stickers

Why to adjust your website

Aside from reactively fixing things on your site, you can also proactively adjust it. Why? As Janine pointed out to me, we ourselves are always changing. It is okay to allow that flexibility in our businesses as well. You or your creative work may change, or your business model may shift. Of course, the internet and the world around us are changing all the time.

Even when all remains the same on your end, there are always ways to communicate more effectively with your visitors and customers. It’s important to review stats and feedback to keep improving.

While it might seem stressful to have a business asset that needs constant work, it’s also relaxing, in a way. When you can continue to work on refining your website, that means you don’t need to get it perfect at first. In most cases, it’s better to get something up and running rather than try to get it perfect the first time. In fact, it’s easier to make informed choices when people are using your site and giving you valuable feedback and stats to review.

Little Apple Treats homepage

When to adjust your website

We see cycles for most businesses with their website. This tends to start with a big design or redesign, and then constant improvement until the next redesign. It’s rare that a website can keep the same look and feel over a span of many years, and evolution is a better tactic online.

When should you update, refresh, or redesign your website completely? There are times when what was working for you before may now be holding you back. Often, a business will reach a point where they need a more polished or professional look to get to the next step. This might mean rebranding.

In another case, your business may have expanded to have more elements than it used to and your website is no longer conveying that well. For instance, if you’ve added classes, licensing, or wholesale to what used to be a more simple offering.

At Aeolidia, we often work with shop owners to rethink their brand strategy. In a nutshell, your brand strategy is what you make, who it’s for, what makes it different, and how you talk about it. To improve sales, we’ll redesign websites, logos, brands, and even help rename businesses. This is a big project to do on your own. It can be more effective to collaborate with a team like mine who can bring an outside perspective to telling your story.

What about the period of growth in between when your business is new and when it needs an overhaul? There are still plenty of things that are important to adjust and update regularly.

SweetHoney Clothing blog

Things to keep up to date online

When selling online, it’s important to look active, not like you’ve abandoned your website. You want to make sure your offers are all still important to promote, and that you aren’t sharing any out of date information.

There are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye on as time goes by.

  • Your announcement bar: It can be helpful to have an area at the top of your site to announce things. This might be new products, sales, shipping offers, and other announcements. Make sure your offer or news here stays relevant. This also applies to any pop-up windows.
  • Your site header: We call the large photo and bit of text that many sites have on the top of the homepage the “hero” spot. Make sure this area of your homepage makes it clear what your site is about. If you use this area to promote new products or featured products, keep it up to date.
  • Featured or new section: Whether your site is a shop or a portfolio, it’s good to feature new products or pieces. You can change this section frequently to guide visitors to what’s important to see first. Often, this will be a new or seasonal collection.
  • Social proof: This is what we call any kind of recognition that shows that other people trust and like your business. This can be press, publicity, praise, testimonials, collaborations. Any time you have a new bit of “proof” that you run a legitimate and trustworthy business, you can freshen this area on your site.
  • Time sensitive information: If you have a brick-and-mortar retail location, it’s important to keep your store hours up to date. For a business that offers food or drink, a current menu is a must. You may host events or offer classes. Customers want to see what’s coming up, not what they missed three months ago.
  • Blog posts: One danger of having a blog is that if you don’t update it very often, it can look like you’ve gone out of business. A lack of recent content can cause people to worry about making a purchase. If you don’t have the resources to keep up with a blog, one solution is to remove the dates from the posts and call it “articles,” instead. This way, you retain the information without it looking out of date.
  • Social media: It’s a good idea to keep your bio, links, and highlights up to date. When you have news on your site, this can become news to post on social media. Even if you aren’t active on social media, you’ll want to post now and again so people realize your business is thriving elsewhere. If you are busy on social media, you can keep things tidy by removing old posts that aren’t relevant.
  • Email marketing: Email newsletters have, of course, been sent to your readers’ inboxes and can’t be revised. However, a good email marketing strategy will include a number of automated emails (a welcome email at the least, and then any number of other automatic emails, such as abandoned cart, post-purchase, re-engagement, birthday, etc.). These can and should be reviewed regularly. Sometimes your emails will need some edits, and other times you may want to rewrite them based on where your business is at now.

Selling online is all about trust and engagement, and keeping your website and online presence up to date is a big factor in being trustworthy. With everything else you need to do to run a business, it’s easy for your website to take a back seat. I suggest listing out regular website updates in a calendar or task manager program with a recurring due date. This way, you can keep your site from gathering cobwebs.

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