6 Ways To Spring Clean Your Digital Presence


Image: Brian Jackson / Adobe Stock

When spring has sprung (or at any change in season), consider it the perfect time for a marketing audit.

Most small- and mid-sized business owners are busy running the day-to-day operations, so when it comes to their website or social media, there’s a tendency to “set it and forget it.” But a digital presence isn’t like a crockpot you walk away from and forget about while it does all the work.

A marketing audit will reveal what is and isn’t working, and leave you more open to finding opportunities and trying new things that might work better.

While the word “audit” — especially during tax season — may make you feel like running for the hills, a review and refresh of your digital presence isn’t as daunting as it seems.

1. Getting Started

A company’s digital footprint extends far beyond its website and social media accounts. An often overlooked component, yet one critical for local SEO, are directory listings. These are online profiles such as Apple Maps, Yelp and Bing containing essential information about a business — such as name, address, phone number and website.

Many of these directory websites automatically pull information from elsewhere on the internet, so there’s a high probability there are outdated, or even unclaimed, company profiles you’re unaware of. 

Considering 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase,1 it’s imperative for businesses to ensure their local listings are accurate and up to date in as many directories as possible.

The simplest and most efficient way to do this is by using a listing management tool like Semrush, Moz Local or BrightLocal. Once you establish your location, these set-up-and-go tools search for and update your information across dozens of the most-viewed directories automatically. Many also include reputation-management capabilities, providing a single dashboard to manage and respond to customer reviews.

2. Performing Website Maintenance

Performed routinely and effectively, local SEO efforts such as online listing management can help increase a company’s visibility and its website traffic, making it important to maintain a fast, error-free and optimized website.

Best practices suggest many website maintenance tasks be performed daily, weekly or even monthly, but when you’re running a small business, it’s easy for such tasks to be pushed to the back burner.

Set aside a few hours this spring to verify your business’s contact information and hours of operation are correct, search for and fix broken links, test the site speed, fillable forms and checkout process (if applicable) and delete any unnecessary plug-ins or themes.

We recommend using a free broken-link checker (brokenlinkcheck.com) and Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool (pagespeed.web.dev) to simplify these processes.

Those with e-commerce websites should also spend time ensuring its security. According to WebARX, “98% of WordPress vulnerabilities are related to plug-ins.”2 When it seems like you see an alert for a new software or plug-in update every other day, it’s easy to ignore them. Oftentimes, however, those updates specifically address security vulnerabilities. And sometimes, they provide additional improvements and features as well, so take the time to download the newest version of everything. These updates typically don’t take too long, and can make a big difference to how secure your website is.

3. Improving Security

Staying on the topic of security, now is also an ideal time to review who has access to the backend of your website, as well as any social media accounts. Maybe you discontinued working with a marketing agency or forgot about a former employee who still has access. Additionally, most platforms offer varying levels of access. Verify that users don’t have more access than what is needed to perform their job duties, such as the ability to edit payment information or delete the entire website.

While you’re at it, update passwords. To thwart any unauthorized access to your website, it’s vital to have a solid and complex password. Be sure it’s a unique password that isn’t used for other online accounts.

It’s also recommended to change the default “admin” name in your content management system (like WordPress) to something more secure. By leaving it as is, you’ll only be making hackers’ jobs easier.

4. Reviewing Analytics

With the basics out of the way, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Review your digital analytics to pinpoint potential issues.

Do some pages have abnormally high bounce rates? Give those a look to potentially identify something about the design or copy that’s keeping people from sticking around.

Do mobile users convert at much lower rates than desktop users? Maybe it’s necessary to update buttons or forms to be more mobile-friendly.

Are you actively running any advertising campaigns? Make sure to setup conversion tracking to monitor phone calls, website purchases, newsletter signups, button clicks or other website actions. This is crucial to evaluating ROI. 

Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, make the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) system will stop processing data on July 1. Users should make the move over to GA4 as soon as possible to build the necessary historical data before Universal Analytics stops processing new hits.

According to Google, GA4 operates across platforms, does not rely exclusively on cookies and uses an event-based data model to deliver user-centric measurement. And if you recall from our January issue,3 one of the key trends highlighted was the growing focus on data privacy and how business should develop a plan for how to market in a cookie-less world. Migrating to GA4 now is a key step in developing that plan.

5. Cleaning Lists

Another important facet of learning how to market in a cookie-less world is collecting and protecting as much first-party data as you can. Given the ROI of email marketing, email addresses are without a doubt considered the holy grail of first-party data.

Businesses often spend more time and resources on growing their email lists than they do nurturing and maintaining the health of those lists. If your email bounce rate is up and/or the open and click-through rates are down, it’s a good indication it’s time to scrub the list. After all, a stagnant or bot-infested email list is worse than having no list.

Start by checking for contacts on multiple active lists. You’ll also want to check the last-sent date on any lists and delete those that are too old.

Constant Contact, a popular email marketing platform, suggests going a step further by segmenting email subscribers into three main groups — those who love you and open your emails almost every time, those who sometimes open and those who hardly ever engage. Then, you can more easily implement and track the effectiveness of strategies to re-engage those in the latter two groups.

6. Evaluating Social Strategy

Given it’s 2023, I’d be remiss if I wrote an article about cleaning up your digital presence without addressing social media.

As with your website and local directory listings, make sure any social media accounts are updated with correct business hours and contact information, such as the phone number, physical address and website URL.

However, with firearms-related advertising and content policies growing more and more restrictive, it’s likely a more effective use of time to evaluate your social media strategy as a whole.

Did you create a Twitter account five years ago and haven’t posted a single tweet? Don’t have the time to consistently create Instagram content? Consider deactivating accounts that are no longer serving you. Instead, focus only on the platforms that help move the needle

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