by Ken Wells on July 29, 2020
You may have emerged from lockdown with a new appreciation for your online presence. For some businesses, their website was their only operational storefront during the self-quarantine period. It's a reminder of how much of our corporate identity is shown solely on the web.
But you might be wondering if that digital storefront looks a little faded. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to ensure your site is up to date.
Is it friendly to mobile platforms?
Your business can't afford to ignore customers using phones or tablets. Four out of five Americans own smartphones, and it's hard to ignore the convenience and versatility of having a storefront at your disposal in your front pocket. But customers can’t use a website when it becomes unreadable on a phone.
The answer, then, isn't just squishing your website to fit the confines of a mobile device's display, but an approach called responsive design — designing a website so that its layout and elements shift position and styles to conform to whatever size display they're being viewed on for easy readability and use. It's not easy, but what is, anymore?
Is it accessible?
More people can access the Internet than ever, and it's important to remember that different users will need different tools to access your site's information.
Images need textual alternatives for those using screen readers or other assistive technologies, and any critical information that is visually relayed should also be shown in text. Your typography should be crisp and readable, with adequate contrast between the type color and its background for legibility.
Remember, you want to ensure that your storefront is open to as many people as possible.
I s i t s l o w ?
Dialup was an era of unfolding technologies and glacial Internet connections. But welcome to the broadband age, with gigabytes of downloads, streaming video, and websites that load almost instantaneously. Your audience's patience has grown pretty thin, and they won’t wait for long to let a site load anymore.
If your site does take an unusual — or even noticeable — length of time to load, there could be several causes. Is it built on an ancient framework that just doesn't support the optimizations that most web servers support? Are there some underlying errors in the pages that search for content that just isn't loading anymore? Are the images too big, or even the wrong format? Slow and steady do not win the race on the web.
Does Google know you're there?
Being on the coveted first page of Google results is critical to a website’s success. Google constantly evolves, and by the same measure, its ranking of search results can and will change periodically. Today's lofty position in a Google search is tomorrow's slot on the dreaded page two of results, where only the truly desperate searchers tread.
It sounds like a game, which it sort of is, and it's called search engine optimization, or SEO. It's not just the craft of knowing how Google works, it's knowing how Google works that day, and being able to adapt to how Google decides to act tomorrow. It takes a specific set of skills, but all you have to do is watch your presence in the Google ranking work its way up and you'll know it's time well spent.
How much do you really know about your website?
How deep do your analytics go? Do you even have analytics? If not, let this be a rousing endorsement, because otherwise your website is running blind and you have no real idea what's working and what's not.
When you have a full suite of analytics at your disposal, you see your website completely differently. You'll know what drives traffic to your site, why people leave, which search terms led to you, and where visitors came from. You will have so much data (no, really, SO MUCH) at your disposal you'll be overwhelmed.
These are just the first questions you should ask about your website. Are you having trouble answering, or do you not like the answers you're getting? Need an expert in SEO or analytics? Need experienced web designers or customized, simple tools to keep your site updated? We can help with all that. Just get in touch.