The New Year always brings a time for reflection, both personal and professional. We resolve to “Get a promotion!” or “Run that ½ marathon!” (Okay, let’s not get completely crazy.) One of the first things to stop and evaluate is the online face of your business. Most often, it’s the first impression for potential customers. Is your current website the best it can be? In the spirit of accomplishing New Year’s Resolutions (#1 being “Improve My Website”) we’ve come up with 5 easy steps for 2015. Think of it as your own personal DIY Healthy Website guide!
1. On-site SEO
You can have the greatest site in the world, but if nobody can find you, what’s the use? Three major factors effecting how you rank in searches are page content, title tag and URL.
Good content means two things: your content is linkable and it meets supply and demand principals. If we only allowed you to view our blog posts after creating an account, required a log in and didn’t allow any posts to be shared- that’s not exactly creating linkable content.
Meeting supply and demand principals is pretty simple – create content that people want to read. If you’re an IT company writing about how cute Grumpy Cat was on the red carpet wearing a Mini Pharrell Hat, chances are, that content isn’t in high demand. However, when People Magazine creates the article, it gets shared 2.7k times. That is supply and demand ladies and gentlemen.
Moral of the story produce content your audience wants to read and make it sharable. Grumpy Cat for the win!
Title Tags do exactly what they sound like- they define the title of a document. Keep in mind- Google typically only displays the first 60 characters of a title tag so the longer your title tag, the less effective it’s going to be. Better to keep it short and sweet!
Your title tag also must describe your article’s content. If you’re writing content for a Nature Preserve website on Seals in Antarctica, your title tag isn’t going to be “3 Best Shoe Deals.” If you’re misleading readers with titles that have nothing to do with your written content, your site will lose validity and people will stop visiting. Deliver what you’ve promised. Pretty simple, yeah?
URL building is a foreign land meant only for computer savvy individuals. Just kidding, it doesn’t have to be so scary! MOZ has an amazing description on URL best practices, which you can read here. While you’re there, check out how simple the URL is: moz.com/learn/seo/url – so easy!
2. Page Speed
Great content should always come first when creating a healthy website. After (and only after) you can think about optimizing user friendliness. Your website should be easy to navigate and understand for anyone visiting. Ain’t nobody got time for a slow website! How fast is fast, you ask?
- It has been said that users are apt to leave a site if it hasn’t loaded in 4 seconds.
- And, once they’re there, if you haven’t captured your audience’s attention in 10 seconds, they’re probably going to leave. A year ago, general consensus was that you had 30 seconds. So, make sure your most important information is what grabs your reader’s attention.
- Answer their questions. Am I in the right place? What are your services? How do I contact you?
An easy tool to use in order to analyze and optimize your website is Google Development PageSpeed Tools.
3. Clear Navigation
Now we’ve made it past the 10 second mark, users need to be able to understand exactly where to go next. This ties back to answering your (potential) customer’s questions and guiding them where you want them to go. Should they sign up for your newsletter or blog? Should they call or email you? Should they read about how your services will benefit them?
Create a clear path that’s simple and easy to follow. Make your call to action understandable and accessible.
If you’re still unsure, check out The World’s Worst Website Ever. You’ll get the idea.
4. Social Media Accessible
Remember all that awesome, sharable content you’ve created? Give people an easy way to share it. Just like capturing your audience’s attention and easy navigation, easy sharing is paramount to actually getting your content out there. Everything is fast these days and people love convenience. If they don’t have to copy and paste a URL, they’re not going to!
Whichever social media platforms you decide are best for your business, include them in your website. This integration will also help boost your SEO and build your reputation and customer loyalty across numerous platforms- not just on your website. The more brand recognition you can create, the better it is for your business.
5. Screen Friendly
Last, and certainly not least, make sure your website is “screen friendly!” We’re not just talking about mobile friendly, either. Not even two years ago, websites were only being built for computers but times are a-changin’. Don’t skip mobile friendly web conversion, by any means. But other screens need attention too: tablets, iPad’s, even TV screens. Smart TV’s allow users to link mobile phones and send websites or YouTube videos (among other things) straight to their flat screen.
If you’re not convinced about the need for mobile friendly websites, think about this: more than a billion people access websites through their mobile phones. If you’re able to catch the attention of a fraction of mobile users, impressions and potentially happiness (aka profit) for your business is to be gained.
“I don’t have the money.” Then simplify your design. If you haven’t made your site screen friendly, do yourself a favor and pull it up on your phone or iPad. If it’s hard for you to navigate, it’s hard for everyone else to navigate too.
“I don’t know how.” If you’ve exhausted yourself trying to navigate our last 4 tips and you don’t have any energy left, ask for help. That’s what we’re here for!