A quality website can be one of the greatest assets you can invest in. It helps recruit new business, answers your clients’ questions, and teaches people more about your brand and what you’re all about.
But the most important word in there is a quality website! Here are the 4 keys to make sure your website is truly working for you and your business:
1. Lightning-Fast Site Speed
Bad news: The average person will bounce off a site if it takes 2 seconds or longer to load.
Worse news: When they bounce off due to speed, people often return to their Google search and select the next site on the list – so not only do you lose them, but they probably end up on your competitor’s site!
The speed of your website is arguably the most important factor in starting the virtual conversation with your visitors. Here are a few things to pay attention to that will help you keep your site quick and light:
Image sizes – this is the #1 culprit we see when someone comes to us with site speed concerns. Did you post headshots straight from the photographer’s ultra-high-def files? Are your decorative background photos taking up a disproportionate amount space without providing a ton of value? A simple reduction in size or quality can often provide an instant speed boost (and is often not even noticeable to your users!).
Plugins – plugins are a great way to introduce new features and functionality to your site without the cost of custom builds. But too many can really weigh your site down! Do a quick audit to make sure all of your site’s plugins are (1) actively being used (2) being properly maintained and regularly updated.
Server Quality – even if you have the fastest, most well-designed site in the world, if you host it on a subpar server your speed will be affected. While those cheap monthly GoDaddy plans might be tempting at first, the security and speed you receive on a higher end, private server can’t be beat.
2. Mobile-First Optimization
Since late 2019, over half of web traffic has come from mobile devices – and that percentage continues to climb every year. Gen Z is positioned to be the most mobile-reliant generation yet. Even Black Friday, once an in-store frenzy, has lost about 40% of its sales to mobile devices. So yeah, mobile-friendly sites are a pretty big deal!
A lot of the traditional web development best practices hold true for mobile development – in fact, often they’re just magnified. Here are a few keys for mobile-first optimization:
Prioritize readability over design – you may need to customize a version of your site specifically for small screens
Create clear, easy to click call-to-actions – make it easy for users to engage and take the action you want them to take
Cut the fluff – no one wants to scroll through tons of unnecessary content on a tiny screen. Give them what they’re looking for, and cut the rest
Avoid click-to-open features – some people think this makes for a cleaner interface, but more often than not, it just hides your content
Take care of your hyperlinks – click-to-call, online scheduling, linking to supplemental resources, and click-to-email should all be linked to open with the press of a button
3. Top-Notch Security
As the owner of a website, it’s your duty to keep your visitors and their information safe. Cybersecurity attacks have been on the upswing, and even a minor attack can devastate businesses of any size. Protect yourself and your clients with the following:
- SSL certificate (that padlock icon you see before your URL)
- RECAPTCHA and other form security (reduces spam submissions and emails)
- Private server (reduces the risk of being housed with low-quality sites)
- Regular password updates (and skip the obvious ones like [Hometeam][Year])
- Minimize admin accounts (you’re only as secure as your least secure admin!)
Protect client information at all costs! When someone fills out a form online, they’re trusting you with their personal information. Be sure your website follows all legal compliance regulations within your industry, and you store user info in a secure place.
4. SEO Optimization
To get any real benefit from your website, people need to be able to find it! SEO, or ‘search engine optimization’, describes the way your website communicates with search engines like Google, Bing, or YouTube, and lets them know what kind of content lives on your site. This helps them know when you’re a relevant result when someone is searching for a business like yours.
A well-organized, SEO optimized site will have the following:
- Helpful, unique content with keyword-friendly copy
- Quality user experience and great site speed
- Compelling title tags and meta descriptions
- Pages full of great copy, but not too full (somewhere between 300-1500 words per page should be a good place to start)
- Internal links (linking to other pages in your own site) and external links (linking out to other high-quality resources)
Try this: to figure out which direction your SEO should go, put yourself in your customers’ shoes! What kind of things would they Google to find you? What kinds of questions to they have about your product or service? Do they know your industry lingo, or should you stick to language the average person would know? This will help you develop a keyword list you can stick to while writing content and page descriptions.
Is your website due for a makeover? Get in touch for a complimentary website audit and discuss how to make your site best work for you!