Many businesses that own a website are making the same mistake. They have a nice aesthetic, use SEO, and other inbound marketing techniques, however, they are missing website essentials which not only make their website safer but more user-friendly.
If you identify with what I said above, you are in the right place. Consider this post as your website first aid kit!
Here are the 4 things that every website needs, that will make it safer, stronger, and more user-friendly, no excuse!
Website Essential #1: Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization is the process of making your website accessible and enjoyable on multiple devices.
Mobile optimization is not the same as mobile-friendly. If your website is just mobile-friendly, it is only shrinking down to the size that fits different device screens. You are not doing your website justice if your website is only mobile-friendly because everything you have worked hard on is now minimized to not-so-readable words and buttons that are too small to click. Hence why mobile optimization is a website essential.
Why you might ask, is this so important? It’s simple. 1.2 billion people are using the web and 80% of them are using a smartphone.
Still not convinced? Well, the highest amount of transactions come from tablet users. This means that if your website is only mobile-friendly or nothing at all, your business is missing out on a large number of purchases, reservations, bookings, and other opportunities.
People are always on their phone and other devices, so make sure that site visitors’ experience on your mobile optimized website is as great as when they use a desktop.
Furthermore, people are not so simple anymore, it is very common for consumers to use more than one device to check a website, look at reviews, book an appointment, and hopefully convert. You need to be ready and have your website optimized for mobile and other devices. Make your customers’ experience flourish by installing an online booking system, calendar reminders, and mobile assistance.
It’s not just about business websites that offer services either, this is about blog posts, research, content, and everything accessible through the internet. Student’s who are doing research in class will likely use their phone. People use their phone to watch videos and read blogs, and consumers like to shop on their phone. The picture is bigger than just letting people access your website through their phone, it is about their user experience and how that affects your business.
People have become accustomed to grabbing their mobile device when in need of answers, to learn new things, watch videos, book an appointment, purchase a product, and etc. This is what we call a micro-moment.
I encourage businesses to lock into micro-moments and use them as an advantage. Take some time out of your day to figure out which devices people use for specific functions. This way you can know how to make your website better for specific devices.
For example, you see that most of your customers use their phone to book an appointment, or that they are using a tablet to shop online. Optimize your website to your customers’ needs so that their experience is better and they come back for more.
Figure out the pattern and path that users follow on different devices. How is each device used? Which actions are more common on one device than another?
Mobile Site Configuration
There are a couple of different ways you can configure your website for multiple devices.
You can make it so that your website is created to fit the screen depending on the device. You can also show content depending on the device. For example, you can have a call to action that shows up one way on a desktop and another on a mobile device.
Another option, which I do not recommend, is to have separate URLs for each device. This requires much more unnecessary work than to just configure one URL.
Remember, it is important to keep in mind that your website should have large and readable text, large and clear images, simple layouts, and large and mobile-optimized call-to-actions. When designing a website, businesses need to keep in mind all ways that a website can be accessed and make it accessible to everyone.
Website Essential #2: Why YOU Need to Secure Your Website
Many businesses and website owners make the mistake of thinking that website security is only important for those who have an E-commerce or that they are too small to be recognized by hackers and intruders. But this is a false assumption.
Every single website owner needs to take action for their website security, especially financial services, healthcare, and retail. That is why having a secure website is one of my 4 website essentials that every business and/or website owner needs to have.
You want to make your website visitors feel safe when on your website so that they put that same faith in your product, service, and brand.
By not having a secure website, you are potentially ruining or sabotaging existing and potential relationships with customers.
Desktop and mobile browsers make it even more difficult to neglect website security.
To put this in simple words, most browsers and features require websites to be secure by having an SSL certificate and HTTPS.
Secure socket layer is a standard security technology that creates an encrypted connection between a website and browser. This way, intruders can’t get through the security wall.
If you do not have a secure website, potential traffic may be diverted away. Desktop and mobile browsers know which websites are not secure and use pop-ups which indicate non-secure pages. These pop-ups offer users to exit the page before they even see it.
In 2014 Google implemented the idea of “HTTPS everywhere” and stated that anyone using SSL would get an advantage in ranking on their search engine. The response was not sufficient and now there are no chances given. Any page that does not have an SSL certificate is marked off as not secure and will suffer in ranking on Google’s search engine.
Google places secure websites higher than non-secure websites. Take a minute to soak that in because it means that every other one of your competitors is automatically ranked higher if they are secure and you are not.
Attention E-Commerce Retailers!
Your website has to be compliant with the Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI security standards council, founded by companies like Master Card and American Express, require that all businesses that use credit card information must follow the standards.
People do not want their personal information and credit card numbers on a website that is not secure because they are aware of the risks.
People are terrified of identify theft, I am sure many of you have heard of someone who doesn’t use their credit card information in fear of it. And, in a way, they are right to fear. However, it is your job to show how shopping online is a safe and friendly way to make a purchase.
Hackers are a real thing, for everyone.
Intruders are the common hacker but they are also intrusive companies that put ads on your website without your consent. For example, site visitors may arrive on your website to see a large ad for a hotel, which you are unaware is there and is driving traffic from your website or preventing site visitors from coming back.
In other words, not all intruders are using your website to get people’s private information. Some are setting up malware and others are putting up unauthorized advertisements which may lead to fewer conversions and lessen the overall site visitor experience. This also means less $$$ on your end.
Are you worried? Don’t sweat it, HTTPS prevents all of this.
HTTPS helps in preventing hackers from tampering with your website and your site visitors browsers.
Website Essential #3: Website Speed
The measurement of how fast the content on your page loads is referred to as website speed.
The other website essentials I have discussed thus far, are not as effective if a website is slow. Why? Because a 1-second delay is the loss of 11% of page views and a 7% reduction in conversion.
The speed of your loading page affects so many things in regard to your SEO and content marketing strategy. In only a couple of seconds, you could lose 50% of your traffic. So, you can see why its another of my website essentials!
In 2018, slow and steady does not win the race in the world of technology.
47% of customers expect a webpage to load in two or fewer seconds and 79% of customers who are unhappy with website speed will not come again.
The importance of website speed applies to every website, even the big guys.
A delay of 1-second costs Amazon 1.6 billion dollars a year!
Slow speed can reduce page views, site visitor satisfaction, and your organic search results.
Impatience is a virtue. People know that they can find their information on a faster website, so if your website is not up to speed, they will likely leave.
How can you fix website speed?
to fix the problem, you can use different tools like Google’s PageSpeed insights to identify the exact problem.
Some solutions you may find are
- You need to scale your images to measure before uploading them onto your page. Your browser will load the image as the size it was when you uploaded it, so you need to make the image smaller before.
- Browse caching allows the browser to save certain information onto the person’s computer so that loading is not delayed each time they visit your page.
- Compress your files. It takes off 50-70% from your HTML and CSS files (it takes less time to load your page).
Website Essential #4: On-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to optimizing every individual page to rank higher and get more relevant traffic in search engines. It refers to both the content on the webpage and HTML source codes.
Relevance is key
The biggest advice I can give about on-page SEO is that everything done has to be relevant to your audience. All of the effort you put in your on-page SEO is close to insignificant if your keywords, content, and tags do not represent your niche and audience.
How to optimize your page
Keyword targeted content
Just like your content, your keywords have to be relative to your audience and niche.
for example, a hockey skate shop should use the keyword hockey skate instead of just skate. This way, searches will be refined to their specific audience. If not, then people searching for skateboards will end up in the skate shops’ traffic.
a pages title and meta description have to be optimized to best represent the content and audience of a business’ niche.
Use H2 and H3 divide a page’s content so that site visitors can follow along more smoothly and find where they need to be. Some visitors read the whole blog while others are looking for specific information.
When using keywords, do not overstuff your headings (don’t put keywords in places that do not read naturally). Google sees this as a cheap way of ranking and will place you lower in search engine result pages.
Although it is good to have keywords in the headings, use them appropriately.
Shorter URLs rank better so make them concise. People use them to identify what the page is about.
As mentioned before, content has to be relative to your audience and niche. However, it also has to be valuable.
Write content that people want to read. Discuss topics that are popular, unique, and informative.
With Google’s Panda Algorithm, the search engine prioritizes pages that are significant. The content has to be of use to people.
Internal and outbound links
Getting links from quality sources and sites of authority helps strengthen your website domain. It also links internally throughout the site and benefits your user’s experience and SEO.
Optimize your images by putting keywords in the alt-text and creating a title that is specific to the image as well as unique. This helps Google know what your page is about.