It's December, and we're thick in the middle of the holiday shopping season. According to a survey from Creditcards.com, 62% of people plan to do their holiday shopping online this year. The healthiest websites will flourish during this time. How can you make your website one that flourishes year-round? We've lined up ten ways, so let's dive in!
1. Make Sure Your Website is Well Designed
"To be, or not to be" was the question Hamlet pondered. The decision to have or not have a professionally designed website is a question business owners often ask themselves. The answer could make or break their company's online presence.
Much like any good marketing effort, your website design should be based on a thorough understanding of your target audience. What are their needs, and how will they interact with your new website? Once you have a clear understanding, it's time to begin the process of creating an intuitive and engaging design for them.
Good web design makes it easy for users to find what they're looking for, so Uncle Bob doesn’t have to get another tie.
2. Have Your Site Optimized for Mobile
Responsive website design is paramount because nearly 70% of internet searches happen via mobile devices.
If you're asking what we mean by responsive web design, it's a style of design that focuses on the mobile experience. It means the design will adjust to render well on mobile devices.
How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly? If you can say yes to any of the questions below, it's time for a site redesign.
- Do visitors have to pinch and zoom their devices to read the content?
- Does your website look different when viewed on various browsers?
- Is the content sitting right up against the edge of the mobile device?
You can also use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test, to see if your website is optimized for mobile.
3. Create Content That Stands Out
Content is like the lead actor in a movie, making the film engaging and memorable but also bringing out the best performance of the supporting characters, such as keywords, calls-to-action, etc.
It's also important to regularly update your website's content. People who browse the web are more likely to visit up-to-date websites, and the more traffic your website gets, the higher it will rank in the search engine results.
Plus, when people see your website is up-to-date, they're more likely to trust you as a reliable source of information. Trust gives shoppers confidence in your company, your products, or your service, and ultimately is a significant factor in whether they purchase from you.
4. Have Clear Calls to Action
A call to action (CTA) is simply an instruction telling the user what to do next. For example, they might tell the user to "Add to Cart" or "Download Now." If they're clear, visitors will be able to decide what to do next, which will result in a better user experience.
Now, just because the action is clear, it doesn't mean that's a full license to fill a webpage with them. Too many CTA's on one page will negatively affect the user experience, and will distract from your main goal, which should be clear.
Pay close attention to the call to action on your site's important pages, such as your home and product pages. When these are clear and effective, you can help improve your website's overall health and conversion rate.
5. Pay Attention to Load Time
Anyone who has ever tried to load a web page on a slow connection knows how frustrating it can be. Images slowly appear, and text takes forever to load.
Not only is this frustrating for users, but it can also significantly impact your website traffic. Search engines take page load time into account when ranking websites, and slower sites are typically buried in the search results.
In addition, web users are increasingly impatient, and over half of them will abandon a site if it takes more than a minute to load. For website owners, optimizing loading speed is essential for attracting and retaining visitors. Google likes it, too!
6. Provide Users with Clear Navigation
When people browse the internet, they typically have a goal in mind. They want to find specific information or complete a particular task. If your website is challenging to navigate, people will quickly become frustrated and may give up on trying to find what they need and go somewhere else. This impacts the user experience and can lead people to believe your website isn't trustworthy or reliable.
Creating clear navigation is essential for ensuring people can find what they need on your website. It not only helps to improve the user experience, but it can also impact the health of your website.
7. Take Website Security Seriously
Your website's security is critical. It improves the health of your website, and a secure website is more likely to be trusted by users.
Neglecting your website's security can negatively affect your search engine ranking. Google pays close attention to website security and increasingly prioritizes websites with SSL certificates and taking other steps to protect user data.
What's an SSL certificate? It's like an ID card for your website. It lets servers authenticate themselves to clients and establishes secure, encrypted connections. It also tells browsers the key belongs to your domain or organization.
Finally, regularly checking up on your website's security will help you identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to fix them before they can be exploited.
8. Maintain Good Link Structure
If you want to keep or boost your street cred with Google, use a good link structure on your website.
There are four types of links, and it's important to have three of them, but there's also one you don't want. The ones you DO want:
As the name implies, these links are within your website and can impact your site's health in several beneficial ways.
- Create a map to help search engine crawlers find your content.
- Establish and improve your authority, or PageRank, on pages of your site. PageRank is an algorithm used by Google which counts the number and quality of links to rank your web pages in their search engine results.
- Help visitors navigate your website and find relevant pages. When you add to your content, you're also providing visitors with an easy way to find related information.
Inbound links are from other sites. The quality and reputation of those sites will impact on the health of your website.
As you probably guessed, outbound links are links you create that go to other websites. Just like the inbound, the quality and reputation of the sites affect your website's health.
The links you DON'T want.
Broken / Dead Links
The 404 error, aka the dreaded page not found, can mar the experience on your website. 73.5% of web visitors will abandon sites when encountering them. They occur when you remove a page or a product from an e-commerce site. Visitors to your website don't like it and neither does Google.
It's detrimental to Google's algorithm because broken links are ranked lower than if there were no disappearing items on these pages, which also impacts their ranking system. Having regular site audits can deter these little gremlins from showing up.
9. Remember Web Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to make public spaces more accessible for people with disabilities. In the early 2000’s, the ADA included websites. This is because many people with disabilities use the internet as a primary source of information and communication.
To be ADA compliant, a website must be accessible to all users, regardless of their ability. This means all content must be able to be accessed via assistive technologies such as screen readers. In addition, the site should be designed, so users can customize their experience to meet their needs. There are a few easy ways to do this, such as using clear and concise text, adding alt tags to images, and providing video transcripts.
10. Optimize Images
Images are an important part of any website. Not only do they contribute to the overall appearance of the page, but they can also help to convey information and improve the visitor experience.
Fortunately, there are several ways to optimize images for website health. For example, using compressed files and choosing the right file format can help to reduce page loading times. And adding ALT tags to images can improve accessibility for screen reader users.
We’ve Got You Covered
If you've discovered one, or any of these healthy options, are missing from your website, we'd love to chat with you to discuss how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!