Don’t Treat your Website Like a Business Card
WEB DEVELOPMENT • Concept to Launch
WHY Your Website is Your Most Valuable Asset
Everyday over 3 billion people surf the web.
Your website is much more than a brochure. It is a means to connect with your existing followers, collect and grow new followers and easily communicate your message to the world. Hangar 13’s team will help you refresh your existing site, or plan, strategize and execute your new website to make the most of your most valuable asset.
By having a well written, fast, easily searchable website, you can gain a huge advantage over those who do not take these important steps.
As of January 2018 there are well over a billion websites according to a Netcraft survey. Getting your site to page 1 of a web search is no easy task, but here are seven areas you can work on to better your odds.
1. Speed (and why it matters)
Your top priority should be a fast loading site.
You can have the best content ever written, but if your page takes 8 seconds to load no one will ever see it.
In fact, statistics show that a load time of over 3 seconds will significantly reduce page views.
Here are a few tips to get your site loading fast.
- Web hosting: There are many web hosting companies out there and it is vital to choose the best host for your needs. Once your account is set up some server side optimizations should be done followed up by optimizing of your content.
- Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) can greatly speed up your site especially if you use a lot of images.
- Caching works on a few different levels, but basically creates optimized versions of your site, pages and blocks for fast easy loading without having to make multiple trips to other servers or re-calculate computing requests. Caching can greatly speed up your site.
- Minimize files. There are a lot of spaces and unnecessary lines in code to make it easier to read that browsers don’t need. Once the coding is complete and working properly the code can be stripped down to it’s smallest possible size making for faster load times.
- Combine files. Websites use small pieces of code called scripts to execute many elements of a website. Many scripts can be combined and saved locally to a few files to minimize trips to various servers each time a script is called for.
- Image size is usually one of the biggest culprits of slow loading websites. Our expert graphic design team will get your site looking great while keeping the load times down.
Poorly set up security can cost you big time.
Sites without an SSL lose a lot of traffic.
1. SSL certificates should be installed as early as possible to prevent warnings for new users in browsers. All http sites are now labelled insecure by Google. An SSL will ensure your visitors aren’t greeted by a big ugly warning screen.
2. Hacker prevention: Keeping your site hacker free is an ever growing concern. There are many things that can be done at the server level as well as some excellent paid and free monitoring services to help deter the threats.
3. Spam is at best unsolicited junk mail advertising, and at worst schemes, cons and malware that can take over your site and redirect your users, or hog resources and slow down your site. Spam is ever present and needs to be dealt with. There are many techniques to deal with spam and a multi -faceted approach yields the best results.
3. Choosing the Right Content Management System (CMS)
Minimize your team’s workflow and spend your time creating instead of coding.
Having an easily updated, modular, simple to use CMS is crucial for success.
A CMS is the platform which your website will be built upon. In the early days, coding by hand was needed which required some very specialized skill sets and a lot of time and testing. Things have come a long way. There are options today that even the most novice users can navigate quickly and easily.
- WordPress is highly cutomizable. Since WordPress is open source anyone can create code to integrate into the platform. There is a huge collection of plugins both free and paid from everything to subscription management, membership services to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and everything in between. WordPress can also be easily integrated into just about any popular 3rd party online service.
- Updates: Since so many sites are using the platform it has a huge user base which means there are constant feature and security enhancements along with bug fixes and updates.
- Multi User integration. WordPress makes having multiple users painless. Each users interactions are tracked and easily modified or rolled back if needed.
There are of course some areas, especially during setup and testing, where some technical expertise can go a long way. Each time we build a website we keep in mind that the client should be able to log in and update it themselves and it should be a very painless process.
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- Branding: Have a clean clear brand that stands out. Most sites incorporate a single logo on the top bar as well as an identifiable favicon which appears in the browser window icon at the very top of the page.
- Navigation: A good user experience is critical to keep people from leaving your page. Things should be easy to find with your most valuable content being front and center. Clear messaging and use of text formatting goes a long way for both user experience and search engine ranking.
- Readability: Keep distracting images and graphics away from text. It’s easy to pull the eye. As much as we all like pretty pictures, you will have a much more effective site if people can easily read your content.Having a high contrast for text is also very important. If some one is straining to read the text they are likely to give up and move on.
- Consistency. Keep a clean visual aesthetic throughout your site. The visitor should feel they are on the same site so drastic changes between pages is not often the best approach.
When planning your site visit some other successful sites and see what they are doing, or feel free to consult with some design experts.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Make sure people can find you.
Proper SEO implementation is critical for your website
- Research: Have a game plan and a target for your website content. Who are you creating for? Where are they? What are their interests? What would you like people to do after visiting your site? Having a great strategy is really the best place to start.
- Metrics: A solid game plan is no use if you have no way to track your successes- or failures. There are many great tools, paid and free, including Google Analytics, to track your views and see where they are coming from and what people are interested in. Knowing this valuable information allows you to focus on elements that are working well and see what ares need improvement.
Grow Your Following
Help your website get noticed.
- Blogging: A regular flow of valuable information is a great way to keep your website on top. Trends show educating your visitors is much more effective than simply trying to push your wares onto them so take some time and create some value for your visitors.
- Social Network Integration: Each social media network has it’s own unique user base who expect to receive their content in certain ways. Some networks are much better suited to certain topics and businesses than others so do some research and plan on which network’s users might be the most interested in your brand or message.
- Newsletters: Your subscriber list is very important. There are many great ways to capture people’s email addresses and send them updates including services such as Mailchimp, AWeber or Constant Contact to name a few.
- Timing is Everything. There’s a lot of great data out there regarding when the best time is to post on various networks. Test your results at different times and adjust until you see the highest interaction.
- Inform, yes. Annoy, No. Don’t constantly market. Bring value to your followers. No one wants to be inundated with a constant sales pitch. Keep an eye out for comments and questions and be sure to answer promptly and in a friendly manner.
- Sharing is Caring. Make it easy for people to share your content. Add share buttons and links to your content and add links to other content people may be interested in nearby. Enthusiastic followers are a great asset so make it easy for them to help you out!
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Keep your website healthy.
Regular updates are really important. No, really.
- Plugins and Theme Updates: Periodically your website files need to be updated. Some updates are for new security threats, others are for bug fixes and improvements. Sometimes the technology just changes and your website can become obsolete. It is very important to keep an eye on your site and keep it up to date.
- Time based purchases: Items like your domain name and SSL certificate will expire once your purchase time runs out. It is highly advisable to set these items to auto renew. If not you may fail to notice your site is down and even worse, some one may have gone and purchased your expired domain. Not pretty.
- Backups: Most reputable web hosts will provide some form of backup of your site and files. You should also keep your own copies in case the worst happens. This is relatively easy to set up through FTP software such as Filezilla, or automated backup services including UpDraft Plus, and can be a real life saver!
That’s it! 7 ways you can improve your website. We hope some of the tips in this article help you take your site up a notch or two.
Need some help with any element of your website? Get in touch with our team of experts today.