Is your website ready (and healthy enough) for Google’s algorithm update?

a stethoscope laying on a laptop keyboard

Earth Day is April 22nd. Yes, we relegate one day to focus on keeping our planet healthy.

Anyone else think this deserves an ongoing commitment? Or at least a month?

Here’s a link to Earth Day Live which runs from April 20 -22nd. Learn about some events you can participate in and get involved.

But we digress…..back to your website.

What Makes A Healthy Website?

A healthy website performs well. It doesn’t just look good.

It works well. It loads fast. Fonts are legible. You don’t have to squint to read the copy. Papers and pdfs download quickly. Finding information is easy and intuitive.

Links work….both external and internal. And the site is responsive. It looks good on any size screen — mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop. It’s also secure and uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). More about that here.   

The health of your website should never be negotiable. A healthy well-run business has healthy procedures in place. And that includes your website, your face to the world.

Here are 6 things you can do right now to make sure your website is indeed healthy.    

  1. Don’t fall behind.
    Make sure that platform updates and plugins are up-to-date. Staying current is important to keep your site functioning properly and securely. New releases generally take care of any pesky issues that developers have found since the last update.
    Note:  we manage and monitor all client websites and send monthly reports. Your web team should handle this for you. If not, find one that will.
  2. Get rid of old plugins.
    A bloated website doesn’t perform well. Outdated or no longer used plugins can slow down your site. We once inherited  one with 62 plugins, most of which were not being used. The site was super slow to load, something you do not want.
  3.  Fix sluggish load speeds.
    According to Google, people will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. Don’t be a Google fail. Here are 20 free tools to test your website’s speed.
  4. Make sure you’ve addressed any ADA (American Disability Act) issues. Google will punish you if your site isn’t accessible for people with sight or hearing disabilities. Learn what you need to do in this Business News Daily article titled Is Your Website ADA Compliant?
  5. Update content.
    If your copy hasn’t been updated in a while, it probably needs a refresh. If you cite a lot of statistics or references, they’re probably dated. Maybe you’ve added new products or services that never made it onto the site (yes, we’ve seen that)!
    Ideally you update your site on a weekly or monthly basis. But we know that sometimes stuff gets in the way. So do it now.
  6.  Make sure your website is easy for visitors to navigate.
    A healthy website allows people to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. Referred to as UX (user experience), ideally this is a factor that was built into your website in the design phase. But if you have a do-it-yourself site, it’s likely that navigational ease is not a feature.

Why NOW is the time to make sure your website is healthy.

Google has a new and highly anticipated algorithm launching in May of this year. It will include something called Page Experience which addresses what we’ve talked about above. If you have a business website, you need to know about it.

Search Engine Watch explains it clearly in this post titled Google Page Experience update is all set to launch in May 2021 – Webmasters, hang in there!

Hopefully, we’ve given you some tips you can use to make sure your website is healthy and working efficiently. So you won’t be blindsided when May comes around.

As always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Shoot us an email info@whatagreatwebsite.net and we’ll help you out.

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Is your website marketing-driven or driving visitors away?

A website is a marketing tool.

Probably one of the priciest in your communications arsenal aside from digital advertising. But digital advertising…..and any other marketing you do….is directed at sending potential new business to your website where, hopefully, you’ll either intrigue the visitor to learn more or make a sale.

What’s your goal for your new website?
This is one of the first questions we ask when working with a new client. Another is: how do you envision this site will build your business? And more importantly, have your figured out how your business will solve a problem for potential customers?

Before we write a single line of code, we need to answer these questions. As specifically as possible.

If you haven’t established clear goals for your website and identified your target market’s pain point, good luck creating content that converts.

You need a better mousetrap.
Let’s suppose you’re a startup. You’ve designed a new and better product than what’s currently on the market. How are you going to convince potential customers that your product really IS better? What are you going to say?

A few things to consider first:

  • Is your marketing plan complete?
  • Do you know who your competition is, what their price points are and where they sell?
  • Do you know their USP (unique selling proposition) – what makes them different and better than the rest of the players?
  • Have you defined your USP? Why should buyers consider your product? How will it solve a problem for your (potential) customer?
  • Do you have a budget?
  • Have you allocated that budget across all your marketing tools? The ones that will help drive business to your website?

You can see where we’re heading. These are important questions that your web development team should ask at your first planning meeting. If they don’t, you may not be happy with the end result.

Developing a website doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A marketing-driven website…the kind you want….is informed by a marketing strategy.

make it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for on your website.
Make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.

A successful website does far more than look good.

Just looking good won’t cut it. A successful website has to hit all the bullets on your to-do list. And on ours.

A few of those “musts”. Your website has to:

  • be a spot-on representation of your brand
  • be visually appealing
  • speak in your brand voice
  • engage the visitor
  • immediately address your visitor’s problem, need or pain point
  • be very easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for (UX or user-friendly)
  • speak in authentic and conversational language.

Is your company website marketing-driven and engaging visitors…or driving visitors away?

If you’re not sure, here’s a really good article we found on Harvard Business Review by Mark Bonchek and Vivek Bapat on why you should focus on potential buyers.

It’s well worth your time to read.  Then, if you need help, call us. We’re happy to talk about how we can help you.

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Done or done right?

There’s a big difference between done and done right.

when it doesn't turn out right
Done. But not right!

You’re starting a new business and you’re on a limited budget. Your head is spinning with all that needs to be done, and most of it is being done by you. But you’ve never built a website and you don’t really have time to learn how now.

What to do? Maybe you’ll hire the cheapest person you can find just to get a site up. That way, at least you’ll have something to show for marketing.

Bad move.

Your website is the face of your business, the representation of your brand. The worst way to start a business is to skimp on your brand. Would your skimp on your product? Not likely.

Just because there are build-your-own-website-in-an-hour sites doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for your new business. Think about it.

Suppose your new company will sell customized products online. You need e-commerce and a secure shopping cart. Do you know which one is best for customized products? What about online customer service? How will you handle queries?

Then there are hosting concerns. Who should you use to host your site? Whoever you select better offer SSL or Chrome will label your site “not secure”. Not all webhosts provide SSL certification. Do you have time to research the best vendors for your tech needs?

Speaking of tech…..what about tech support, maintenance and backup? Your site needs to be monitored for dead links and security issues. Updates need to be installed as they come out. (We’re WordPress people — updates, including plugins, come out regularly). Odds are your bargain site builder will not handle that for you. So you’ll need to get up to speed on backend issues. Because you can’t afford for your site to crash or be down for any length of time.

Of course, your site will need to be responsive so that it looks the same and loads fast on all devices…..and various browsers. Do you know how to do that?

Behind the scene is only part of the game. There’s also the front end – how your website looks — your business’s face to the world. Are you versed in UX (user experience)? If a visitor to your site has a bad one, odds are she won’t become a customer.

You need to understand navigation so that visitors to your site find it easy to get around and find what they want. You need some design knowledge so your site is visually compelling. You need to understand SEO (search engine optimization) so that visitors find you in the first place. If you’re not a good writer, it’s hard to write engaging copy. Even if you are a decent writer, do you know how to write for the Internet where patience is not a commodity?

So, yes, you might be able to get your new website done on the cheap. But odds are it won’t be done right. And that’s a lousy way to start a new business.

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Six features your website must have.

Websites differ in design and style. But there are certain features that all good websites have in common. Here are 6 of them:

  1. Readability
    Legibility is paramount when reading digital copy. Can viewers read the copy on your website? REALLY read it? On a cell phone or tablet as well as a laptop?A good website is designed for ease of reading on ALL screens. That means fonts are web-friendly, reverse type is used judiciously (white type can be dramatic but it’s hard to read as body copy) and clutter is kept to a minimum.
  2. Clear Messaging
    Will visitors to your site clearly understand what it’s all about? Or will they have to fiddle around to discover who you are and what you do?Once someone lands on your site, you’ve 15 seconds to convince him to stay.

    Good websites keep visitors engaged.
    Good websites keep visitors engaged.

    Especially if your product or services fix problems for people. People looking for something they need are generally not very patient. Continue reading “Six features your website must have.”

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