Here’s what you need to know
Website Speed - Is It That Important?
Have you ever visited a website and had to sit and wait and wait and wait for it to load? We all have, it’s frustrating and more than likely you’ll end up leaving. Think about it, if you won’t stay on a slow website, likely your website visitors won’t either. Also remember, your website is often the first impression they have of you and your business. So just as looking professional is important, so is your website speed.
Search engines also consider website load speeds in how they rank your website. So if your website is slow to load, whatever the reason for it, it will effect your SEO ranking as well not just your visitor retention rate. Site speed is especially a big factor in site ranking for mobile where speed is everything.
So what is a good load time? Three to four seconds is acceptable but ideally you want under 2 seconds. Anything longer and you will definitely see a negative impact. There are tools you can use to test your site speed to determine exact measurements.
There are a number of factors that go into how fast or slow your website may load. Hosting, software, picture sizes, efficiency of code and more. Keeping site visitors on your website and having a highly ranked website are very important to your website’s success. If your website is loading slowly, feel free to contact me to discuss how we can increase your site load speed.
ADA Website Compliance
I was recently made aware through a client of a Southern California small business that was targeted for one of these ADA Website Compliance lawsuits. Faced with a $25,000 lawsuit, the small business chose to settle as the costs of the lawsuit itself would have been too much. This is quite concerning for many small businesses as most would be hurt by a lawsuit of this amount.
You as a website owner need to be aware of this potential risk so you can make informed decisions that are right for your website and business. As a technology provider, I felt I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t bring this to the attention of small business owners. I’ve bee working to make the necessary changes to this site as well to reduce my own risk as a small business owner.
an “Accessibility” button that allows for text size changes, several various contrast changes for the visually impaired, removal of ‘moving’ or ‘animated’ items with a button click for those with seizures, ensuring consistent keyboard navigation without a mouse for mobility impaired, closed captioning and/or text transcripts for video or audio for the hearing impaired, and pause/stop/hide and timing adjustment for slideshows.
I can provide an individualized report for your website to determine which of these items would apply and would need to be implemented to bring your website to the current industry standard of WCAG 2.1 ADA compliance as recommended/suggested by the W3C, who’s rules are being implemented across many state and government websites and being used to create new ADA website compliance laws in many states (federal laws are expected to be enacted soon as well).
Why do I need SEO?
Why do you need SEO or Search Engine Optimization? That’s a great question. So let me ask you some questions first. How many websites do you think there is on the internet? Thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, billions perhaps? Let’s just say there’s a whole lot of them! So when you need to find a website, what do you do? You go to Google (or Bing or some other search engine) and you search right? And which ones do you click on? Probably the ones that come up right there on the first page right? But have you ever looked down to see how many pages your search might bring up? Guarantee you it’s a LOT.
So think of it this way. Let’s say you have a website that sells “Cat Toys”. And you have 100 competitors that also sell cat toys. And then there’s 50 bloggers that blog about cat toys. And there’s 25 pet owners that have websites about their cat’s favorite cat toys. So now you’ve got 175 websites about “Cat Toys”. When you search, only about 10 or so results show up on that first page. Now your average searcher will only ever look at the websites on the first page of the search. So what happens if you website selling cat toys is on the LAST page of the search? Exactly….nothing happens…no one ever sees your website!
So, yes, SEO is extremely important. What exactly is SEO or Search Engine Optimization? SEO is the process by which various tools and actions can increase your website ranking so you show higher up in a search. The thing about SEO is that there’s not one quick and easy way to be “first on Google”, unlike many so-called “marketing experts” may try to have you believe. No SEO is a complex and ever-changing field. What worked yesterday, may not work next month. And why is that? Because the search engines are constantly changing, and they way the process data changes.
It’s one thing to just put a website up on the internet, it’s a whole separate thing to make sure that your website is FOUND by the right people at the right time. And that’s where I can help you, contact me now to discuss SEO for your website!
What's the difference between "design" and "development"?
Many use the terms web design and web development interchangeably, but that’s technically incorrect. Both are critical to a successful website, yet are technically vastly different. Let me explain.
Website Design, specifically is the design, look, and feel of your website. Mainly everything you ‘see’. How it’s laid out and the colors used, the font and typography choices to make it look good. A well designed website is not only attractive and pretty, but it is also user-friendly meaning that anyone even someone with very little technical knowledge can easily find what they are looking for on your website.
Good design is extremely important for a successful website. An unattractive website will give the impression of being unprofessional, cheap and/or dated. An attractive design that is professional and easy to use for potential customers/clients improves that ‘impression’ of your business, in essence it ‘makes you look good’.
Website Development is the coding and programming that you don’t see. The coding and programming that goes into building a successful website can be extensive, but since you don’t see it most people don’t really realize its there. But it’s what makes your website ‘function. So when you hit that button on that form you just filled out, that code that was written tells it to email a copy. Or when you click on a menu item to view another page, click on a link, all of these things take code to make them happen. Every action/reaction is handled by the development or coding/programming!
So as you can see design vs. development is definitely two very different things. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to get a website built is that not every Web Designer is also a Web Developer and vice versa. Some are, such as myself, but for the most part it’s rare to find someone that truly has a full grasp of both.
Why Hire a Professional For Your Website?
That is an excellent question, with the many easy “do-it-yourself” website builders out there that are so cheap and even free, so why should you choose an expensive professional?
Any business, big or small, that wishes to be competitive in the online or offline market MUST have a professional website. The internet has become the number one way that people search for a business or to find information on a business. And mobile is the leader, so your website must not only be professional, but it must be mobile-friendly as well.
Any small business that does not have a professionally built website risks losing potential customers/clients and risks harming their reputation. Most consumers now evaluate products and companies before they even decide to make a purchase or to hire for a service. So if your website does not appear professional and/or is not user-friendly or secure, that potential customer/client will simply move on to the next business.
Many people do not realize the importance of professional web design, or how a poorly constructed site may cause damage to their business and/or reputation. Let alone how a poorly constructed website may never be found by the potential customers/clients looking for it.
Most DIY Website Builders Have Limited Abilities
Although DIY website builders seam easy to use to build a website, they are not really the best place to fully develop a professional business website. You are quite limited to what a website builder can handle. Which means certain features you want or need may not be available and there may be no way to add it.
Secondly, if something happens and you need to move your website, you won’t be able to. If you want to recreate the website using a different web builder you have to start from scratch. Most importantly though, website builders are known to have major SEO and content marketing limitations. All these limitations mean you could significantly increase your overall expenses in the long run as well as end up wasting your valuable time.
You Are an Expert in Your Business, They Are an Expert in Websites
You’re getting ready for a big meeting and realize you need a haircut, are you going to grab the scissors sitting on your desk and the nearest mirror or are you going to head to a trusted barber shop/salon? I think the answer to that is going to be a trusted barber shop/salon right. Of course it is, your stylist is an expert in hair, you aren’t. A website designer/developer is an expert in building websites and will make sure each and every one of the numerous things that go into a successful website will go into your website.
A professional website designer/developer has developed and honed the necessary skills to create a successful website through years of learning. With that experience, a professional will know what is needed to make an impression on your target audience. They will be able to help you set up on-site content and images to maximize exposure and return on your investment. Every aspect of your site will be carefully thought out to ensure that you’re not losing visitors or money. You will not get that kind of high-quality work from a non-professional web designer or a limited DIY website builder.
They Know All of the Little Things That You May Not Know
Many of the details that go into a successful website are not commonly known and without the right experts to assist you, your website will not be successful. You may not realize it but improper images may not show up on every browser, image files that are too large may take too long to load or may not even load properly when they attempt to browse the website. Improper document uploads can cause bugs and problems preventing your client/customer from downloading. Code in one browser may look very different in another browser.
All of these little things and so many more are critical to a successful website, but a professional knows these things and how to fix them or even prevent them in the first place. It is critical that your website reach as many potential clients/ customers as possible and in order to make this happen it’s important to make sure that your site loads smoothly on all browsers, computers, tablets and phones. A professional will run the necessary tests to ensure that your website is working perfectly everywhere.
Another issue is that websites can get hacked, resulting in infections with viruses or malware. Software that runs your website needs updates to ensure that security risks are mitigated. And sometimes updates can break your site. But a professional can handle all of these issues for you and keep your website up and running at it’s best.
First Impressions are Critical to Your Website’s Success
There have been many studies done to show just how important first impressions are when it comes to a business website. According to a report by one of the country’s leading SEO companies;
It takes a mere 50 milliseconds for a website visitor to form an overall opinion of your website,
38% of visitors will leave if the layout of your site is unattractive, unprofessional or amateurish looking,
85% of consumers will lookup a website to get the feel of a business before making a purchase decision, and
94% of consumer’s first impressions of websites are design related.
If your website is poorly designed and unattractive a large portion of visitors will leave within seconds with a bad first impression of your business. This means that having a website your business can be proud of is critical to your website success.
Changing Trends and Technology
Web design trends and technology are always changing. What worked last year, won’t necessarily work this year and most definitely what worked ten years ago for your website won’t be effective now. A professional is aware of and knowledgeable of the constantly changing trends and technologies and can guide you on what will be appropriate for you and your website.
A Customized Websites is Unique to You and Your Brand/Business
There are many beautiful website templates available out there, and a template may even seem easy and quick since all you have to do is fill in the content, add a couple of images or features, and you’re ready to go. This is what all free/paid DIY website builders give you. The problem is, ask yourself how many other people have a similar or same website. A template means you won’t stand out from others and more than likely won’t fit with your branding.
It’s The Best Value For Both Your Time and Your Money
The biggest issue I see is that small business owners are more focused on the initial investment rather than looking at the whole picture. In addition to be being built properly from the start, every website also needs regular maintenance to make sure is is performing optimally at all times. Even simple technical issues happen more often with a poorly designed website, and let’s not forget the big ones that can happen. Most people won’t even think twice about spending a sum of money on professionally printed marketing material, what they don’t realize is that your website is your BEST marketing tool and should receive the majority of your marketing budget to ensure you’re getting the best website you can.
ProgrammerJen can help you with a custom, unique, professional website for your small business, contact me now!
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is
There’s a difference? Yes, there is a big difference between sales and marketing. Most people assume they are the same, but they aren’t. And here’s what you need to know about the difference and why it’s important to know.
There are so many website designers and developers out there, how do you choose?