The Three-Step Assessment to Bring Your Website into the Digital Age
We often meet with partners who share the same issues - a team with limited time and manpower, where everyone is wearing multiple hats. Who has time to monitor digital marketing when there are sales to be made?
But, it’s the digital age and it’s time your website reflects it. Here are 3 quick metrics to check to make sure your site is up to snuff in 2018.
Is Your Site Optimized for Mobile?
If your website was built more than a few years ago, chances are it’s not optimized for mobile. If it’s not, it’s time for an update. Over 50% of internet traffic worldwide comes from mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.), and the numbers are continuing to rise.
Your site’s mobile-friendliness plays an important role in its search performance. Google’s algorithm checks to see whether your site is optimized for mobile, and penalizes you if it’s not. You can check whether your site is mobile-optimized with this handy tool from Google.
Does the test show your site is mobile-friendly? You’re good to go!
Not mobile-friendly? Speak with your web developer about updating your template.
It takes time to build a new website, so here are some simple fixes you can make while you’re waiting for your new, optimized website:
Compress all image files. The smaller the image file, the faster your page will load. The faster it loads, the more mobile-friendly it is. There are plenty of free tools you can use to do this - I’ve used Tiny JPG and Compress JPEG. Replace all large images on your site with the compressed ones to make it more mobile-friendly.
Make all font sizes at least 14 pt. 14 pt. text may seem large, but it’s required for easy readability on mobile devices. It will also help to make all of your fonts standard, if they’re not already. Custom font styles take longer to load, hindering mobile usability.
Replace sliders with static images. Many older websites were built with slideshow images that would change every few seconds. While this is a good way to show multiple images, these sliders can slow down your site. This isn’t just a mobile fix - most users skip over sliders, missing the information contained in the slides. It’s far more effective to move the images and information from your rotating sliders into static content blocks on your site.
Is Your Website Secure?
This one is easy to figure out, too. Enter your website’s URL in your browser, and take a look at the URL that appears. Does it start with http:// or https://?
If it starts with https://, that’s great - your website is secure. If it starts with http://, you’ll need a security update.
What does that extra s in https:// mean? It shows that a site is under Secure Sockets Layer, better known as SSL. According to SSL.com, “SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers.”
In plainer terms, SSL prevents information submitted to your site (email addresses, credit card information, etc.) from being accessed by hackers. It’s specially encrypted through something called an “SSL Certificate,” which your web developer will need to add to your site.
SSL is essential for SEO performance as it’s now part of Google algorithm. If your site is under SSL and a competitor’s isn’t, the extra layer of security could be the key to gaining an edge over them in search results.
Do Each of Your Website Pages have Appropriate Titles and Meta Descriptions?
Title tags and meta descriptions are information search engines like Google display in search results.
Google tends to show between 50-60 characters on the title line, so if your page titles are within that range, they should display correctly no matter the browser or device a website visitor is using.
Your meta descriptions should be between 50-300 characters long. They must accurately reflect the page content, but offer an opportunity for you to get creative with text. The idea is to entice someone to click the result that will lead them to your site, so the best descriptions leave the reader wanting more information.
I like this simple formula from The Sales Lion for writing effective meta descriptions:
Start with a question. For example, “Are you wondering about [your product or service featured on the page]?”
Finish with a tease. For example, “In this article, we…” or “This video will…”
The “...” at the end is key - this leaves the reader wondering what’s coming next, enticing them to click to your page to find the answer to their search query.
I recommend running your website through Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider Tool, which will crawl all of your website pages and put all of their details into an easy-to-read spreadsheet. This will help you quickly check each page’s title and meta description so you can quickly see which need updating.
Of course, there’s more to a full digital assessment. But, a quick audit on your site’s mobile-usability, security, and titles and meta descriptions can jumpstart your website’s performance, both with users and with search engines.
Want to dig deeper? Check out these articles: