In the world of business, the importance of a well-designed, user-friendly website has long been accepted as standard. Indeed, any company worth their salt will have no doubt invested plenty of time, effort and even money into setting up a site that speaks for their brand. However, in the competitive online space, a one-time approach simply isn’t enough, and continuous monitoring is crucial for ensuring the ongoing success of your site.
Whether you’ve just recently launched or have been online for a while, it could be time to give your site the once-over. Here are three main areas you should be checking regularly, along with some tips for how they could be further improved.
Performance is dependent on two things: how fast your site loads, and how well it adapts to different devices. A slow-loading site will undoubtedly cost you customers, as will a site that can’t be used comfortably on a mobile or tablet. As well as ensuring your site is optimized for mobile, there are plenty of things you can do to pick up the pace. If your site is picture-heavy, try reducing the file sizes; a plugin such as WordPress Smush can be used to compress images and strip away unnecessary data without affecting the quality.
Similarly, there are several tools you can use to minify your website’s code, essentially removing unnecessary characters and white space without altering functionality. Speed and performance will instantly determine how long a visitor remains on your site, so it’s essential to keep things quick; use a free website checker tool such as this one from 1&1, to see how your website measures up.
Trust is everything when it comes to online business, and something as simple as not employing the right security measures could be standing between you and your customers. What’s more, unsecure sites may find themselves being penalized by Google, so regularly updating your security software is crucial to ensuring you don’t slip down in the search results.
If you are running an ecommerce site or collecting sensitive data via form submission, SSL protection can be used to safeguard the information as it travels from A to B. Additionally, you can make your site less vulnerable by hiding your admin pages; use the robots.txt file to prevent them being listed by search engines and thus make them harder for hackers to find.
Visibility in the search results is arguably the most influential factor when it comes to the success of a website, and something that needs to be continuously maintained. Whilst your website content has most likely already been informed by thorough keyword research, a few additional tweaks may help with SEO.
Ensure that all images are labelled using alt text – given that the search engine can’t actually “see” visual elements, assigning descriptive labels is crucial to making sure they are correctly indexed. Likewise, assess your website’s link structure: is it fully crawlable? If the answer is no, some of your pages may be overlooked by the search engine.