Oh no, not another ‘top website resolutions blog post’ I hear you cry!
I’m a professional WordPress developer and website host. These are the things I would be expecting my clients to be focusing on in 2018. To me, these make a huge amount of sense. They don’t need to cost lots of money but will help your web presence to stand out from the competition.
In no particular order, here are my 5 suggested resolutions for you:
Get an SSL certificate
I’ve been banging on about this for ages, and so have Google and every other provider who want to deliver a safer web. It’s much easier than most people think to have a shiny green browser address bar.
If your web pages aren’t being served over https then you are not providing a safe browsing experience for your visitors. Google may well warn visitors when they visit your site and give a slight ranking boost to https sites. This doesn’t just apply to eCommerce sites. Nor does it just apply to pages on your site that collect sensitive information from contact forms. You really want to make your entire site secure, and it’s rarely much more complex than securing a few individual pages.
If you’re hosting your website with us, we can supply the certificate free of charge. Other hosts might charge for the certificate, or you can buy your own certificate and give it to your hosts to install it for you.
This year: Get your website secured and make your visitors more comfortable engaging with you
How about a new website?
Our own website is 3 years old and starting to look tired. We are going to launch a fresh new site over the next couple of months. If your site hasn’t seen the decorators for a few years it might be worth taking a look.
Website fads come and go. It’s a fair bet that if your website is more than 3 years old it will engage visitors better if it were built in a way that today’s visitors expect. It’s also a good excuse to review and update your content and bring blog posts up to date. If your site is built using WordPress, you may not have too much work to do to change the look and feel of your site. Just find a theme that you like, install it, and start styling!
This year: Take a hard look at your website, and freshen it up with a new design if it is looking dated
Write more often!
Good, unique, fresh, useful, and interesting blog content gets noticed. If it gets noticed, it will get shared. If it gets shared you’ll get more traffic and more Google juice (which leads to more traffic, which leads to even more Google juice). Write often, and your site will appear more active. If your site appears to be active, your visitors are more likely to stay.
Even if you think that everything that’s worth writing has already been written, there’s always another slant you can put on things. As long as you follow a broad range of ‘good practice’ blog posting guidelines, you will be able to achieve success, bring more visitors to your site – and engage them once they are there.
This year: set yourself a blog posting schedule (and stick to it)
Nobody likes a slow website.
If your visitor can reach their browser’s back button faster than your site can respond… you’re in trouble. Not only will visitors get fed up, but search engines will too, and are likely to rank you lower down than a competitor site that loads faster.
Even if you think your site is responding quickly, it might be your browser cache. So it’s best to check with an independent tool like Pingdom to see how fast it really is. If Pingdom is reporting a load time longer than, say, 3 seconds, then it’s worth investing a little time to see if you can speed it up.
Prime culprits causing slow website load times include poor hosting; large (or poorly optimised) images; Server location too far from your visitors; Excessive external scripts (e.g. to Facebook, Twitter, Chat plugins, etc.).
This year: Challenge yourself to take a second off your website load time (and then another one!)
Get more [great] reviews
Genuine reviews/testimonials on websites can be the positive stimulus that visitors need to prompt a purchase. If you visit a bunch of websites whilst shopping for a new product or service, how much more inclined are you to buy from a site that has plenty of good, honest reviews?
We dot our reviews all over our website and know that they encourage people to contact us. It makes selling to them much easier. So, if you don’t have plenty of reviews on your site (and recent ones!) then you’re probably making things much harder for yourself.
Don’t just think about your website. Get them onto your LinkedIn profile, and get clients to review you in Google too. If you can get good reviews from people who are prominent in their own right – so much the better.
This year: Whenever you finish a piece of work for a client, ask them to write you a review. Send them a link to your Google review page!
Those are the 5 top website resolutions we would suggest to help your web presence this year. These are all within easy reach of the average website owner. If well implemented they can help you punch way above your weight when competing for that rare, engaged, website visitor!
Drop us a comment to let us know what your priorities are, and if we can help you with them.