Website Fundamentals for 2016

header_screenandhandsHow old is your website? I can usually tell the vintage when I visit a site – don’t let this be you. With a little tending year-after-year, your website can be as modern today as it was the day it launched.

Here are six basics for a website in 2016:

  1. Responsive/mobile design: Google no longer returns non-mobile-ready sites in searches from a mobile device. Since more than half of searches are done on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, websites that are not mobile-friendly are missing out on half of the action.

    Wondering if your site is responsive? If you are not sure, the answer is probably no. The sure way to tell is to access your site from a mobile device. How does it look? Also try to search from the device’s browser.

  2. A look and feel that reflects you: Your design needs to reflect you, today. The colors and branding should be in concert with your current advertising and marketing materials. Can a visitor tell what type of business you are just by looking at your site?
  3. Great content: Every page at your site should get a refresh at least once a quarter. Update the images to reflect current branding, fashion, etc. Update text to maximize use of core keywords. Add and remove content as needed to reflect what you do. Be brutal and trash anything that is no longer relevant – your legacy content only serves to distract and confuse today’s visitors.

    While you are taking a fresh look at your content, make sure the basics are covered. Do you have your phone number and address clearly listed? Are the names of team members listed? If your services are to a specific geographic area or location, is that clear? Remember that people who know nothing about you can wind up at your site.

  4. Blog: Websites without an active blog are static in the context of the web.  An active blog (and therefore fresh content) is the best way to be well-ranked in search engines and also to attract the interest of visitors. Websites that aren’t clearly fresh and updated are suspect – Is this content still accurate? A blog is a great place to always be sharing timely information.
  5. Modern SEO: Meta tags are yesterday, as is content stuffed with keywords that is not easy to read. To impact SEO, you need to have great content that:
    – Uses relevant keywords in heads, subheads, image alt text, and body text
    – Links to other authoritative sources for related content
    – Keeps users at your site, spending time on pages and clicking from page to page
  6. Calls to action: Why do you have a website? What do you want visitors to do? Make it easy! Calls to action include opportunities to call you, to provide information in a form, to connect with you on social media, to download a resource, etc.