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4 Must-Have Changes for Your Website

4 Must-Have Changes for Your Website 4 Must-Have Changes for Your Website June 4th, 2018

It’s no surprise that thousands of companies across the country have websites dedicated to showcasing information related to their businesses. Whether your company has a basic landing page, or you have a full eCommerce site dedicated to growing your revenue, chances are you’ve thought about making key improvements to stand out in the crowd. You’re certainly not alone.

Every year we have clients come to us with websites that are in need of serious attention in relation to content, user-experience (UX), SEO, and even ADA compliance. With a growing number of web users and an increasingly competitive digital environment, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to decide what needs to be improved and what can stay. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Content Strategy

Whether you’re in the manufacturing industry or are managing a local non-profit, delivering valuable content to your website users is critical to long-term success. From writing clear product and service descriptions to building user-centered pages and creating a valuable online resource, content can be a website’s greatest asset for attracting and retaining new users. Sitting down with your management team and putting together a strategy for creating and uploading content is a great first step.

Asking yourself questions like “Why are users coming to my site?”, “What information do they want to know?”, and “Who is my target market?” will help you put together content that is both relevant and valuable to your users. From this, you will have a better understanding of the tone your content and how you can adjust it to meet the unique needs of different users. Ex: Writing for doctors vs. patients.

Knowing your specific audience as well as their needs, understanding of the material (tone), and the best method for delivering this information are some of the basic principles of developing a successful content strategy. Once this is understood, you can begin organizing content around pages of your website and focus on other essentials like ADA compliance, User-Experience (UX), and SEO.

WCAG ADA 2.0 Compliance

One of the most important changes that has come to both web development and UX has been the introduction of ADA compliance guidelines for websites. Set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), guidelines for web developers and website owners alike are organized into three different levels of compliance that cover everything from audio/visual captions to text elements.

The three levels are broken down into must support (A), should support (AA), and may support (AAA) with AAA being the highest level of compliance. At the first level (A), elements such as use of color, title tags, alternative tags on images/videos, clear navigation between pages, and keyboard functions are given guidelines. The guidelines relate to how these elements need to be organized to ensure content is accessible for screen readers, users with hearing/vision disabilities, and different forms of media.

The WCAG ADA 2.0 Compliance guidelines are focused on providing an accessible web experience for all users. Whether you have a full eCommerce site, or a collection of pages related to services for your company, ensuring that users of all ability levels is essential to both great UX and customer service overall.

Enhanced Security For Web Browsers

In today’s digital marketplace, cybersecurity and reducing the risk of loss of valuable data is a major concern of both website owners and users alike. Among traditional tools used to prevent viruses, malware, and spam, SSL certificates have become the standard for keeping sensitive user data secured on websites.

An SSL certificate is an added layer of encryption that secures the connection between a website’s server and a browser that’s designed to prevent valuable data (Credit Card Numbers, Addresses, Etc) from being intercepted by hackers. This added level of encryption is displayed in the website URL and is clearly shown as an https element with the word “Secured” before the domain name.

This added level of security that’s clearly displayed in the URL provides added peace of mind to users visiting your website. It also provides an extra level of assurance that their sensitive browsing data will not be intercepted and that your website is owned by a credible company. Adding other security measures like Norton, McAfee, and PayPal for eCommerce sites are other great ways to provide an extra level of security that help build trust among your customers.

Improved User-Experience

If you ask the development team at VIG what the most important aspect of a website is, the unanimous answer would be user-experience (UX). Whether you’re looking to improve your SEO or want to improve overall performance like bounce rate and session durations, an improved user-experience is pivotal to reaching your long-term goals.

UX has been a buzzword in the web development world realm for years. Everything from how users navigate between pages on a menu to page speed and their experience on mobile devices affects the overall UX of a site. Making sure your website is usable on smartphone and tablets is a must. Ensuring your pages have an appropriate balance of text vs. images and making sure you have a clear/logical flow for users to find your content is key.

Every developer has their own opinion regarding best practices for user-experience both on a desktop and mobile site. The universal truth is that the content on your pages needs to be easily accessible and clearly organized for your users (ADA Accessible), secure for users submitting sensitive information (security), and adaptable for users across different devices and browsers.

These elements of user-experience and web design are essential to providing a solid online experience for users visiting your website. Done well this can lead to better SEO rankings, increased traffic, and more leads for your business in the future. Whether you’re a small local business or a multi-million dollar manufacturer, making improvements to stay ahead of a growing market is always a great strategy.