Launching or updating a website that represents your business is essential in any market or industry. Providing your prospective customers with another method to shop and communicate with you can lead to a drastic increase in sales while allowing you the ability to maximize your online reach.
Before launching or updating your website, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure you are ready.
1. Having a Mobile-Friendly Website
When the internet first became popular, users browsed with traditional web browsers including Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
As the internet continues to evolve, new browsers including Google Chrome and Opera have risen in popularity. However, the advent of smartphone technology has driven more users to browse online with their mobile phones.
Mobile users account for most of the online browsing today, allowing individuals to access information, shop, and communicate with loved ones while on-the-go, traveling, or even from the comfort of their own couches.
Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is imperative to prevent missing out on a potential opportunity to attract new visitors and loyal followers.
When mobile users access a website that is not mobile-friendly, they are likely to encounter issues that can lead to a higher bounce rate and lower revenue.
The bounce rate of a website represents the percentage of users who visit one page on your website and quickly leave immediately after. Oftentimes, bounce rates over 50% indicate that a website is not appearing properly to users or that its navigation is not simple and easy enough to access.
Some of the most notable issues that users browsing with their mobile phones are likely to encounter on a non-mobile-friendly website include:
Long Loading Times: When a website takes more than a few seconds to load all of its content and information, users are likely to go elsewhere for the information they are seeking.
Graphics: Graphics are not likely to load properly on websites that are not mobile-friendly. Graphics may appear too big, taking up the majority of a user's mobile screen, or too small, making it difficult to read and interpret.
Navigation: Web browser navigation is much different than mobile browsing navigation. Without a mobile-friendly navigation bar, users may become confused or find it far too challenging to search for the content they are looking for while accessing your site.
2. Invest in HTTPS
Anytime you visit a website, the URL includes an "HTTP" or "HTTPS" before the actual domain name itself.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, providing your site's visitors with an additional layer of protection whenever they browse for content or enter login information on your website itself.
Investing in an HTTPS is extremely important if you are launching a business that sells items while requiring personal and sensitive information from your users. And now-a-days Google's Chrome marking all sites as secure (showing a lock icon before the url) or non-secure (showing a circle with an i in it, or the words non secure before the url).
Why is HTTPS Important?
Implementing an HTTPS certificate on your website is imperative whenever you collect or store user information (whether for sales or if you are developing an online community for your followers).
An HTTPS ensures that all data that is sent and received on your website is done using encryption, securing the information from potential hackers and online thieves. HTTPS also signals to new users that your website is safe and secure, often with a lock icon appearing in the lefthand corner of the URL bar. Whenever you visit a website that requests login information or personal details, be sure to verify that the site is utilizing an HTTPS for maximum protection online.
When you launch a website that does not use an HTTPS, you run the risk of exposing your user's data and sensitive information in a breach or hack.
Websites that do not use HTTPS have a much greater risk of becoming a target of hackers and individuals who have malicious intent and want to expose user information to the public.
If you are planning to sell products or if you request users enter information while registering as a member of your website, ensure you have an active HTTPS for your website before going live.
Cost of HTTPS.
The cost of HTTPS widely varies depending on the web host you choose to use for your website and the length of time you wish to own the HTTPS before renewal.
For a standard HTTPS certificate, prices range anywhere from $4.95 a year to more than $200. Research and review web host pricing along with the SSL guarantee they provide for each HTTPS you purchase.
In some cases, web hosts offer free HTTPS for customers who are interested in paying for a complete web hosting package along with a domain name.
Take the time to research and compare top web hosts and HTTPS providers to find a package deal that is best for your website.
3. Consider Your Website's Speed
Consider the speed of your website before going live and promoting your content with ad campaigns and online marketing strategies.
If your website requires more than just a few seconds to properly load with all of the content and images you have used, it may be time to consider a new web host.
When users are unable to access a website immediately, they are likely to seek elsewhere for alternative information and content.
With social media and access to thousands of websites instantaneously, fast-loading websites have become commonplace and are expected for companies and brands.
Test your website's speed by using online tools to determine whether or not you require a faster web hosting package or a new web host altogether.
When a website loads immediately it becomes much easier to gain the trust of new visitors who have a genuine interest in learning more about what your business and brand has to offer.
4. Ease of Access
Because of the uptick in mobile users online, ease of access is extremely important when launching a new website.
Screen size is limited for users who are browsing with their mobile phones or tablet devices, which is why responsive and mobile-friendly design is essential.
Features that you choose to implement into your website need to remain visible and accessible from your site's homepage with just one click.
Whether you want to include a CTA (Call to Action) or contact information, users should have the ability to find what they are looking for even if they are not tech-savvy.
Important information should appear immediately upon visiting your website's homepage along with the navigation bar or buttons you want to include.
When users find a website easy to browse and navigate, they are much more likely to remain on the site while searching for content and making a purchase.
5. Branding and Design
Does your website's layout reflect your business and brand? Do you have a preferred color scheme that blends with your company's logo and the overall layout of your website?
Implementing branding and proper design is extremely important when launching a website for the first time.
Websites that appear outdated and unattractive are less likely to motivate users to make purchases or refer others to the site in the future.
A website should include a professional, robust, and relevant design to keep users engaged and coming back for more.
If your website appears outdated or using graphics that are unprofessional, grainy, or blurry, it becomes increasingly difficult to retain users and to gain their trust (which can be devastating for new businesses that need to generate revenue).
6. Social Media Integration
Integrating social media with your official website is a great way to maximize your online reach and the amount of exposure you are able to receive with ads and social media campaigns.
Streamline all of your company's social media pages by using the same page names and URLs, helping users to remember your business and brand. Integrate social media buttons and plugins on your website for easier sharing and to help incentivize users to engage in your content.
Use social media to promote individual pages on your website, blog posts, and exclusive promotions you want to share with your loyal fans and followers.
7. The Importance of SEO
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is used to boost a website's ranking within top search engine reuslts.
Users are most likely to click a link that appears within the first page of search results using engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Research top trending keywords and phrases that attract your target audience. Use tools such as Google Trends to learn more about your niche and what words appeal to your audience most while creating page and blog titles.
Understanding the importance of a mobile-friendly website and a site that is easily accessible and optimized is essential whenever you are developing an online presence for your business and brand.