Posts by Nancy Hildebrandt
Quality websites: More than just a pretty face
A lot of work goes on under the hood to make a website effective. Here are the main qualities you should look for, even in a very simple website.
Website design has fashions and trends. You may have noticed that many sites, including this one, currently have long pages that require a lot of scrolling. Like many previous website design fashions, the reason is due to technology–it’s easier to scroll on a mobile device than it is to click menu items to view a lot of individual pages.
Once a new style comes in, the old one starts to look, well, a bit mossy.
The best business websites are the ones that get your visitors to perform an action. Do you want them to visit your store? Contact you for your service? Like your Facebook page or sign up for a newsletter so you can build a set of leads and then a loyal customer following? Maybe you have several different customer markets–how do you reach each of them with your message?
When a website visitor takes the action you want, it’s called conversion, and we want as much of that as we can get, so we structure your website around your conversion goal.
As of 2014, Google reports there are more searches done on mobile devices than on computers. In 2015, Google announced that it would prefer sites in search results that are mobile-friendly. (Well technically it said it would not prefer sites that were not mobile-friendly.)
All Simple Storefronts websites are guaranteed mobile-friendly. If you have a website built by someone else, it may or may not be mobile-friendly, depending on how old your site is and how it was built that way.
To see if your current website passes or fails the mobile-friendly test, go to the Google Mobile-Friendly Test page and enter your website address.
Most folks find local websites by searching online. Because over 99% of those searches are through Google, they pretty much make the rules for how to optimize search–and their rules change often. The term SEO–Search Engine Optimization–refers to the process of doing things to your website to improve the ranking of your site in search results.
And if you’ve heard the expression “Content is king,” it is referring to the fact that what gets your website the best search results is to have quality content–in other words, you have fresh content that your visitors and customers want to read, and copy that is written with keywords that users search for.
It takes time to build good content, and it takes time to improve search engine ranking, but there are a few things we can build into your website to optimize search results and get your site started on the path to search heaven.
5. Fast and reliable
It seems pretty obvious that your website should be fast and reliable. You don’t want your visitors to give up looking at your website because the pages take too long to display. And you don’t want intermittent failures where they can’t see your website at all.
The responsibility for making your website fast and reliable lies in a couple different places. It’s our job when we design a website to make sure your pages are lean and mean so they display quickly and reliably whether your customers are using a smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac. And it’s the job of the web hosting provider to serve up those pages fast and reliably on the Internet whenever there is a request. For our Simple Storefronts web hosting plan, we subcontract with a large hosting provider we trust, then we monitor performance.
It’s estimated that tens of thousands of websites are hacked every day. Even if your website has no sensitive information to steal, it is still at risk of getting hacked for a purpose such as disseminating viruses or other malicious code. We have watched for several years as one of our small business websites has repeatedly blocked an attacker trying to guess the user name and password of the website administrator.
Nobody can guarantee that a site cannot get hacked, but we take every precaution to ensure that it doesn’t, starting with the way we install the website and the integrity of the code that runs your site. With our Simple Storefronts hosting plan, we use several additional security safeguards.
7. Great support
We specialize in small businesses, and we understand that the technology required to run a website can intimidating. At Simple Storefronts we pride ourselves in being able to talk to customers with no geek speak.
And whether we are maintaining a site for you or turn it over to you to maintain yourself, we understand that questions will pop up from time to time. We support all of our websites with free and unlimited questions and troubleshooting. Our mission is to create a community of happy website owners and users. We won’t leave you stranded!