Maintaining your business’s digital presence can sometimes make you feel like a swan: on the surface, everything looks fine, but underneath, you’re furiously paddling to keep your head above water.
While getting your digital life in order might seem like a lot of work, it’s always worth the effort. Building a strong online presence can help your business build a loyal community, gather valuable feedback, increase your reach and attract new customers.
So if you’ve got a million tasks on your plate and don’t know where to start, here are three important considerations to check off your digital checklist as soon as possible.
Improve performance on mobile devices
When creating content for your website or marketing efforts, it’s easy to forget about mobile devices. However, when you consider that more than half of your website traffic comes from mobiles and tablets, it’s clear that providing a good mobile experience is essential.
Responsive website design is when a website has been created in a way where the layout will adjust according to the size of the screen on which it is displayed. There are three main sizes that websites should be responsive to, a desktop/laptop computer, a tablet and a mobile phone. Responsive design ensures that a website will look good and be easy to navigate regardless of what kind of device is being used to browse. Additionally, when you edit your website (which you normally do on a computer) always check your work on a mobile device.
Making your contact information clickable makes things just that little bit easier for people browsing on mobile. If they click your mobile number or email address, they are provided with the option to call or email you immediately – so get your links in check.
Speed up your site
According to Google, if your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you will likely lose about half of your potential customers. This is why it’s important to test the loading time for your website using websites like tools.pingdom.com to ensure that there is nothing slowing it down.
If you find that your website’s loading speed is slow, make sure the images on your website are as optimised as they can be and pay attention to the total size of the images on each page (i.e. too many large images = slow load speed). If your site is still slow, ask your web developer if there is any unnecessary script that’s slowing down the page, and whether your site uses caching.
Accessibility on your website
In Australia, 4.4 million people have a disability – that’s almost one in five. Whether you realise it or not, people with disabilities will fall into your target market. It is important that your business caters to this demographic by having good accessibility information on your website.
Accessibility doesn’t just refer only to whether or not your building can be accessed by someone using a wheelchair. Making your business more accessible means considering the needs of people who have mobility needs, those with vision or hearing impairments and people with autism and other ‘invisible’ disabilities.
There are also a couple of simple ways that you can make your online presence more accessible for people who may have low or no vision. As a bonus benefit, these tips are also great for your search engine optimisation (SEO).
Always describe your images with alt text. People who can’t see or can’t see well, as well as those with cognitive or learning problems, benefit from image descriptions, often known as alternative text or alt text. Screen-reading software detects alt text and reads it out to the user. Without these image descriptions, someone using a screen reader may feel as though they have missed out on information that sighted people have access to.
Image descriptions should clearly and succinctly describe the content and the purpose of the image. If the image contains text this should be replicated in the image. If the image is purely for style/decoration on the web page, the alt text should describe it as ‘decorative’.
Use ‘true’ headings to clearly define sections of your content. True headings, also known as header tags, are elements of code used to divide a webpage’s headings and subheadings. They are ranked from H1 through H6, with H1 typically serving as the title of the page. True headings help people with vision impairments understand the text as it was intended.
Finally, get into the habit of testing your business’ online presence with different hats on. Are you a new customer or an existing customer? What accessibility requirements do you have? How much time do you have? Are you on desktop, mobile, and tablet? A great digital presence will cater to all of these different requirements in a simple, clean, easy to navigate way.