11 ways to optimise your website

Words by Everon Creative Words by Everon Creative

We love building great websites for people. A professional website should be easy to navigate around, load quickly, be secure and feature plenty of original content. We have put together a handy checklist below detailing what we think makes a top-notch website.

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Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

HTTP is the protocol used for the data sent between your browser and the website you are visiting. The 'S' stands for secure and it means all communications are encrypted. Word on the street is that Google favours websites with this protocol over websites that don’t have it. At the end of the day Google want their users to visit secure websites so having HTTPS on your website could give you the edge over your competitors. HTTPS certificate starts from £199 a year and can be purchased from sites such as GlobalSign.

Responsive Design

90% of internet searches and website visits are now on mobile/tablet devices. This is why it's now more important than ever before that a website looks and works perfectly on all devices. In the past lots of business had separate mobile versions of website but these looked terrible on bigger handheld tablets. The norm now is to have a website that automatically responds and adapts to the screen size of the visitor. Most websites are now built with this in mind and there are plenty of great responsive WordPress themes for those who don’t want to get involved with the coding.

Eye catching CTA

A CTA is a Call to Action. These are normally large links styled as buttons that take people on your website to the most important parts of your website. The buttons are made bigger than usual for people who are using mobiles and tablets to make them easier to click. CTAs typically direct visitors to a certain product or invite them to contact you either via a call to click or a contact form.

Reliable hosting

Budget hosting is budget for a reason. Cheap hosting normally means the server is oversees and the support will be poor. Budget hosting also attracts websites involved in niches where spam is rife; areas such as gambling, Viagra and cheap sunglasses. Having these hosted alongside your website can actually have a detrimental effect on your website’s rankings. Therefore it is best to host your site with a reputable UK host; the more local the better. This means your support will be on the same time zone should any problems arise.

Appropriate domain name

It’s always useful to capture both the .co.uk and .com domain prefix of your business name and then build your website on the .co.uk domain. This then tells your customer you are a UK business. Domain prefixes such as .uk and .org.uk are great for charities. Research also shows that domain names that contain a hyphen do not rank as well as domains that don’t contain one so bear this in mind if you are considering a SEO strategy.

Google Analytics

A free must have tool for your website. Simply embed the code into your website and hey presto, a wealth of data is yours! Analytics can tell you everything from how many people visited your website on a Tuesday at 1pm to how long they were on the website and how they got there.

Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)

Another free tool worth its weight in gold. This is where you tell Google about your website and link your uploaded sitemap and robots.txt. GWT will crawl your website and report back any errors or broken links it may find.

Sitemap

A sitemap is list of all your pages on your website. Its main purpose is so crawlers from search engines can map your website and display the pages in the search results. You can also copy your sitemap to a page on your website so people can find certain areas easily. You upload your sitemap via FTP into your root folder and then tell Google via Google Webmaster Tools where it is.

Social Media Links

A business without social media is like a business without a phone number. Facebook, Twitter and the like are great platforms to engage with customers outside of your website. Chances are people will land on your website via your social media page so make sure you are at least active on one platform and link to them from your website.

Original Content

Google loves useful, original content and hates duplicate content that is copy and pasted from elsewhere on the web. By making your content useful and engaging you are telling Google your website knows what its talking about and you are likely to do better in the search results than a website with generic text.

Web ready images

It's important to have your website photos web-ready to improve site speed and user-retention. Typically image resolution for print is around 300 dpi and the file size is between 5 and 10MB (megabytes). These images on your website would take a while to load and studies has shown webpages that take longer than two seconds to load have an increase in bounce rate (people leaving) by 50%. To optimise your images for the web make sure the resolution is no higher than 72 dpi and the file size is between 5 and 50 kb (kilobytes). You can use software such as Photoshop to make your images smaller and perfect for the web by using the ‘Save for Web’ option.

Now you are armed with 11 of our top website tips so get out and there and build a great website.

www.everoncreative.co.uk