Your Website’s 2015 New Year’s Resolutions
It’s almost a brand new year – 2015 starts TOMORROW. Can you believe it?
Like me, you probably have your own New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or spend more time with your family. January has always been a time to make new goals. But what about your website? It has plans and dreams for the new year, too!
Here are some of the resolutions your website may be considering.
Resolution 1: Be More Friendly, Particularly to Mobile Devices
If your website isn’t already set up to serve optimized pages to phones and tablets, then you’re missing out on traffic and sales. Internet Retailer expected that 75% of shoppers would use their mobile devices to shop during the 2014 holiday season. That’s a lot of orders!
One of the best ways to make your website mobile-friendly is to use Responsive Web Design. This technology allows a single set of templates to be styled differently depending on the screen size. Certain elements are moved, resized, hidden or displayed, depending on whether the site is viewed on a phone, a tablet, or a desktop. The navigation may change, and is certainly touch-friendly (remember, you can’t hover over something on phones and tablets, because there’s no cursor). We’ve been implementing responsive websites, especially responsive ecommerce sites, since mid-2013, and those clients are seeing a big lift in traffic and conversions from mobile customers.
Additionally, Google has recently begun to label sites as being mobile-friendly in their mobile search results. Word is that they are also experimenting with a ranking boost for mobile-friendly sites, meaning that your responsive site could rank better when people search on their phones and tablets.
Resolution 2: Respond More Quickly by Improving Performance
Over time, websites become bloated and slow. We add and remove features, and for ecommerce sites, the data builds up. Because of this, most sites get gradually slower over time, and it’s not as noticeable to owners and developers as it would be if a site suddenly went from speedy to a crawl. But your customers notice. People’s attention span (for anything other than cat videos) gets shorter and shorter online, as people come to expect faster-loading sites. If someone has to sit and wait for your site to load, they may leave. Which means you’ve just lost a customer.
This is called a bounce – when someone comes to your site but doesn’t stay very long. What’s worse is that Google sees this bounce, and the interpretation is that your site didn’t meet the visitor’s expectation. This can negatively affect your ability to rank well in Google. Talk about a snowball effect.
Resolution 3: Be More Secure by Using SSL on All Pages
Google is pushing for a more secure web, by giving SSL-enabled websites a small boost in rankings. For some websites, the benefit is probably not worth the effort (yet). But if you’re running an ecommerce site, you likely already have an SSL certificate purchased and installed, to protect your customers’ information and credit cards during checkout. Depending on the complexity of your site, applying SSL to the rest of your site could be a quick win. Stay tuned as we have a new post coming about how to migrate your website so that it’s completely covered by SSL security. Or talk to us about doing it for you – we’ve already done it for a number of customers.
Resolution 4: Stop Hanging with the Wrong Crowd by doing a Backlink Audit
So much changed during 2014 in the SEO world, but none so much as the state of inbound links. From the death of guest posting to the idea of negative SEO, it suddenly became much more important than ever before that you pay attention to who’s linking to you. Too many of the wrong links could do more harm than good.
A number of tools have come on the market for backlink analysis, including my favorite, Link Research Tools. They help you find your site’s inbound links and qualify them based on quality using a number of different metrics. Once you know the bad links to your site, you should work to get as many removed as possible, and then disavow the rest. But this easy-sounding process can be both time-consuming and dangerous, if you remove or disavow good links or somehow do the disavow incorrectly. And it’s an ongoing task to keep your backlink profile clean.
These are just a few of the items to think about for 2015, but they are some of the most pressing and current tasks in the web development world as of today. What else are you planning to do in 2015?