You’ve heard us talk about the importance of a responsive website before, but it’s still just as important. If you’re reading this, then you’re already thinking about the next step of getting a responsive website. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Here are 10 best practices for your responsive website!
1. Tagging Your Site With Alt Tags
Easy tip, but this can honestly make a world of difference, especially when it comes to SEO. When you’re adding photos to your site, are you optimizing them properly? Are you adding alt tags so that there’s no confusion regarding what the picture is? If you’re not, you should be. Leaving out alt tags is like forgetting to put frosting on a cupcake. Alt tags help people on your site know what they are looking at. It’s also a key part of SEO, and can make the difference between ranking for a keyword and ending up on the second page of Google stuck in oblivion. Any time you’re adding photos to your site, whether it’s a blog post, infographic, or a member of your staff, remember your alt tags!
2. Make Sure You Have At Least 350 Words On A Page Of Content
In addition to adding alt tags to your images, you need to remember to flesh out your content as much as possible. It needs to be informative for the person who is reading it, but it also must be a minimum of 350 words. 350 words may seem like a lot, but it’s not. More than 350 words is good too, because you are showing Google that you know enough about the topic at hand to be seen an expert. If you care about your rankings (and you should) content should be 350 words minimum, with a focus keyword agreed upon before you write the content. Quality content is always preferable to the amount of content, so remember to write content that people will actually want to read.
3 &4. Keep Your Website Layout Simple With Easy Navigation
When you look at a well designed website, are you overwhelmed? No. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll be the opposite of overwhelmed, because there’s a simple but elegant flow to the layout. Well designed websites are not bogged down with lots of extras. They deliver the information in a way that’s easy to find, no matter who is looking at it. This means the navigation bar on the homepage is clearly worded, and there aren’t a lot of things that are going to distract you. If you leave one part of the website, it should be very easy for you to find your way back, and not feel confused somewhere in the middle. When it comes to a well-designed website, we know that less is more, and it’s all about the user experience. Google knows that too, and sometime in the near future, an algorithm change is coming which could start penalizing websites that don’t give users a good experience.
5. Provide A Seamless Experience From Smart Phone to Tablet to Desktop
With a responsive website, it’s important to make the experience as seamless as possible. What does that mean? It means that no matter what device your website is being viewed on, the quality and experience is the same. Your responsive website should automatically adjust itself, so text will change size, windows change, and other aspects are formatted only for mobile size screens. The key to a good responsive experience: making it seamless. If your site is truly responsive, customers or leads who are on it shouldn’t notice any kind of difference in their contact with your website if they happen to change devices. That is the true test of whether or not your responsive design is up to snuff.
6. Fast Site Speed On All Devices
Going along with the seamless experience, your responsive website should load quickly, on all devices, but especially on mobile. As Google has pointed out, we’re living in a time of serious instant gratification. We want what we want, and we want it now. For consumers, this means that a slow loading site on their phone is unacceptable. If your site takes the average of 22 seconds to load, then you may be losing people without even knowing it. Keep site speed fast by making tweaks to mobile like automatically resizing images for mobile, and only keeping key components of your desktop site on the mobile version. Users are looking for instantaneous results, and if your mobile design is difficult to navigate, it may be the kiss of death. Make sure that the most important things are easy to find on mobile and right in front of viewers.
7. Take Professional Photos
This may seem like a no-brainer tip, but you’d be surprised how many people have amateur photos floating around their websites. No matter what kind of business you run, it is extremely important that you have professional photos. Selling a product? You need to invest in product photography. Everyone says that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, they really are. Having less than perfect photos could scare away potential customers, simply because attention to detail was ignored. Pictures can be the thing that convert a lead to a customer. Professional photos show that you care about your business, and are willing to invest in yourself. Although it’s tempting, stay away from cheesy stock photos. The more personal your responsive website feels, the more customers will want to come back to it.
8 & 9. Use Clear Call To Actions & Contact Forms
Responsive websites are about a lot of things, but you need a purpose for why people are going to your site. One simple way to do this is through clear call to actions. CTA’s help instruct people on your website what you need from them. Common calls to action include signing up for an email newsletter, completing an engagement object like a self test, schedule an appointment, or request a consultation. A site without CTA’s is dead in the water before it even gets seen, so before designing your responsive website, ask yourself why it’s useful, and what you want people to do with it. Another important piece of the puzzle concerns contact forms on your site. Yes, you added your CTA’s but where are they taking people? Having contact forms on your responsive website means your customers are always able to contact you. These forms should be sent to a reliable email address that is checked on a regular basis. Any leads that come in through your website should be contacted as soon as possible.
10. Deliberate Linking To Social Media Networks
We live in a digital world, and there’s no escaping it. On your responsive website, are you linking back to your social media networks? If a customer has a great experience on your website, the next place they want to go is one of your social profiles. How a business uses social media can be a good indicator of how they run their business. Social media icons for Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Linked In, and Pinterest should be located in the header, as well as the footer. These should link directly to your business profiles for each individual platform, and should be easily accessible. On mobile, social icons should be prevalent, and link directly to the app versions, rather than the mobile pages. Small tweaks like these can help keep your customers happy, and turn your leads into customers!
Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of creating an amazing responsive website? You don’t have to do it alone, because we are here to help! No matter what kind of business you run, a responsive website is a key factor in being successful! Give us a call if you’re ready to become part of the responsive revolution.