I’d like to thank Tony Grant, who I frequently work with, for contributing this article, it is always great to bring you good quality content from my very experienced friends and contacts. Tony is no exception to this and his message is really important for businesses.
5 Essential Website Checks For All Business Owners
by Tony Grant – LocalGlobalMarketing
After carrying out some random reviews of websites that either promote or are owned by Lanzarote businesses, it was all too clear that many were failing to deliver on the basic requirements for business sites.
What was more alarming was that these websites were often built by ‘expert’ developers, supposedly working in the best interests of their clients.
There are many reasons why this would happen, and perhaps not something that should be covered in this article. So instead, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common mistakes, and how to quickly move towards resolving them.
1. Search Engine Ranking.
The primary objective of any business website should be to attract new customers to that business, unless of course the intention is to deliver supporting information after a sale has been made.
Assuming that a business wants to attract new customers, it should also be okay to assume that ranking in Google or Bing might be helpful.
There are certain expectations that a search engine applies, and to be truthful, these are pretty obvious, although far to often overlooked.
Local businesses should clearly display their name, address and phone number (NAP) on each page, and most especially the home page. A map is also helpful but perhaps not as imperative.
In addition, Google expects to see at least one page that connects all other pages on the site. This is most effectively served up as a site map, but make sure this is also linked to from the home page.
That pretty much covers the fundamentals, without getting too geeky. Of course, it never hurts to put a video up there on the home page as well as some images too, as long as they are correctly tagged or labeled.
2. Mobile Optimisation
It is undoubted that most searches now take place on mobile phones.
Google fully understand that, as it was probably them who told us about it in the first place.
Accordingly, Google have just announced they are giving preferential ranking to sites that are fully mobile compliant.
This doesn’t mean seeing what a site looks like on a mobile. It is a bit more in-depth than that.
Again there is no need to delve too deep here as Google kindly offer a page for testing the compliance of a site. That link can be found in the resources section at the end of this article.
The plain truth here is, ignore this advice and the days of ranking are numbered.
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3. Page Speed
This has a bit to do with mobile but is also embedded in the history of web development.
As websites and computers became ever faster, there was a thirst for more visually stunning sites.
The problem here was that as sites became ever more visual, they also became increasingly slower to load.
It is a very clearly stated fact that a site which takes more than 3 seconds to load will start to lose visitors.
People do not have the patience to wait in these times of instant gratification.
If a page takes 5 seconds to load, then at least 25% of visitors would have turned away.
By the time the load speed has reached double digits, the only person to remain might be the site owner and the web designer, pretty much everyone else will have gone already.
This very clearly goes against the purpose of the website and so is one more critical factor that needs to be understood and addressed.
Again, Google help out here with a very handy tool, which again can be found at the foot of this article.
The results of running these tests are given with explanation but these are not really for the non-technical site owner.
There are some things that can be done quite easily to speed up a website, and some others that would baffle the boffins.
4. Image Optimisation
An important aspect that affects most of the above is about how images are delivered to site visitors.
There is a tendency to put any image up on a site and not bother about optimising it.
However, if that image is of a higher resolution than is necessary, or if the original image is of a different size to what is ultimately displayed, the page will take longer to load, and will in turn risk a loss of visitors.
There are various ways to optimise images, but there is an easy way that is ready to implement.
Go back to the Google Page Speed Tool and scroll right down to the bottom of the results page.
Hidden away where most people don’t go is a nice downloadable zip of any offending images, already resized as Google wants to see them
Just replace the images in that file with the images on the website and that is the job effectively done.
5. Web Schema
This topic is maybe moving into the realms of geeky but it has to be discussed nonetheless.
If a website is a book and the web pages are chapters, then Schema are the author notes on the back page.
Schema basically tells the search engines everything they need to know about a site, its content and in the case of local businesses, the products, services and location.
As the focus shifts ever more towards mobile optimised pages, schema becomes ever more critical. The reason for this is that schema tells the search engines what they need to know to serve a web page to a mobile browser, and then the page delivers enough information to deliver the call to action for the end user. In a sense, it is the ultimate information partnership, and clear to see why the search engines all work together in their acceptance of schema.
A site can be tested for schema either using the webmaster tools of each search engine or by using the tools provided on schema.org.
That about sums up a quite simplistic overview of some critical elements that should be understood about ranking a local business website.
About the Author
Tony Grant is an Internet & Business Marketing Specialist from Lincoln, UK.
He is currently focused on the establishment of new business endeavours and is excited to create these in line with an Evolved Enterprise philosophy.
Tony is recognised for his innovative approaches that embrace entrepreneurial spirit and nurture new thinking, as reflected in his own personal tagline of ‘Seeing Beyond Vision’.
Tony has a wealth of understanding to help aspiring business marketers and seeks to impart this awareness in a common sense format, where the value of his observations are understood and seen to be of value to the reader.
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test – https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
- Google Page Speed Tools – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
- Google Structured Data Testing Tool – https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/
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