Whether you’re developing a new content site to educate your customers, or redesigning your corporate website, it’s imperative that you consider user experience and functionality. Here, Eldon Marr, Director of Digital Media at Strategic Communications Group, shares three site killers and the steps you can take to avoid them.
1. Slow Site Speed
The first and most important site killer is speed or load time.
Page load speed is an important part of the user experience for any website. Often we set speed aside for design choices, advanced functionality or even just to have more content or images on a page. The reality is that visitors care more about speed and responsiveness than all the other bells and whistles we add to our websites.
Additionally, search engines are starting to consider page load times as an important factor when it comes to search ranking and results.
Load times can be increased due to many factors including outdated plugins and software, too many images that aren’t optimized for web, and too many calls back to external websites via embed codes and other scripts. It’s important to regularly evaluate your site to ensure that there are no unnecessary features that are bogging down load times.
2. Ignoring Updates
The second website killer is a lack of maintenance and updates.
Many companies bring in professionals to design and build a website, and even optimize it for SEO, but after it’s all set up the site is left to run itself.
This is especially important if you are using a CMS or any other type of web-based software to run your site, since those solutions frequently release updates with the latest security patches and bug fixes.
Hackers often target sites that seem to have been forgotten. The last thing you want is for your visitors to get infected by software downloaded from your site. If Google detects malware on your website, they will likewise delist your site until you get it fixed.
It’s much more affordable to make small incremental changes over time than to wait every couple years to do a complete overhaul or redesign of a website.
Incompatibility is the third website killer. It’s important that your website looks good on not only every device, but also on the many different browsers available to each device.
People use mobile devices more than their desktop or laptop computers, and are surfing websites from the beach, in the car and before they go to bed. It’s important that they have a smooth experience no matter what device they use.
If your web design doesn’t cater to mobile users, you’re cutting out a large chunk of potential clients or customers.
To ensure a high level of compatibility, responsive and mobile design choices are best. Responsive design ensures that features of your website adapt and adjust based on the screen size used by the visitor. This allows for ease of use across platforms and browser windows.