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Website Standards for 2017: What You Need to Know

Website Standards for 2017: What You Need to Know

Website standards? What are they? How are they determined? What should I be doing with my site?

In order to find out how people outside of our industry feel about “the web”, we took an informal survey in the Spring of 2016. Asking a number of small business owners and c-level people throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County what they thought about various web-related topics, we learned quite a bit. One question in particular stood out—receiving aggressive and no-nonsense responses:

“What do you think about a business whose website isn’t responsive (mobile friendly)?”

Over 80% of our respondents viewed organizations who have yet to optimize their mobile user experience in an extremely negative light. Terms like “unprofessional”, “outdated”, and exclamations such as “I wouldn’t do business with them”, or even “they are clearly idiots” were gleefully entered into the survey forms.

It seems our local respondents are onto something, supported by data from some major analysts.

  • Data from comScore suggests that “all digital growth is now coming from mobile”, with mobile encompassing 65% of digital media time.
  • Adobe’s Digital Intelligence Briefing entitled “Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity” found that 28% of e-commerce revenue is transacted on mobile devices, which is a 21% increase from 2015.
  • SimilarWeb reported that 56% of traffic to leading US-based websites came from mobile devices in 2015.
  • As of March 2015, Google began actively punishing non-responsive websites, moving them lower in search rankings, and positively ranking websites that are mobile friendly.

So what does this mean?

If your website is not responsive, the world is looking at you with significantly less favor. In fact, you’re being punished by the largest search engine on the planet and people see your business as behind the times.

What this means is that it’s time to go mobile. This isn’t the only thing that matters now – but it does top our list of Website Standards for 2017:

What your Website needs in 2017

Mobile:  A responsive, mobile friendly design that works with any device. People interact with websites differently on a mobile device than they do on a desk or lap top. You should be delivering a quality experience via both mediums.

SEO Optmized: This helps search engines to know what your website is all about, which helps your all-important search ranking. Things like proper page tags, content, titles, descriptions, and locality information are all important factors to keep in mind.

CMS Backend: CMS’s (content management systems like wordpress, drupal, etc.) are powerful content publishing tools which allow your organization to quickly publish and edit content. If your website isn’t on one, or it isn’t being actively managed and updated, you need to get on it!

Secure: Do you use strong passwords? Where are passwords stored? Who has access to your website? Who is responsible for the security of your website? Are you actively running updates? These are all fundamental security and privacy protocols which you must be managing (either internally or contracted).

Fast: A quick load time, even for devices with a slow internet connection, is key. Nothing is worse than having potential visitors leave because your website won’t load (or load in a timely manner). Make sure your website has been optimized to load quickly.

Designed to Convert: You should outline a specific goal or set of goals for your website. An example conversion might be “sign up for our email list” or maybe it’s “request information about our products” or “contact our sales department”. Regardless, if your website isn’t converting or lacks conversion goals, you’ll need them.

Socially Integrated: Ideally you’ll be integrating with relevant social media channels. This could be a Facebook feed on your homepage, or like and share buttons on your content.

Analytics Enabled: You absolutely must have some kind of analytics integration on your website. This helps you understand the behavior of your users and improve and optimize their experience.

If you’re not meeting these minimum standards, you should seriously consider making some investments in your website. In the current hyper competitive, global economy, you can’t afford to ignore technological change.

We at Big Fresh try to make a website update quick, painless, and even fun. Contact our team today and we’ll get your website back on track.