Resolutions for your website in 2016

With 2016 upon us, it’s time for many to try to break old habits, turn over a new leaf, and establish new personal goals. But what about for your website? Below are a few resolutions you should consider for your website.

Resolution #1: Make your site work across as many platforms as possible

Where websites once simply had to work with a consistent size across a handful of browsers, people are now using a wider variety of phones, tablets, monitors, projects, and gadgets to do their browsing and each one you’re not catering to represents a lost opportunity.

  • Make sure your site is responsive: It’s easier than ever to use pre-existing responsive themes or frameworks for your site, and Google now gives more ranking weight to sites that are designed to work across multiple resolutions.
  • Focus on speed: Just because your content looks great on an iPhone doesn’t mean you’re done with making it mobile-friendly. Does it load quickly enough? Make sure your images are optimized and you’re not bogging down site visitors on limited data plans or slow connections with more content than is necessary. Check out Google webmaster tools for a speed test for your site to see what you can do to make your site leaner.
  • Test it out on multiple browsers: It’s an often frustrating fact that a site that loads perfectly on your browser might have a couple of weird little quirks on others. Make sure you’ve checked your site out on multiple browsers. There are some good emulators out there, but it still doesn’t replace looking at your site on as many different versions as is possible.
  • Be W3C Compliant: The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C helps set the standard for what is ‘correct’ code. Making sure your site is compliant is a great way to ensure that your site behaves properly and renders correctly.

Resolution #2: Make your website more secure

The last few years have seen data breaches become an almost daily headline – now that government agencies and large companies are finally beginning to make cybersecurity more of a priority, it’s time for you to make sure your site is as secure as possible.

  • Get an SSL Certificate: Having your site utilize https is increasingly becoming a core expectation, and might even help your ranking with Google.
  • Don’t store anything on your web server that you don’t absolutely have to: Are you collecting information about your customers or site visitors and storing it on your site? If so, be sure to protect that information, and be sure to only keep what you need – you should never have to store credit card information (your payment processor can take that risk) or social security numbers (the skeleton key for identity thieves).
  • Use security software: There are a lot of great security plugins and programs to help protect your site, adding a little more peace of mind. While no system is 100% secure, plugins such as WordFence help to fix a lot of the more common vulnerabilities in websites.

Resolution #3: Optimize your site for search engines.

You’ve made sure your site is accessible to the people visiting it, but what about search engines? Google, Bing, and others are the gatekeepers to determine how many people can see your site, so it’s important to make sure you’re up to speed on what they’re looking for in a site.

  • Check for indexing errors: The first and most important thing to do for your site is to make sure there’s nothing blocking search engines from seeing them. Google Webmaster Tools fortunately gives you statistics about what and how Google is perceiving your site and if it’s having difficulty checking out any of your pages.
  • Have a good working content strategy: Think about the main search terms you want people to be able to use to find your site. Is it well represented on your site? Do you have at least one page committed to that one specific search term? Plugins like Yoast SEO are great for being able to grade how well each page is optimized for specific keywords.
  • Take a look at your backlinks: Google unfortunately tends to run on guilt by association – use Webmaster Tools to see who’s linking to your site. Does it look like there are a lot of unsavory and potentially spammy sites linking to you? Submit a link disavow to Google to make sure it isn’t dragging down your rankings.

There’s always room for improvement on websites, especially as the technologies behind them continue to mature. If you need help bringing your website up to speed for 2016, please contact us.

Happy New Year!

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