5 tips for a better website in 2018

5 tips for a better website in 2018 by Jennifer Jones.  Available from <http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/business-viewpoint-tips-for-a-better-website-in/article_1bb13d08-0846-5d8b-a7ad-53873061d895.html> [December 17, 2017]

Search engines have always been the main source of finding information on the internet, so it’s no surprise their ranking systems have driven the industry to develop websites with two audiences in mind: the end-users and search engine crawlers.

For end-users, web designers formulate content with pertinent information about a company’s products or services to entice visitors to buy, make contact or convert. For the crawlers, web designers labor to insert keyword-phrases at locations they know the crawlers scan, hoping to achieve higher rankings and more traffic.

While this old approach to keyword placement predictably drove the industry to focus on how crawlers interpret websites, the search engines have ironically changed their ranking systems focusing on how end-users experience them. That means this new paradigm will guide development trends to focus on increasing the quality of the end-user experience.

As this formula changes, companies must also change how they manage their websites. Here are my top five tips for 2018.

1. Get mobilized. In 2014, after the number of searches performed on mobile devices exceeded searches on desktop computers. Google publicized that it intended to prioritize mobile-friendly websites in its search results.

Today, mobile searches have escalated to almost 60 percent of the search market. As a result, mobile responsive upgrade is now a standard in website development. It allows the website to resize its dimensions to fit the browser window for any device and give it a more app-like appearance.

If your website has not been upgraded with a mobile-friendly interface, I recommend you change that now to improve your online marketing.

2. Ramp up the speed. With the website industry accommodating more mobile users, page load time has become a major contributing factor to website abandonment.

In fact, an estimated 70 percent of users leave a website if it fails to load within 4 seconds and a 1-second delay in page loading results in an astonishing 7 percent drop of customer conversions. That means website performance has never been more critical to better conversion rates, especially for mobile users.

There are many free tools available to assess website performance with suggestions for improvements, such as Google’s PageSpeed tool. Your ultimate goal should be to decrease the page load time to 1 or 2 seconds.

3. Secure your website. To raise awareness for online security, Google has introduced HTTPS as a factor in ranking algorithms to get more webmasters to purchase SSL certificates.

Until recently, only websites that processed credit cards or other private data were required to be encrypted with SSL certificates. However, with recent data breaches and malware attacks, security is foremost in everyone’s minds. After Google’s recent updates giving preference to secured websites, having an SSL certificate could be the difference between ranking in the first or second position of search results.

4. Include micro-interactions. Micro-interactions are nothing new on the internet. They have increased in value because they add to the end-user experience by allowing users to interact more with the content.

One of the most common micro-interactions viewed online would be the share button associated with Facebook, which allows users to post information to their news feeds without leaving the page they are viewing. Micro-interactions give websites more personality with a game-like approach by allowing users to interact without refreshing or reloading page content.

5. Overhaul your web apps. With more people browsing on their phones, the installation of phone apps has significantly fallen in the last two years.

Because mobile apps have to be downloaded and installed and take up limited space, users have a tendency to decline installing them. Many e-commerce providers were forced to change their strategy for mobile users.

The result is the rise of a new type of application, the Progressive Web App. Progressive Web Apps are web-based applications that look and behave like phone apps. Often referred to as hybrids between mobile apps and websites, they are entirely web-based and work on any platform or browser with features that deliver app-like functionality.

For companies that have invested in developing web-based software, this is good news. With a few interface upgrades, web developers can rejuvenate old web applications to look and act like the newer mobile apps.

5 tips for a better website in 2018 by Jennifer Jones.  Available from <http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/business-viewpoint-tips-for-a-better-website-in/article_1bb13d08-0846-5d8b-a7ad-53873061d895.html> [December 17, 2017]