Continuing onward with this series, How accessible and secure is your new website? Both areas are important for user experience and site performance. If you didn’t address these necessities during your initial launch, it’s time to take stock and make fixes before problems arise:
1. Strengthen Security
Your web host should have some security measures in place, but you need to establish your own if you want maximum protection from hackers. Start by making sure all passwords are strong and include numbers, letters and at least one symbol. Install and run antivirus, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs, and set up a firewall to keep data safe. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS, which we highly recommend you do, adds another layer of security and may have the additional benefit of boosting your Google search ranking.
2. Update Consistently
Outdated software, including CMS platforms and plugins, can have vulnerabilities and leave your site open to attack. Run regular updates of all the key programs on your site, and check with your host to make sure any core components to which you don’t have access are also being updated. This provides the latest patches and bug fixes to prevent hackers from gaining access to your files and data.
3. Improve Accessibility
Users with limitations or disabilities experience the web differently than others. To make sure everyone can access and interact with your content, use descriptive elements to enhance your site. Add captions to videos and alternate text to images. Consider including recaps or transcripts of video and audio content. Keep mobile and other touch-screen users in mind when designing forms, making it as easy as possible to fill in fields on any kind of device.
4. Put Links in Context
Some users interact with websites using screen readers, and these programs read links out loud when prompted. However, if a link simply says “click here” or “check this out,” it’s hard for a visitor to know if it will bring them to the page they want. Use descriptive anchor text so that links are relevant to the content to which they lead.
5. Know Your Ultimate Goals
Whether you wanted to write a blog, promote your business or sell products and services online, you started your site with one major goal in mind. Getting there requires hitting smaller milestones along the way, and now is the time to set a clear course you can follow. Think about how much you want to grow, the number of conversions you’d like to see and how much engagement you want to generate. Build a strategy for marketing, content creation and promotion to get you from one small goal to the next in pursuit of your ultimate larger purpose.
There’s always a lot to consider when running a website, and it’s important to remember you’re never fully done. Continue to monitor traffic, test usability and review your goals to determine where improvements are needed. SunAnt can help you with web maintenance packages, internet marketing and more. Being proactive on your website in response to ongoing analysis prevents problems with the user experience and helps you establish a strong web presence.