Well, it was a tough winter here in Wisconsin. We got a lot of snow in February and blasts of arctic air. The weather has finally turned and, with that, the feeling of Spring is in the air. This time of renewal tends to make us look at other changes like doing some cleaning. I know my car definitely needs a good cleaning, inside and out. I can't wait for a warm Saturday to get that done.
How about your website? Is it the same as last year? Are you sick of looking at it with the same design?
A website refresh is a little different than a website redesign. We do both and sometimes a complete redesign is needed if it's been a while because there are new web technologies and Google comes out with new ways they want things done. But if you've done a redesign in the last 2 years, then you can probably just get by with a website refresh along with some other changes to keep up with what Google wants now.
A refresh is just changing some of the main images, changing some content, and maybe changing some colors. Other changes might including moving a few things around or adding more calls to action to get your website visitors to take some kind of action.
Doing a refresh is less expensive than a website redesign. It consists of doing a mockup of the changes you want (and the changes we would suggest), then coding the changes, and applying them to the current, live website. Sometimes we need to set up a staging server but sometimes we don't if the changes aren't too major.
The benefits of a website refresh are:
There are new design trends emerging like Gradient 2.0, which I'm starting to see in more advertising now. We recently applied this design to the header and other elements of our website to help show we're keeping up with trends. Maybe it's time to apply this design trend to your website.
Also, our industry moves really fast. It amazes me sometimes. New libraries for programming and website design come out - along with new frameworks and technologies. The tools we have now are much different than 2 years ago, so any website we set up now can load much faster than before. A fast loading website is a huge ranking factor and needs to be on the top of every website owner's mind.
Speaking of emerging technologies and trends, there are new changes that have come out recently, which we can classify as changes for 2019. It seems every year now, we're bringing new ones up like voice search, schema, forcing SSL, and so on. Years ago, going to responsive design was a big change.
Although AMP (accelerated mobile pages) has been around a few years now, it has finally matured and we're seeing it being used more by Google. That means they're favoring pages delivered via AMP. What AMP does is create a more stripped down version of your home page, which loads quickly on mobile devices. Google will default to measuring your site speed using your AMP version, which is very fast - and this helps your website rank higher because the site load time speed is so fast.
People in an airport or somewhere there's a slow wi-fi connection will enjoy the AMP version of your website because they can get to the information they want very quickly.
We can add AMP to any website with responsive design but the tools we have work best with WordPress websites.
If you want your website ranking higher and providing a better experience for your website visitors, then using AMP is a must.
The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) is the law in the United States. So far, ADA compliance has mainly just applied to physical locations, but in the last year or two, we've seen a growing trend of websites needing to be ADA compliant.
There's quite a bit to website ADA compliance, but the gist of it is that people with disabilities need to be able to use your website. Google isn't demanding it yet (although there's reason to believe they might be favoring websites that are ADA compliant), but we believe that in just a few years, they will come out and demand it - like they have with other things that deal with providing a better user experience. They might even do it this year. So, to get a leg up on your competition, you should make sure your website is ADA compliant.
There is a lot more to it than just installing a WordPress plugin. If you're being pitched a plugin or just a few hours to be ADA compliant, you should take another look at that quote and what ADA compliance really is. To do it well, there is a good amount of work required. Many websites we're building for clients right now are ADA compliant, so at Webstix, we're already including it with every new website project. Clients can choose to have it done or not and many of them are.
Bottom line? It's coming. Again, it might even be this year that Google starts demanding it. Some people that contact us are being sued for not having an ADA compliant website, so there are lawyers out there pursuing it. One client of ours called it "cheap insurance" when we brought it up to them and they had it done, of course.
Doing the design refresh, AMP, and ADA compliance are on the docket for this year. If your website is vital to your business or organization, then it's time to make these changes. As always, keeping up with website software updates is also critical and our Website Care program makes that easy.
How fast your website loads is a huge ranking factor, as I mentioned. Again, we've got new technologies to help make that happen. Chances are, your competition is already working on page load time as well as AMP and ADA compliance. Keeping up with what Google wants does help your website rank higher. Many of our clients ask what they should be doing with their website right now and here it is... all spelled out. We're telling you... do these things.
If you need help with your website, please contact Webstix today!