We’re chuffed to bits with our new website and it’s thanks in part to Jaime Aldaya of Positiv Design. Who’d of thought that that first coming together over a Bratwurst and Radler would blossom into a beautiful 12-year working relationship? We certainly didn’t. Maybe it’s because he’s a dyed-in-the-wool fixer or quite simply, a great bloke but he’s Spring’s go-to for all things web. That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to ask him for his top five tips on making your website better. Well, do you really want to launch a new one? Try these tips first and see how you go.
Before we get started on tips and advice we want to know about you. How has the ‘new normal’ affected your business?
To be honest I’ve been very fortunate and nothing much has changed. Everything I do is online and I mostly work from home so as long as I have decent internet connection, I’m all good. I’ve actually been busier recently with companies wanting to refresh their websites and send out regular email updates, so fingers crossed it’ll be plain sailing until the pubs re-open!
That’s lucky then, so have you missed out on anything as a result of the current situation (apart from a pint down your local)?
I’ve not been able to go snowboarding which I really enjoy, some cross-country races and events have been re-scheduled and I’ve not been camping since last year. Plus, I’ve missed out on a haircut for several months so I’m having to wear a headband! I know, I know, first world problems for sure. I’m certainly not complaining, just looking forward to strapping on my trusty Lib Tech and sliding down a mountain again.
So that’s what drew you to the Outdoor Industry, your personal interest?
Absolutely, it’s so much easier working on projects when you’re interested in the subject matter, and the people are all really friendly and like-minded so that makes it fun too. I’ve worked with all sorts of companies over the years but the Outdoor trade is by far my favourite.
Yes, we agree, we’re good clients! We’re loving our new website – thank you. What if someone didn’t want to go the whole hog though and wanted to improve what they’ve already got? Any tips?
Yes of course! There are a million things you can do to make any website better, but it’s probably easier to give you my top five. Here you go:
1. Check your performance and make friends with Google
Any website’s fate is heavily dependent on how well it plays with Google’s search engine, and there are lots of things it likes so it’s important to make sure Google finds you attractive. A good place to start would be Google Insights or WooRank. These are analysis tools that tell you straight away what’s working and what’s not from a mainly technical point of view. Don’t worry too much about the initial score but do look at the recommendations. You might find some quick wins that’ll boost your site’s performance straight away. If you can make your website load faster people will find it easier to use and Google will give you more love too, which is always a win.
2. Keep it simple
It might sound obvious but usability is a huge factor in getting repeat visitors and climbing the rankings. Simplicity can be quite hard to achieve though when you’ve got a ton of information to get across. A little planning goes a long way, so if you can spare the time to review your site structure and cut out any unnecessary content that should make a big difference. I try to keep content two clicks away or less from any other content where possible. That way users can skip around freely and not get lost. If you have tons of information or a blog, a sidebar can be a good way to make navigation easier.
3. Optimise your images
If there’s one thing most website owners always overlook it’s the size of the images they upload. This can seriously affect a website’s performance and usability (when I say size I’m talking Kilobytes and Megabytes not width and height). You have to keep in mind that many of your visitors will be viewing your website over a slow mobile data connection. While it may load fine on your home PC it might take 10 seconds or more for an image to appear on a 3G connection, and that’s just a pain. You don’t need any fancy software and there are plenty of free websites out there that will allow you to slim your images down to a healthy size without losing quality. If they’re only for viewing on screen I would say 250KB and under is a perfectly good size for most images.
4. Links, links, links!
Whether it’s a social media follow button or a shortcut to more content on another website, try to use links AND get links to your content elsewhere on the web. Google is constantly monitoring comings and goings across the web, if it sees that people are coming to your site from elsewhere it will consider you popular and therefore bump you up the rankings which will make you more popular and so on. If you can’t get your friends to add links for you, try linking to your blog posts from Facebook or Twitter or anywhere that you can add a cheeky backlink.
5. Consider WordPress
Currently more than one third of the worlds’ websites use WordPress. Google even has a dedicated WordPress engineering team to oversee that side of the web! So, if you’re not already, it’s definitely worth considering WordPress as your next platform.
Thanks Jaime! There’s plenty in there for us to be doing going forward too!