When it comes to owning and operating a website, things are far more complicated than simply staking out a piece of digital real estate and writing your name on it. A website is an extension of your business. Similar to a real-world location, your website is an opportunity to make a good impression on returning and potential clients. It is where people will go if they have questions about your business. And, often, your website is going to help potential customers determine whether your product or service is right for them.
The following will explore a few basic steps you need to take if you want to ensure that your website is reliable, secure, and serving your business to the best of its ability. Of course, every industry is slightly different, meaning your needs and the expectations of your customers will vary. Use this list as a jumping-off point, but feel free to incorporate additional elements that suit your particular work.
Think About Website Speed
There’s a lot of talk today about people’s decreasing attention spans. Once upon a time, people would sit happily for several seconds as they waited for a webpage to load. Now, internet speeds are faster, and people are used to not having to wait. Website loading speed, it turns out, is one of the fastest ways to impact your business’s bottom line. If a page is loading slowly, people will give up and turn to another website resulting in lost traffic and money. Figure out your website’s load time and take any necessary steps to optimize your website for speed. It is crucial you also look at the mobile loading speed of your site (as more than half of internet searches occur on mobile devices.
Focus On Website Security
Did you know that more than 30,000 websites are hacked every day? Did you know that 43% of cybercrimes are committed against small businesses? In 2019, it was estimated that half of the companies in the world experienced a cyber attack. If you are collecting or storing data for any reason that belongs to anyone (you, your business, your employees, or your customers), it is your responsibility to do everything you can to keep that data safe.
Keeping all your software updated will assist with security as newer software hasn’t been experimented with by hackers for as long, so there is a lower chance of weak points being known about and exploited. As well, many software updates are released when a software provider has become aware of a weak point in security.
Ensure that your passwords are strong and teach your staff and customers what a good password is as well. You can even set things up so that your staff needs to change their password every day, week, month, or few months.
Be Transparent About Data
With the growth of the data rights movement, many people are paying more attention to what information is being collected about them and why. Be clear about what data you’re collecting from site visitors and where that data goes, who stores it, and what entities have access to it. If you don’t know what your hosting platform or cloud service provider is doing with the data you’re collecting, you need to find out.
Keep It Authentic
Of course, one of the golden rules when it comes to customer-business relations is authenticity. Your website should visually and emotively reflect the character of your business. This means thinking carefully about the words you choose, maybe even hiring a ghostwriter or content writer who can find an excellent writing voice that suits your brand narrative. It means selecting images and videos, and features that accurately represent your work. Remember, everything put up on the internet is permanently existing out in the world. Be cautious about what you choose to post and share, and always return to the question of authenticity when deciding what to put up on your site.
Develop A Protocol For Cyber Attacks
While the security measures mentioned above should greatly reduce the risk of a cyber attack or hacking, the standards for cybersecurity are always shifting as hackers learn new skills and digital services pivot to respond to those developments. Working with your IT team and computing services providers or partners, you should develop a protocol for responding to cyber-attacks. Many cloud computing services have built-in responses to these sorts of situations. In the event of a breach, Microsoft 365 security, for instance, automatically analyzes all the data you have and cross-references things to help get you all the information surrounding the hacker(s) and the data they’ve accessed. This can help you let affected parties know immediately and develop a course of action.
Include All The Basic Information
One area where businesses continually mess up when it comes to their websites is the inclusion of all the relevant information on their web pages. People want to be able to quickly find your opening hours, location, contact information, prices (if these are standardized), and understand what your business does. If you have customer service members of your staff, you can also ask them for the most commonly asked questions they get and include answers to these questions on a FAQ page. Not only will this make your customers’ searches more fruitful, but it might also make the lives of your customer service employees easier. You may even want to include how-to guides or videos for the use of your products or services if this applies to your business.
The above information should help you improve the experience of using your website. It’s important to remember that website standards are constantly evolving (much like everything else on the internet), meaning that you should be doing regular checkups on your site and looking for areas of improvement. Customer expectations when it comes to digital options are always expanding, and this means that a website isn’t a one-and-done project. It is a process whereby your internet presence needs to be continually updated to keep up with the market and the growth of your business.