website best practices

Website Best Practices: 21 Tips You Need To Know

As a small business owner, you know that having a website is critical to your success, and creating a great website isn’t easy – I get it. There’s a lot you need to know – and do. So what follows are 21 best practices you can use to create and maintain a website that gets results. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents
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    First and Foremost

    ① A Clear Purpose & Objective for Your Website

    Start Your Website Project With A Clear Idea Of What You Want It To Do For You
    Start Your Website Project With A Clear Idea Of What You Want It To Do For You

    Why do you have/need a website in the first place? What exactly do you want it to do for you?

    Is it for:

    • Establishing your online brand?
    • Lead Generation?
    • eCommerce (selling your products or services)?
    • Establishing credibility as an expert in your field?
    • Educating prospects?
    • Doing prospecting for you?
    • Acting as a portal or gateway to specific information on other websites?
    • Any combination of the above?

    One key here is that whatever objectives you come up with, they MUST align with your company’s vision and goals. It MUST support where you want your business to go!

    I think you’ll find that when you’re crystal clear on both the purpose and objective of your website AND build or revise it with website best practices, so it has a chance to accomplish them, you’ll give it an honest chance at bringing you the success you want from it!

    I. Graphic Design

    Graphic Design
    Graphic Design – How Your Site Looks Will Attract (or Repel) Visitors

    ② Look the Part – Magnetic Website Design

    Let’s face it. It’s a fact of life that people always judge a book by its cover. However, unfortunately, you only get to make that first impression once!

    For many businesses, your website is the first thing that prospects see. And within the first few seconds, that prospect has already decided whether or not they would ever do business with you.

    Is this unfair? Who’s to say? The bottom line is that we owe it to ourselves and our businesses to put our best face forward. Make that great first impression.

    Having a poorly designed website is like shooting yourself in the foot. Then after the fact, trying to gain that prospect’s confidence and change their first impression of you is a major uphill battle. That’s working harder, not smarter.

    So what exactly is good web design?

    In a nutshell, it’s providing that right look and feel for your website that is visually appealing to your target market. It considers things like choosing the right combination of colors, images, font sizes/shapes, page layout, etc., that draws your prospect in and makes them eager to learn more.

    One other thing to note is that many different components make up a great website; great design is just one of them.

    So what do I recommend?

    Do your homework. Look at websites that use website best practices from all types of businesses, including those who do similar work as you.

    Note what you like/don’t like. What emotions get stirred up as a result of looking at a website? Does it make you happy? Sad? Do you get a good or bad vibe from it? Which ones make you feel compelled to take action or to buy what they’re selling?

    Need Further Assistance Pinpointing A Great Design For Your Site?

    Seek out a professional, regardless of hiring them, and get some ideas and prices. I think that you’ll find that it’s more cost-effective in the short and long term to have a web design professional create or modify the website for you in most cases.

    Now I understand that hiring a professional costs money.

    But, what’s the opportunity cost of potential clients you’ve lost because you made a less than stellar first impression?

    Hmmm – food for thought!

    Bottom line – Make that positive first impression with magnetic website design!

    ③ Choose the Right Colors for Your Website

    According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), there are three major ways that our brain processes information – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Typically people are usually dominant in one area. Approximately 65% of the population are visually oriented, 20% are kinesthetic, and 15% are auditory.

    I won’t go into detail as that’s a whole week’s lesson in and of itself. But, suffice it to say that most people are visual learners. Hence the extreme importance of the colors you choose for your website.

    The colors you choose dictate how you are perceived (and received) by your website visitor.

    Website Colors Choices And Their Perceived Meanings

    As per the late, great Jay Conrad Levinson, bestselling author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books, here are what colors mean to people in terms of their emotions and business:

    • Red suggests aggressiveness, passion, strength, and vitality. It is great for accents and boldness in business, stimulates appetites, and is associated with debt.
    • Pink suggests femininity, innocence, softness, and health. So be sure you’re aware of its feminine implications and associations in business.
    • Orange suggests fun, cheeriness, and warm exuberance. In business, it’s great to highlight information in graphs and charts.
    • Yellow suggests positivity, sunshine, and cowardice. In business, it appeals to intellectuals and is excellent for accenting things. Too much is unnerving.
    • Green suggests tranquility, health, and freshness. Its deep tones convey status and wealth; its pale tones are soothing.
    • Blue suggests authority, dignity, security, and faithfulness. In business, it implies fiscal responsibility and security. Plus, it is universally popular.
    • Purple suggests sophistication, spirituality, expensiveness, royalty, and mystery. In business, it’s suitable for upscale and artistic audiences.
    • Brown suggests utility, earthiness, woodsiness, and subtle richness. In business, it signifies less essential items in documents.
    • White suggests purity, truthfulness, and being contemporary and refined. In business, it enlivens dark colors and can be refreshing or sterile.
    • Gray suggests somberness, authority, practicality, and a corporate mentality. In business, it is always suitable for conservative audiences.
    • Black suggests seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness, and being classic. In business, it creates drama and is often a good background color.

    So choose your colors wisely and use them to support the results you want for your website!

    ④ Choose the Right Fonts for Your Website

    While fonts may, on the surface, seem like a rather unnecessary discussion for some, based on my experience, I felt there were a few website best practices worth touching on.

    Where Can You Get The Best Website Fonts?

    Google fonts have changed the game of fonts – period. Of course, some might disagree; however, I recommend choosing from the vast array that Google makes available. Using Google font pairings will ensure that your website will look the same (fonts-wise) for everyone. And did I mention they are free to use?

    How Many Different Fonts Should You Use On Your Website?

    Try not to use more than two font styles on your website – three if you use one in specialty situations around your site (e.g., banner graphics). More than three fonts tend to look clumsy. For example, maybe you use just one serif font, such as Times New Roman, and one sans serif font, such as Arial.

    Unwritten Protocol For Underlining Text on Your Site

    There’s an unwritten Internet law that states only use underlining on text when it is a link to somewhere. Otherwise, you’ll frustrate your visitors by making them think it’s a dead link or that the Internet is slow.

    What Are Safe Font Colors For Your Website?

    Stay away from white text as it may make your website unreadable if your visitors print it out to read it. In my opinion, the best font color choice for your content’s main text is a shade of black and your brand’s core color for headlines.

    What Font Sizes Should You Use On Your Website?

    To make sure all your text is proportionate and easier to read, the font size for your regular text should be around 16px. Make your main headlines larger than that to suit your taste.

    How Do I Make My Website More Pleasant To Read?

    Most readers are what we call “scanners,” so it’s critical to keep their eye interested by varying the font styles, sizes, colors, highlighting, and other attributes such as bold and italics. So mix it up, but don’t go overboard.

    ⑤ Use Relevant, Professional Images

    In my opinion, the old cliché; “pictures speak a thousand words,” holds here.

    Relevant, professional-quality images can do wonders for your website and your overall marketing efforts.

    Let’s break this down a bit.

    What Do I Mean By Relevant Imagery?

    The graphic image must support and add value to your overall message. The imagery must support and enhance your brand. Do not use a graphic just for the sake of using a graphic; it must help you accomplish your goal for the website.

    The graphic must be in good taste; know your target audience and what may or may not offend them.

    Shy away from stock graphics if you can help it; more personal ones tend to work better – so long as they are high quality.

    Some examples of relevant graphics might be:

    • Photos of you and others in your organization – these tend to work great as they personalize the visitor’s experience – make them feel as if they know you personally – remember, the more comfortable a prospect is, the more likely they are to buy.
    • Other examples are photos of your workplace (if appropriate)
    • Photos of satisfied clients
    • Product photos
    • Etc.

    What do I mean by professional-quality imagery?

    Fortunately for us, professional-grade tools such as digital cameras, scanners, and graphic software exist in abundance in the marketplace at relatively low prices. So essentially, even an amateur with a small budget, learning, and some elbow grease can get satisfactory results. However, don’t rule out hiring a professional photographer or graphic artist, as the average eye can quickly pick out quality work. If your graphics look less than stellar, your website visitors’ view of you will suffer.

    So bottom line, the imagery takes up a lot of website real estate, so make sure that if you use them, you use them right, and they generate lots of bang for the buck for you.

    ⑥ Have Easy, Consistent, and Common Navigation

    One of the biggest complaints that website visitors have is that they cannot find what they are looking for on a website. And when they can’t find what they’re looking for immediately, they tend not to stick around or come back, for that matter.

    So as you can see, having easy, consistent, and familiar navigation is pretty critical to the success of your website; Therefore, we dubbed it #6 of website best practices.

    Navigation Menus

    First, let’s talk menus.

    There’s an unwritten Internet law that you should know about that essentially states that a website’s main menu should either be located across the top of the page or down the left-hand side.

    Whichever location you use, it MUST be consistent throughout every page of your website.

    Additionally, use common titles for your menu choices. This way, it makes your site comfortable for your visitors and gives them a clear picture of what lies beyond each menu choice.

    What I mean by that is consider using the title “Services” for the menu choice that links to the Services page of your website or “Products” for the menu choice that links to your Products page.

    Adding A Search Feature For Larger Websites

    For most websites, visitors should not have to click more than three times to find what they are looking for. Additionally, if your site is large with numerous pages, consider providing a “Search” feature.

    A “Search” feature for your website works much like Google or Bing’s Search Engine, allowing your visitors to type in a word or words specifying what they are looking for. Then they can click on the “Search” button and find all matching pages of your website containing that word or words. Just another technique to make finding things on your site easy.

    II. Website Copywriting

    Website Copywriting
    Website Copywriting – Yes, It Does Matter What Your Website Says!

    ⑦ Use Killer Headlines To Draw Visitors In

    When it comes to grabbing your visitor’s attention, nothing is as vital to the success of your website as an intriguing or enticing headline.

    The page’s overall look may get their initial attention; however, the headline gives your visitor a reason to stick around.

    It stops them dead in their tracks and makes them feel that you have the answers they seek or the solution they want.

    Remember, the visitor is thinking about what’s in it for me, and your headline has to tell them just that. And if they dig deeper into your website, they will find what they are looking for.

    How do you write that killer headline?

    The first thing I would suggest is paying attention to what works as you look at all types of marketing materials, from websites to ads. Notice what headlines grab your attention and why.

    Second, learn from the masters – A great book to check out is “The Ultimate Sales Letter” by Dan Kennedy. That book will help you understand the power of the written word and give you some great headline templates and examples to get you going.

    Third, test, test, and test again – this is one of the keys to effective marketing. Try different headlines and note your results – begin to understand which headlines work the best for you.

    And, oh, one last suggestion is don’t forget that the text color you use for your headline and sub-headlines makes a big difference as well—you may want to go back and review my comments on this in Key Concept # 2 of website best practices.

    Headline Tool You Can Use

    Need help putting together a great headline? Try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It’s free to use and awesome!

    ⑧ Use Website Copy That Sells

    OK, now that your website looks great and you’ve grabbed your visitor’s attention with that killer headline, it’s time to address the meat of your website, the website copy.

    One critical fact to get on the table right away is that words sell! Not the pretty graphics. It’s what you say with your words and how you structure them that get the results.

    Eight Points To Consider When Writing Web Copy

    1. First, use a conversational tone in your writing style. Write as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with the reader – it must feel personal as if you are talking directly to them only.
    2. Use smaller words and sentences; This is not the time to impress people with your mastery of the English language.
    3. Focus your web copy on what’s in it for your reader. Then, above and beyond your competition, make the benefits you provide as straightforward as possible.
    4. Use a proven system in your writing. For example, one such system for writing killer sales copy pages goes like this:
      • First, start with a killer headline;
      • Second, expose the pain that your reader is possibly facing;
      • Third, empathize with them and tell them that it’s OK;
      • Fourth, explain how you can help;
      • Fifth, have a clear call to action – tell them exactly what next step you want them to take.
    5-Step Sales Copy Formula
    5-Step Sales Copy Formula
    1. Don’t be afraid to use what we marketers call long-copy; in other words, pages and pages of written words that the user must scroll down to read. In most cases, when done right, long copy sells better than short copy!
    2. Use powerful sub-headlines throughout your copy. Since most people scan before they read, they tend to read the headlines and sub-headlines before deciding whether they will read the entire sales copy.
    3. Again just like headlines, test, test, and test again. The mere swapping in and out of particular words can yield unprecedented changes in your results – you’ll be surprised.
    4. Lastly, considering how critical your words are, consider hiring a professional copywriter, preferably one with a proven track record.

    Remember, words sell!

    III. Website Marketing

    Website Marketing
    Website Marketing

    ⑨ Have a Strong, Consistent Brand

    Just what is a brand anyway?

    In a nutshell, your brand is your identity to the outside world. It tells the world who you are, what you do and how you do it, what you stand for and how you add value.

    As you can see, it’s more than just your company’s name or logo – although those are parts that make up your personal brand as well.

    It’s everything about you that affects how the world perceives you.

    It makes your target audience identify with you and ultimately buy from you because they feel a synergy with you.

    Brands, when implemented correctly, help differentiate you from the competition.

    How To Get Started Creating Your Brand

    So what can you do to get started in creating a robust and consistent online brand?

    The first thing is to be consistent in your messages and actions. Say what you do and do what you say. This consistency leads to integrity and consumer confidence in you.

    Second, look ‘the part.’ Always present the consistent image you want to project; This includes your appearance in the world’s eyes from personal and business perspectives. What do I mean by that?

    For example:

    • the way you and your team dress,
    • the quality of your marketing materials,
    • the paper you use,
    • the colors and shapes of your products,
    • and so on.

    And finally, ensure consistency in the quality of all your product and services. No, your products and services don’t have to be the best; they just have to be consistent. People like and buy consistency!

    One last point, brands are critical for every size of business, whether you are a multi-national billion dollar organization or a one-person home-based business.

    Your brand helps your prospect clearly understand why they should buy from you!

    ⑩ Have a Clear Call to Action

    Just as I spoke about in website best practices, Key Concept #1, you must have a clear purpose and objective for your website. You must also clearly spell out what action you want your prospects to take due to visiting each page of your site.

    So now they’ve stopped by your website. What’s next? What do you want them to do?

    Call you?

    Stop by your office?

    Request a brochure?

    Buy your product right now from your website?

    Give you their contact information so you can market to them in the future?

    Which is it? Figure out precisely what single action you want them to take, and then tell them in your website copy to take that action.

    However, be prepared to give them something in return for promptly taking that action – reward them. Cater to your prospect’s emotions and give them genuine reasons for taking action now. Make those potential buyers feel that they’re getting something for nothing. How? One way might be to provide a fast-action bonus of some sort.

    Please don’t leave it up to your prospect to figure out what to do next; Tell them and then provide a real reason to take that action now!

    ⑪ Make It Easy To Buy

    Fact: People buy with emotion and justify the purchase afterward with logic.

    The key here is to capitalize on that emotion. Simplifying your buying process does just that. It allows your prospects to get what they want, when they want it – period!

    7 Quick Ways To Make It Easy To Buy

    How do you make it easy to buy, you ask? Here are seven quick ways:

    1. Provide a lot of upfront value that builds your prospect’s confidence in you and your offering; educational content such as blog posts and videos
    2. Offer enough information on your website about your products and services so that your prospect can make a decision. Knowing your ideal Client avatar will help you determine how much is enough.
    3. Provide numerous methods for them to pay. For example, allow them to pay by phone, pay online via a secured connection, etc.
    4. Use a reputable shopping cart system that allows your prospect to select and deselect products for purchase easily. Make sure the shopping cart icon is uniformly displayed on all pages and is easy to find.
    5. Offer complementary products during the buying process that may enhance the usability of the product they are buying.
    6. Don’t ask for any unnecessary information – you don’t want to prolong the process any longer than it needs to be or scare them away.
    7. Offer a no-risk, iron-clad, and no questions asked guarantee. If a client is dissatisfied, you are most likely to do whatever it takes to make them happy. So why not tell them that upfront and use it to your advantage by making it a no-brainer to buy from you.

    Bottom line – make it easy to say “Yes” and make them feel that they’d be crazy to do business with anyone else but you!

    ⑫ Have the Means to Capture a Visitor’s Contact Information

    Lead Generation is probably the most overlooked or improperly implemented goldmines of having a website.

    Whether you already have a website or are looking to create one for your business sometime in the future, you should always look for ways to get the most value out of it. So milk your site for everything it’s worth!

    Make it work for you. Do some prospecting for you so that your sales pipeline stays full of prospects interested in what you have to offer.

    So how do you do this, you ask?

    Well, you dangle a carrot in front of your visitors – a carrot in the form of a FREE special report, a FREE checklist, a FREE eBook, FREE tips and tricks, or a FREE whatever.

    The idea here is to give your visitor something of VALUE for FREE in exchange for the right to market to them going forward.

    So if they want your FREE giveaway, they must provide you with their contact information – sounds fair, right?!

    Keep in mind that you should be trying to build or solidify a relationship with your visitors, not sell them, so this free giveaway must be value-driven, not sales-pitch-driven.

    If they’re interested enough to sign up at your website, they may be interested in what you offer at some point.

    ⑬ Take a What’s In It for Me (WIIFM) Approach

    What’s in it for me? This is the mindset of website visitors – period.  And if they can’t clearly and quickly see that, they’re gone! Maybe even for good.

    So the focus of your website, which is crucial, must be all about your visitor. Identify with them. Make them feel that you clearly understand them and their needs. Provide that warm and fuzzy feeling that you can solve their problems and make life wonderful.

    For the most part, website visitors don’t care how great you are. Instead, what they care about is how you can make them great!

    And a fundamental way to approach this is to make your website benefit-driven, not feature-driven. The features of your products or services are not nearly as significant as the benefits that those features provide.

    People buy with emotions, and benefits trigger those emotions!

    For example, people don’t buy a drill just to buy a drill; they buy a drill because they desire the holes it makes (one of the drill’s benefits). Most don’t care if the drill is made out of a space-age alloy material. However, they do care that it is so lightweight that it allows them to easily work for longer durations without their arms and shoulders getting tired. Or that they can drop it off of an 8-foot ladder without worrying about it breaking. Regardless, if these benefits are the direct result of the “space-age alloy material” or the feature as we call it, these trigger points stimulate people to buy and hit clearly on the concept of WIIFM.

    ⑭ Provide Value and Content

    The whole idea behind providing consistent content and value is using it to build a relationship with your visitor – a bond, so to speak.

    And just what do we mean by content and value? In a nutshell, it’s giving your website visitors something they need or want that improves their situation. It could be content in the form of blog posts, video seminars, how-to guides, checklists, tips and tricks, recommendations, links to other complementary and useful websites, etc., etc., etc.

    However, this content must be relevant to your visitor in order to be perceived as providing value.

    For example, this blog post provides content and value to you for FREE! And, if I continue and consistently provide you with content and value, you may consider one day doing business with Online Marketing Muscle. Why? Because as a representative, I’ve earned your trust and confidence.

    Providing sound content and value are also an excellent means of differentiating yourself from the competition. This way when your visitors think of, or have a need for what you provide, you’re the 1st person they think of. And if you’ve provided a tremendous amount of value, your visitor is thinking, “I’d have to be crazy to do business with anyone else but you!”

    Another critical point here is to provide content and value on a consistent basis. This way, you are always top of mind – oh, how soon those visitors forget.

    Also, change it up; put a plan in place to keep your website content fresh. This highly increases the return rate of your visitors and increases the value quotient that they place on you.

    ⑮ Have Compelling Reasons to Visit Often

    How often do you change the content of your website? If I visit your website today, will it look the same as maybe the last time I visited it a year ago?

    You could have the most amazing website but if you never change it up, people won’t come back. Once they’ve been through your site and pulled from it all the value they need, they have no reason to come back. Unless, of course, you change it up often. How often depends on you and your visitors. Obviously, you don’t want to do any more work than you need to. So, testing, monitoring, and analyzing will be your best gauge.

    For your website to truly be effective, it has to compel visitors to come back often; as the key to effective marketing is consistency. And you can, and should, allow yourself to get very creative here. The bottom line is the more they visit, the better the chance of them buying – so get them there often!

    How you ask? Well here’s one BIG way to get you started – simply host a blog on your website and post new relevant content every week.

    Yes, it could be as simple as that!

    Just get those visitors back often, turn them into raving fans and give your website a chance to earn its keep!

    ⑯ The Importance of Social Proof

    Credibility to a business is everything! Given a choice, people won’t do business with people or companies they don’t trust – period!

    One way of quickly building that trust is by proper use of testimonials.

    People instinctively want to be assured they are making the right decision by buying from you or listening to what you have to say.

    And a testimonial from a satisfied customer, the press, an authority figure, a celebrity, or someone whom the visitor may believe, gets right to the heart of the matter.

    How many are appropriate in terms of website best practices on your site? Within reason, it’s the more, the merrier! Strategically sprinkle them throughout your site and if you have a lot of them, say more than 3, consider creating a separate testimonials page to house the remainder.

    Here’s another tip for your consideration.

    Have a system for gathering testimonials that spells out who to ask, when to ask them, what to ask them for, where to use them, etc. Marketing automation software is excellent for this task! Bottom line; don’t be afraid to ask for them. Remember, if you don’t ask, you most likely won’t get – even if your customer is thrilled with you.

    IV. SEO

    Website SEO
    Website SEO

    ⑰ Implement an ‘On-Page’ SEO Strategy

    When I first created this content (over 15 years ago), I wrote about the trend shifting toward more and more people using the Internet as their first means of searching for what they want. How cool is that! I guess I was right!

    So with that in mind, ask yourself, “When someone is looking for the types of products and services I offer, what words would they use when asking for them?”

    For example, if you offered computer consulting in New York, possible keywords or keyword phrases could be “computer consulting” or “computer consulting New York.” So how can you find out what people are searching for?

    Ah, rest assured, there are tools that you can use to identify precisely how many times in the past month people searched for a specific keyword or keyword phrases – for free – how cool is that!

    Now there are too many essentials to mention here; however, three keys to focus on are:

    1. Keyword
    2. SEO Title
    3. META Description

    Each page/post should have all 3 of those tidbits of information uniquely defined and embedded into the code of that page/post.

    Let’s touch on each a bit.

    Keyword

    Each page of your website should focus on its own keyword concept (keyword + keyword synonyms) relevant to that page.

    Those keywords (and keyword synonyms) must be used at least a few times on that web page – enough times so that it’s clear what the page is about – this is called keyword density.

    SEO Title

    An SEO Title is essentially your page’s headline for the search engines. You have approximately 70 characters, give or take a few, to identify and intrigue the search engine’s customers on why they should click on your listing and visit your site.

    META description

    A META description allows you to further entice by allowing you an additional 120 – 158 characters to provide further enticement.

    Again just like keywords and SEO Titles, these are unique to the page. So your “Home” page will have its own META description as will say an “About Us” page.

    Remember, it is critical to know what you want from the search engines; This determines your strategy.

    • Where would your prospects most likely look for you?
    • What would they search for?
    • Would they search for you by name or by the type of product or service you offer?
    • Where do you want to show up when someone searches for your keywords? The first page, second page, does it matter?
    • Are you willing to spend money to drive traffic to your website? If so, exactly how much money per visitor?
    • And the list of questions you need to ask yourself goes on and on.

    Bottom line – my recommendation is to know what you want and bring in an SEO pro to help you achieve it.

    ⑱ Exercise A Proper Link Building Strategy

    Link building is critical to your online marketing success!

    A proper link strategy can both drive qualified visitors to your site and improve your search engine rankings.

    So what is linking, you ask? It’s almost like word-of-mouth advertising. When another site contains a link to your site, it is essentially inviting and enticing their audience to visit you.

    A key thing to know here is that all incoming, as well as outgoing links, should be relevant to your site. So, for example, a CPA’s website having a link to a Bookkeeper’s website is a relevant link as those are complementary services.

    However, it may not make sense for that CPA’s website to link to a scuba diving gear website as those are typically unrelated topics.

    Consider these few additional tips when developing your link strategy:

    • First, clearly define the types of websites you want to link to as well as to link to you.
    • Look who is linking to and from your competition – should you have those links as well
    • Determine how you will approach websites for link swapping.
    • Always look to have popular websites link back to you – this could skyrocket your business.
    • Have all outgoing links on your website open a new web browser window so that visitors don’t leave your website by mistake. The idea here is that you don’t want to direct people away from your website. Instead, you just want to provide your visitors extra value by providing a link to something else that may interest them.

    V. Website Programming

    Website Programming
    Website Programming

    ⑲ Optimize Your Website For Speed

    Although a large percentage of the population uses high-speed Internet connections such as Cable or Fiber Optic, websites have simply gotten fatter and slower. With the increasing popularity of high-quality imagery, website page builders, and numerous cool features (all of which cause website bloating), we need to be conscious and considerate of our website speed.

    Typically visitors will only wait up to 3 seconds for a page to load – if it’s not up in that time, there’s a good chance they’re gone!

    With that in mind, I highly recommend that you test the loading time of every page of your website. There are many free tools out there that you can use to help here – I’ve included one such tool below.

    So what determines how fast your page loads? A lot of different factors.

    • The quality of your web hosting solution;
    • Your page size in Megabytes – non-optimized images are typically the big culprit here;
    • How many times your website has to contact another website to get something it needs (HTTP requests);
    • How well the mélange of software used to create your site play together in the sandbox (WordPress core, theme, plugins, etc.);
    • and much, much more.

    A lot to digest here, I know.

    One you can easily control though are images – they are typically the major culprit anyway – so we’ll focus on that.

    Without getting too technical, here are a few quick rules of thumb:

    • First, eliminate unnecessary imagery, meaning ones that don’t add value to your website.
    • Size the images (dimension-wise) precisely as displayed on your site. This way, your site doesn’t need to take time to adjust them on the fly.
    • Choose the file format of your graphics wisely. JPGs still work and are a good choice for photos. PNGs for pretty much all else. Yes, newer file formats are available; however, they are more complicated to work with and may not be supported by all web browsers.
    • Compress your images. There are tools online to do this – just Google it. However, a good web designer should know how to do that for you.

    Cool Tools You Can Use

    Need help with your website speed? Try the Pingdom Website Speed Test – it’s free to use and awesome!

    Pingdom Website Speed Test

    ⑳ Keep Your Website Safe & Secure

    Yes, there are bad people out there with bad intentions – there, I said it!

    Bottom line – Keep your site secure and your visitors safe. It is your responsibility!

    How?

    Here are some simple suggestions:

    That combination alone will make it difficult for hackers to cause you grief.

    ㉑ Keep Proper Website Backups

    Every small business needs a proper disaster recovery plan that considers its website.

    Why?

    Shit happens – period!

    Now conducting regular backups is not a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for your business; however, at least it can serve as a real good plan for your website.

    You can implement backups in various ways, ranging from free and simple (less protection) to pricey and comprehensive (more protection).

    What I prefer is a solution that backs up my website somewhere other than the web host that houses my website in the first place. This way, if something happens to my web hosting company, my business can still survive by restoring a backup onto another web host.

    Conclusion

    So, this concludes our journey through “Website Best Practices: 21 Tips You Need To Know”. I know we covered a ton of concepts here; however, I sincerely hope that you found the material helpful and will be able to use this knowledge to make your website sizzle!

    Just to summarize where we’ve been, here are the 21 Keys we talked about:

    Key Concept # 1: “A Clear Purpose & Objective For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 2: “Look The Part – Magnetic Website Design”

    Key Concept # 3: “Choose The Right Colors For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 4: “Choose The Right Fonts For Your Website”

    Key Concept # 5: “Use Relevant, Professional Images”

    Key Concept # 6: “Have Easy, Consistent, And Common Navigation”

    Key Concept # 7: “Use Killer Headlines To Draw Your Visitor In”

    Key Concept # 8: “Use Website Copy That Sells”

    Key Concept # 9: “Have A Strong, Consistent Brand”

    Key Concept # 10: “Have A Clear Call To Action”

    Key Concept # 11: “Make It Easy To Buy”

    Key Concept # 12: “Have The Means To Capture A Visitor’s Contact Information”

    Key Concept # 13: “Take A What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) Approach”

    Key Concept # 14: “Provide Value And Content”

    Key Concept # 15: “Have Compelling Reasons To Visit Often”

    Key Concept # 16: “The Importance Of Social Proof”

    Key Concept # 17: “Implement An ‘On-Page’ SEO Strategy”

    Key Concept # 18: “Exercise A Proper Link Building Strategy

    Key Concept # 19: “Optimize Your Website For Speed”

    Key Concept # 20: “Keep Your Website Safe & Secure”

    Key Concept # 21: “Keep Proper Website Backups”

    So once again, remember that these concepts are useless unless you adopt and adapt them to your website.

    Here’s to your success!

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