Why should I care whether my website is healthy and happy?

And what does a healthy and happy website look like anyway?!!

This event was led by Susie Tobias.
Susie is a WordPress trouble-shooter and website untangler.  She started building websites in 2010 and through Wise Genius has been helping small businesses make sense of their websites ever since. Her popular post in our Learning Hub has helped lots of people to learn Everything You Need To Know About Websites.

This is what was covered in this event: 

A website is a living, breathing part of your business and it needs regular TLC to
make sure it is working hard for you.
A healthy and happy website is one that…
1. Serves visitors relevant and engaging information about you and your business.
2. Is easy to navigate and uses clear calls to action.
3. Is digestible across different screen sizes and devices.
4. Everything works – links, buttons, forms, booking functionality – all the things
that make it interactive.
5. Is secure and trustworthy.

What can you do to ensure your website is healthy and happy?

Set a goal for your website

What is the single most important thing you would like visitors to do?
Check that this action is obvious and that your content leads people to take this
And measure the results!

Make moving around easy

When it comes to navigating around your website, don’t make people think!
Less is more! Aim for 5 to 7 options in your main navigation bar. And focus on the most important pages.
Arrange the links from most to least important. And put your contact page last!
Have clear and descriptive labels, using language your users will understand.
If in doubt, keep things simple. About, contact, blog, and services are all obvious. The same goes for call to action.
And please avoid “click here”! It gives zero context to your links.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said the following about links back in 1992…
“Let me urge you… to make sure that the thing-you-click is actually some kind of title for what it is when you click there.”
Think about why you’re including a link, where you’re taking people, and how to describe that to show action and the destination.

Look at your website on a small screen

How does it look? Does the order of the content make sense?
You can also use built-in tools in your browser. Hitting F12 in Chrome, for example brings up the Developer Tools which includes an option to view your site on various devices.
Why is this important? Being able to view a website on a mobile device without having to pinch and zoom to see the content is vital because…
More people view websites on their phone than on a desk or laptop computer.
Poor user experience means potential customers will leave your site and not return.
You won’t appear in search results, as Google indexes mobile friendly sites first

Check a few things regularly

    • Run a broken link check.
      Broken links are links that no longer work. They create 404 “not found” errors and can negatively impact user experience and SEO. You can find them using an online tool – search for “broken link checker”. And be sure to fix them!
    • Test your contact form
      Fill out any forms on your website and make a note of the following…
      Was it easy to fill in?
      Did a message appear telling you what to expect next?
      Has the submitted form triggered a notification to your inbox?
      Can you respond to this or is there information missing?
    • Make contact details clickable
      Want to make it super easy for people to get in touch with you? Make both your email address and telephone number into a link. And therefore clickable!
      This means that someone viewing your website can send you an email or call you with one click.
    • Check how any links open
      There is golden rule when creating links on websites.
      Internal links – those that take people to other pages on your website – should open in the SAME browser tab.
      External links – those that take people off your website – should open in a NEW browser tab.
      The aim is to keep visitors on your site. Anything that takes them off somewhere else should happen somewhere else. Hence opening external links in a NEW tab.
    • HTTP or HTTPS?
      Does your website address start with https:// or http://?
      Ideally, your website URL is prefixed with https://. This stands for HyperText
      Transfer Protocol Secure. These are a set of rules for protecting the transfer of
      data between web browsers and web servers.
      And to use these rules you need an SSL certificate installed on your website. This
      provides a secure connection when users share personal information with you.
      Like filling out a contact form or paying for something you’re selling. Google
      recommends that all websites use an SSL certificate.
      Many website hosting companies offer SSL certificates for free or at a low cost. If
      you don’t have one installed, I recommend contacting your hosts to see what
      options are available.

After the presentation, we had a more in-depth discussion about “click here”.
Using link text that lets people know what will happen when they click makes for a better user experience. For example…
“Book a ticket for our next event” is better than “To book a ticket for our next event, click here”.

If you have any questions about keeping your website healthy and happy, you can contact Susie via her website https://www.wisegenius.co.uk or at hello@wisegenius.co.uk. For anyone using WordPress, Susie sends out email alerts whenever the core software updates. Sign-up for these alerts at https://www.wisegenius.co.uk/wordpress-updates.