Every modern entrepreneur worth their salt knows the key to success these days is developing an online presence. Without one, you’ve doomed yourself from the start. Having a small-business website is a requisite to making money in this digital era.
However, entrepreneurs shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the internet is changing and evolving with each passing second. Starting up your website and then leaving it unattended will create major problems for consumers and cost you money because you aren’t taking full advantage of the capabilities that an online presence affords.
Website maintenance is a must. Having an unkempt website will work against you, meaning you must provide constant attention to your site to ensure it doesn’t lag behind modern trends.
To help, Income.com has identified three priority areas of a small-business website that entrepreneurs need to tend to and audit: site speed, working links and images and browser-specific performance.
Speedy sites make for happy customers
Consider these statistics: According to software firm Strangeloop, 57 percent of consumers will abandon a website after waiting for it to load for longer than three seconds. Of those users, 80 percent will not return. Without a fast-loading website, you’re driving customers away, sometimes for good.
Entrepreneurs can use free resources like Pingdom.com and Web Page Latest to run a quick diagnostic on site speed. Pingdom in particular allows for further insight by providing grading on certain factors like avoiding bad requests and minimizing redirects.
To get your site to load faster, try looking some into tips offered by SEOmoz, although they can get a bit deep into the nitty gritty technical language.
Bad links are bad for business
Link-building is an essential function to getting a better SEO ranking. The more you link to reputable sources, the more favorably the likes of Google and Bing will view your website in terms of SEO.
However, just as good links mean good search rankings, bad links can have a negative impact on SEO and customers. Bad links can include anything from a linked blog post that no longer exists to a bad redirection in a link that customers click to buy a product. Either way, you’re not helping yourself by offering a website that’s not up to par with others.
Luckily for entrepreneurs, there are a number of free online tools to use when combing your site for broken links. You can start out by using a site like brokenlinkcheck.com to identify the problem. Once you know what ails your website, you can then reformat the link so it works. If the link turns out to be from a disreputable source, you can go even further and use the Google Link Disavowal tool the company recently introduced to help webmasters.
Cross-browser testing a growing trend
Sure, you’ve got a website, and that may be good enough, but you’ve got to remember not everyone uses the same browser to view your site. While your small-business web page may shine on Chrome, it could fall flat when viewed on Opera.
There’s no shortage of browser currently – Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera and Mozilla, to name a few – and entrepreneurs need to make sure their website performs consistently across all platforms, or you might risk losing customers who use a browser that your site doesn’t perform ideally on.
Determining cross-browser performance can be a tricky thing for entrepreneurs to measure, but using Adobe’s BrowserLab (which you can use for free if you purchase one piece of software from the company) and Cross Browser Testing (which starts at $30 a month) can help you fully understand what improvements you can make to optimize performance across all browsers.
Just like any aspect of entrepreneurship requires commitment and dedication, building your website to fit the needs of customers and search engines will take constant monitoring and improvements. Fast loading times are crucial to attracting users, good SEO rankings depend in part on beneficial links and cross-browser performance has never been more relevant. Use the tools available to you to diagnose the problem, fix it and then profit.