This article is a summary from a larger article I was working on for my marketing company, I hope you’ll find it beneficial. I think most people would agree, having a website that puts your company’s best foot forward is important. Many will make judgments about your business based on how your website looks. A professional look that has a great user experience (UX) is critical, as most of the other digital marketing strategies connect back to your website.
That being said, you’ll want to make sure your website is not just a pretty face. Like this picture, I’m referring to a website that looks great and functions properly but lacks the necessary underlying elements to make it a truly great digital marketing asset. In this article, I will discuss three behind-the-scenes elements you need to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from your website.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – While most of us have heard this term or have seen the acronym, do you truly understand what it is? From the front side of the website, you really don’t see SEO, but it impacts where your company will show up in search results for relevant inquiries. Proper SEO on the backside of your website consists of things like page / image titles, meta descriptions, tags, image alt tags, proper site structure, etc.
While this article is too brief to get into all of these things individually, it’s important that you understand that they should be there. If not, your site may look great on the outside and not be performing as well as it could be with proper SEO.
2. Security / SSL Certificate – Google has begun placing a high degree of importance on your website by integrating an SSL Certificate for security reasons. You can tell if your website has this if it shows “HTTPS” in the url instead of “HTTP”. Not having this can negatively impact your search engine results. The following quote is directly from Google’s Webmaster Blog, “Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
This is again something that will not show up on your website other than the added “s” in the url, but can have a big impact on how well your website performs. If you do not have an SSL Certificate, any reputable web development company should be able to assist you in obtaining one and integrating it into your website.
3. Website Speed – This is something you would be able to detect on the front side of the website, but many people might discount a slow upload to their internet connection or other aspects. However, it is important that your website loads quickly, and not just for the obvious user experience reasons. Google has also been using site speed as an aspect of the search engine algorithms for both desktop and mobile. If your website is slow, it simply will not perform as well in search results. As Google shared in their Webmaster Blog, “People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”
Doing things on the backend of your website can have a large impact on how quick your website loads. Everything from image and file sizes, to the way the website is constructed can impact speed. In addition, the website hosting package you’re using can impact speed. If you’re hosting your website on the cheapest package offered by a variety of the big-name hosting companies, chances are your site speed is suffering as a result.
I hope this article helps you understand that your website needs to be more than just a pretty face. While looks, design and user experience are very important, it is often the backend elements that truly make a website perform for a business.