Have you ever thought about working out your website?
For many of us, once we get our website up, we don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Just like our bodies, however, our websites can droop and lose their shape quickly.
The following are 5 “core strengthening” exercises for you to do with your website, which is the foundation and hub of your marketing communications efforts.
We often see websites that are missing some of the basics that make them strong and viable. Some of these “exercises” only need to be done once, but some must have regular repetitions.
So, take a deep breath and let’s get going….
1. Responsive websites are a must!
Mobile usage is the norm, and your visitors expect you to provide them with a solid user experience, but they will only get that great mobile experience with a responsive website.
From a core strengthening standpoint, responsive websites are preferred for SEO. So, if you want to have a strong presence on Google and other search engines, your website needs to be responsive, fast, and mobile-friendly.
This is a one-time exercise, and one that is absolutely vital to your website and your DMO or tourism partner organization’s online health.
Here is an example of how a mobile-responsive website and a non-responsive website look on a mobile device:
No one wants to have to “pinch and zoom.”
2. Map where you are located
How many times have you followed a link, looked at a business, location, scenic byway, etc. and wondered where to find it? Sometimes you have no clue as to even which state or province the place is located!
If you don’t provide ALL of the important information in an easy-to-read spot on your website (as well as on all of your social media sites), you stand to lose that potential visitor. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at a website and saying to yourself, “But where exactly is this?”
Make sure you have filled out your Google My Business profile completely, and then incorporate Google Maps on your website so people can see at a glance exactly where you are. You only have to do this once to help make your core, your website, stronger.
Here is a map from the Lake Arrowhead Village, California website that clearly shows where the town is located:
3. Install Google Analytics
Do you want to know who your visitors are, where they come from, how they found you, and what they want from your site?
Of course you do, and Google Analytics is the free, “Gold Standard” tool you use to get that information.
Google Analytics can tell you a user’s geographical location, demographic info, how long they stay on your site, what pages they visit most, which browser they used, time of day most people visit your site, and much, much more.
We wrote a post about getting started with Google Analytics, which you can find here.
This is another exercise you only have to do once! (Installation, that is. You still need to regularly check the data.)
Here is a screenshot of a Google Analytics home page:
4. Strong ALT Attributes equal a strong core
OK, we’ll be honest. If you have not done this, it will be a chore to get it done, but it really does need to be done on each and every image on your website.
This is one exercise that is ongoing…. never put up an image without ALT Tags or Title Tags! These tags are important for a couple of reasons.
First of all, they provide great SEO value. The tags help search engines understand what the photo is about, and how it relates to your website. When you hover over an image, generally the title tag wording appears.
The above image shows exactly what a bad title tag looks like. Never, and we mean never, let your camera choose your title tag. You have got to name the photo with a name specific to what is in the photo and what is on that particular website page.
Secondly, the ALT tag matters to the screen readers used by visually impaired people (their screen readers tell them what the image is all about.) You can see why it is very important to have the ALT tag filled out with something appropriate.
If you don’t fill out the ALT tag, the title tag is automatically used. If you haven’t filled out the title tag properly, and used whatever title your camera assigned to it, the screen reader and Google bots will dutifully read out the letters and numbers given to the photo, which is of no help whatsoever in explaining photo content.
Here is an example of the ALT attribute we filled out for the photo above:
5. Check those Social Buttons
How many times have you clicked on a website’s social buttons and they show up with an error? So frustrating, right? You’d be amazed at how often we see broken Facebook Page, Twitter, and Instagram buttons on websites.
Links do break from time to time, so check on your social buttons periodically to make sure they are working correctly.
Here’s an example of what we’re talking about:
Take a moment to look at these 5 things on your website, and see if it’s time for you to do a little updating.
Once these core strengthening exercises have been completed, you’ll have a stronger SEO presence and your website will provide your visitors with a solid experience.
When your visitor has a good experience online, you can bet that they will then think about visiting you in real life!
Do you have ideas or questions about working out your website? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
BTW – Are you or your tourism partners looking for continuing education in digital marketing and social media? We offer a continually updated online course in social media and digital marketing for tourism. This course goes hand in hand with our in-person trainings and consulting. Our course is really an ongoing knowledge bank and consulting resource – it includes Q&A with us, continuous course updates, and a private Facebook Group. Our clients never lose course access, either.
By all means, contact us if you’re interested or have questions. Thanks!
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