A lot of businesses find themselves in unknown territory at the moment, particularly those businesses who have a physical address where they serve their customers. However, this time can be used wisely to ensure that once restrictions are lifted, your business and website is ready, able and well placed to start engaging with new and existing clients.
A good start is giving your online presence a performance health check to ensure that your website is performing optimally and all of your social media channels are live and ready to engage.
A great first stop over is with the people at GT Metrix. This free to use website performs a full systems, code and file structure check on your website and generates a handy to read report highlighting any issues. The report also comes with recommendations and “Fix it yourself” advice on how to address the issues highlighted. The platform also allows you to set up a free account to bypass the queue and to test your website on different servers and countries.
Some of the info is of a technical nature but the report will give you a score grade based on its findings from “A” TO “F” so even without understanding the technical part, business owners can at least see a score for their site, giving them a good indication that there may be issues present that need to be addressed.
Another great free online tool is offered by the people who also brought you Google! Google Page speed insights generates a report for any website inputted into the query box which shows a page score out of 100 from the active ranking factors Google currently uses. Used in conjunction with the data from GT Metrix, this offers website users a full road map for how to get their website running as fast and as efficiently as possible along with the improved code for addition and improvement of existing code and set up.
With almost 60% of all online search queries now being generated from mobile devices, a fast loading and efficient website is vital for continued online success.
An accessible online sitemap is always a good idea to have available on your website. Generally speaking, Google should index all pages on your website when it is crawled. However, it can end up missing key pages from time to time. A sitemap is formatted and written in XML (Extensible Mark up Language) language and can be tricky to hand code. One missed or extra space in the code has been known to induce significant hair pulling when trying to validate it, believe me!
However, the folks over at XML sitemaps have made the process easy and free. Simply enter your domain name into the generator field and download your completed site map when the procedure is finished.
This can then be added to your website (via FTP or via File Manager in your cPanel account) in the root (HOME) directory and the job is done. You can also tell Google about the new sitemap immediately by logging into your Google Webmaster Tools account and following the instructions. If you do not yet have one of these accounts, get a free one today here.
Identifying broken links on your site may not be on your usual “To Do” list but having a number of these on your website can actually harm your Google rankings. Broken links can also increase your Bounce rate” (the rate at which people land on your website and then “Bounce off” without any interaction or further clicks). To check if you have any broken links on your website, simply visit Broken Link Check and enter your domain name. Results are quick and will let you know about any links that are currently not working for further action.
The most comprehensive free set of online website checker tools we have found is available from the guys over at SEO Site Check Up. Their free SEO Tools section allows a website owner to check a multitude of factors such as GZIP (website page compression code that serves up faster web pages to the user), current meta tag content on your website (One of the most important meta tags from an SEO point of view), Headings tags, and current website link profile (which gives you an idea as to what websites are linking to you).
The tools section also includes a great “Competitor Analysis” tool which compares your site with similar sites and outputs the findings in a handy to read report. This also allows you to see how your competitor’s website is performing when compared to your own. It can also help you to identify and consider any website or online elements for implementation that your competitor is using but that you are currently not.
Business success and longevity has a lot to do with planning. The more information you have to hand when it comes to your website and industry, the easier you will find it is to begin the process of opening your business again. The tools and tips in this article can greatly assist you in this. Keeping on top of your website and online presence will ensure that you are both ahead of the game and well positioned to start welcoming new customers to your store and visitors to your website post Covid-19.