What do you look for in a website?
As A Developer (Part 3)
By Warren M. WALKER
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As a developer the examination and exploration of a website if different from the casual visitor and or owner of the website would be.
“Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client” ~ https://www.digicert.com/ssl/
Security and SSL:
Many online services and search engines require or look favorably on websites that have the SSL installed on it.
Don’t be confused or lulled into a sense of safety for SSL only encrypts the data (packages) that travel between the internet browser you using and the website you visiting. It does nothing for the files you download as they can be infected with a virus and the website can still be hacked or corrupted by a hacker.
You as the owner of the website needs to understand that while SSL is required and given free with most website hosting companies it will not protect our website from being hacked and from the online database (i.e. your clients details – if recorded online) from being stolen.
This is something you need to discuss with your developer to ensure they take the needed steps to ensure security.
Load speed and compression:
Along with many other important factors required for a website the speed it loads is a deal breaker. If your website takes too long to load you will lose many customers, especially those on mobile devices. With some many people now using a mobile device and actually walk around with it permanently glued to the hand it is essential your website loads fast.
There are many ways to speed up a website with image a file compression being the number one option. When providing images and graphics to the developer ensure it is resized to the correct size and format with compression.
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The first and best way to get your website found is to ensure a good SEO is built into the way it is designed to ensure optimal search engine ranking. There are various tools and add-ons that can be used to ensure a good SEO.
You as the owner of a website need to provide the copy (text) for the website. You can hire a writer and copy editor to create great content, but remember that you are the best qualified to write it. Remember to include in the copy the “technical terms” as well as the local or logical language of the casual visitor. Make sure the language of the copy is easy to read and educational. Search engines rank such websites higher as it provides their users with greater content.
You also need to ensure all images are properly labelled (ALT + Title fields) and each page ready for sharing on social media.
Call to action (CTA):
When a visitor lands on your website they need to be guided to the action you want them to fulfill. You need to ensure the developer highlights and simplifies the CTA option and removes all other distractions. This CTA is a must for your attention and critical for a website.
All developers have their own ideas of what navigation is and how to create one for you. Your visitors may not agree with your developer which is not good news for you. Spend some time looking at your competitors website navigation’s and notice how they navigate their visitors around their website. While you don’t want to make a copy of their navigation due to loosing your own uniqueness, you also don’t want to have less navigation.
While websites have less options than a computer program (F keys, menu keys, shortcut keys and mouse clicks) they still have other options, like text links, images, combo boxes and buttons. Ensure your developer builds something that matches your needs and the needs of your brand.
Many websites have a section or need for downloadable files. These files could be PDFs, Excel or Word documents as well as CAD or other drawing formats. These files need to be as compact and small as possible. If there is no way to make the file smaller you will need to let the visitor know the file they are about to download is of a large size.
Lets say you want your customers to download a menu for them to place a take-away order. You get your graphic designer to create the artwork for it and gets saved as a PDF. It would be great to have high quality images for the customers to be impressed by your high standard but not to great to expect your visitor to download a 30 meg file.
You will need to have a good communication schedule between yourself and your developer for there are many developers that won’t give it a second thought and just upload the file. Developers are usually only interested in getting done and don’t want any delays. Waiting for a new menu file from a graphic designer is to much of a delay.
In many countries it is law for a website to have a disclaimer attached to a website doing the legal side of the website. It is also important for you the brand owner to develop a disclaimer to relieve yourself of burden, just in case.
If you need Ts and Cs and or a cancellation policy information you could decide to put them both on the same page or on their own pages, depending on the amount of information you have.
To sum it all up:
While the developer will build the website of your imagination it’s important to direct them all the way, reverting back to the requirements you need for your brand and to stay fresh.