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How to get the most out of your website

Two simple ways to optimise and improve the performance of your website

Setting up your website can be quick and easy to do, but there is more to think about to ensure that it’s easy to find, simple to navigate and accessible to all.

Luckily, by following simple best practice (and with a little help from some expert tools), optimising your site needn’t be a difficult task.

Here are some simple ways to get more from your website.

1. Create your sitemap

Where a search engine like Google chooses to position your website on its search engine results page (SERP) will have a huge impact how many visitors come to your website. Sites on the first SERP receive 71% of all traffic. Understanding how a search engines ranks your website is the first step to knowing how to improve your ranking.

Search engine optimisation (SEO), is essentially about getting to the top of the SERP. There are small changes that can make a real difference to your ranking, such as creating a sitemap for your website.

What is a sitemap?

Well, the clue is in the word ‘map’. For Google to know your website exists, it needs to be indexed. For Google to successfully index your website, it has to go through all of your site’s pages and links. So, a sitemap is basically a map that guides Google around your site, helping it do its job and therefore making it more likely to rank your website higher in search results.

Sitemaps are easy to create:

  • If you’re using Wordpress, Yoast is a free plugin that not only generates sitemaps, but also has other useful SEO tools to help make your site look more attractive to search engines.

  • If you’re using a different Content Management System (CMS), you can also use https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/, which is another great free tool.

  • The final step is to give Google a nudge to let them know you have a sitemap ready – simply go to Google’s Search Console, access ‘Sitemaps’ in the left sidebar, and paste your sitemap in the submit field.

2. Make it accessible to all

With such a diverse mix of people using the internet, and many different devices used to visit sites, it’s important to make your site as accessible as possible. For example, when a visually impaired person visits your website, do they have access to tools such as screen reader or text-to-speech? When someone visits your website from a tablet, do the images still look good, can they read the text?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Simplify your word choices and cut down the length of your sentences, to make your content easier to read

  • Insert ‘alt tags’ into your videos and images so that visually impaired people (or people with slow internet speeds) can read a description of your media.

  • Consider audio options to help those who cannot read, and include subtitles on all your videos for those with auditory challenges.

  • Use responsive design that works across devices. There’s a variety of laptop, phone and tablet types out there, and your content needs to be able to shrink, stretch, and adjust itself to be easily viewed on all of them.

There’s lots to think about when optimising your site. But you’d be surprised just how far you can get with a little research and some basic tools.

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