The Website Maintenance Checklist Every Business Needs (Including Yours!)

Your website is finished – you have the flow, design, and development all done and that’s great! But a complete website doesn’t mean you can stop all your efforts as the hard work doesn’t stop there. In fact, it keeps going. In order to keep your website running both effectively and efficiently, you have to complete a series of tasks on a monthly basis (or bi-weekly if you really feel like kicking your competition to the curb). These routine set of tasks you need to do aren’t actually difficult, but does take some commitment, dedication, and time to make sure they happen. When you have all of these tasks happening cohesively together on a set schedule, you’ve got a killer website that’s going to soar.

1. Optimize Your Content for Search Engine Optimization

I hate to break it to you, but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not a one-time thing. It’s continuously ongoing. If and once you completely stop your SEO efforts, you’ll notice a decrease (most likely a slight one, but a major one if you’re unlucky) in views and visits – which is something you definitely don’t want.

If you want to keep your page ranking at the top of the Google Search, you’re going to have to expend a lot of effort and continuously update your content and keywords to stay up to date with what your potential customers are searching for. Hiring a professional for recurrent SEO maintenance is definitely going to be a little bit pricey, but the results are going to be worth it – especially if your website ranks on the first search results page of Google (or even better, ranks first at the top!) Hands down, the benefits of SEO are going to outweigh the costs of it.

2. Check for Any Broken Links and Pages

One of the worst things that can happen to a potential customer is stumbling upon a broken link (or even worse, an entire page on your website) and seeing the 404 error. Complete ouch.

Unfortunately, webpages can sometimes crash or link to a no longer active page. When things like these happen, you need to be proactive and make sure you find them before your customers do. We know, we know, clicking on each link is very time-consuming and tedious. But don’t worry, we have a free tool that’s going to simplify your life. By being proactive, you can mitigate the issue and save face from a negative impression of your website. You’re welcome.

3. Check and Optimize Your Loading Speed

It’s a fact, we all know it – people are impatient creatures and aren’t willing to wait for a website to load for more than two seconds (five seconds maximum if you’re lucky). If you have a slow loading webpage, chances are, your visitors are going to click out and go to one of your competitors with faster loading speeds. Even if your business is better suited for them, they won’t even stay to know.

But here’s the good news! You can avert this issue by optimizing your loading speed. Search for any images, documents, hosts, files, or pages that are slowing down your speed and once you’ve found them, make the necessary changes or adjustments to maximize your speed and get your website back to the speed racer that it is. You’ll want the help of a professional with this if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of it.

4. Check Your Security Features

Having a secure website is incredibly important for your business. Not only is having an insecure website bad for your business’ security measures, but it’s also bad for your visitors as they’ll see your website as illegitimate (or even sketchy! 😳) and won’t want to click on it. If that happens, that’s going to be a big ouch for business.

The SSL certificate is literally critical for your business (I can’t stress this enough!) It keeps your website safe from hackers and also tells your visitors that the page is safe and secure. Whenever your website is insecure, it and its data are exposed to hackers and anyone could (literally) destroy it – which you definitely don’t want.

5. Update Your Information

If a potential customer contacts you through email or phone and they find out it’s been redirected to a different address or just bounced back entirely, you might have immediately lost their interest. What are the chances they are going to go through the effort of finding your correct information? Slim to none, so you know you’ve just lost them.

Your business isn’t a constant, so things are bound to change. One of the things you need to do is make sure that you sift and check through your information, content, and data to warrant that everything is up to date. If you’ve moved business addresses, have new hours, or offer new products, make sure that all of these are updated on your website.

If your social media handles have changed, make sure they’re updated too! Maintaining minor things like this are critical to the overall success of your business.

6. Backup Your Website

Backing up your website is a precautionary call that’s going to save the day for you if anything ever happens to your website. Every time you do some major (or even minor, just to be safe) changes with your website, it’s best to back it up so that you have a copy of it.

If anything compromises your website’s security, you can rest assured that you’ll have a backup copy of it so that you won’t have to start a brand new website from scratch. Phew!

While completing all of these tasks on a monthly (or bi-weekly) basis may seem tedious, time-consuming, and tiring, it’s definitely necessary if you want your business to excel. Now all that’s left is to start checking off the boxes as you go every month – you’re on your way to a killer constant website that’s going to knock your competition off the charts!

 

 

Why It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Your DIY Website

Websites: Let the Professionals Handle It

Your website is one of your business’ most important assets. When people don’t know anything about it, they google and look up your website so it needs to seriously pack a punch. Your website is where your potential customers learn more about you, see your products, offerings, hours, and more. Because of how crucial and critical it is, it’s something that needs to be taken seriously and by a professional.

Everything you have and wear – your clothes, shoes, phone, car, bag, wallet, and more – do you design and make them yourselves? No, right? Unless you’re an actual professional yourself in these fields, you wouldn’t trust yourself to make your own things, so why would you trust yourself to make an effective and converting website? Think about it. Your website is way too important to just throw together and do-it-yourself. 😌

What You Are Compromising with Website Builders

Today, there are tons of online platforms that help your business design and create your own website – Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, Blogger, and more. These freemium website builders are great if you want something easy. But here’s the thing, websites shouldn’t be easy. If it’s easy, you’re comprising something for ease and that’s something you probably shouldn’t be compromising.

In fact, you’re compromising a lot.

For starters, most website builders are flash-based which means they’re slow, outdated, insecure, and unsearchable for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is a big part of a successful website as it allows you to appear on Google search results closer to the top and stand out among the competition. How are people going to find your business if they can’t even search it?

Second, most website builders only offer you the option to build 1-pager websites so you can’t have multiple pages like an About, Services, Contact, Blog, Testimonials page, and more. 1-pagers are terrible for SEO and design – who wants to scroll forever and forever to find what they need? No one, that’s for sure.

Third, any built website doesn’t come to be mobile-friendly automatically. So, you need to make sure that your website builder provides you with the option to make it mobile-responsive or work with a developer to make sure it happens. The reality is that the majority of people search and browse on their phones, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve already lost out on these people.

Fourth, these websites can’t be migrated and you don’t technically own them. So, if ever you wanted to move your website somewhere else or on a different server, you wouldn’t be able to – it doesn’t belong to you.

Fifth, there are advertisements everywhere and they don’t allow you to work with analytics or data – especially with platforms like Wix, so you would need to consult with a professional. We always skip the advertisements on YouTube as soon as we can and scroll past them on Facebook and Instagram, so why would your visitors want to stay on your website if they’re seeing your website builder advertisements everywhere? Plus, with a website builder you can’t set up Google Analytics or track anything on your website. What’s the point of having a website if you can’t track it?

These reasons are only the tip of the iceberg of why a website builder is not the best idea – imagine the whole glacier!

DIY Websites: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Most website builders have basic structures that allow you to drag-and-drop features and elements into your design, and that’s great – but it’s a template that literally anyone can copy. This means that your website will be average at best and won’t stand out. If you have the same basic design as everyone else (or worse, a 10-year old kid with an Overwatch blog), your visitors won’t be drawn to your website.

As your website is fundamental, it needs to stand out, represent your brand, and be dealt with on a professional level. Yes, having professional work on your website is going to be more expensive than trusting a website builder, but think about it – it’s going to be worth it and really wow your audience and potential customers.  

Just because you can design and create your own website, doesn’t mean you should. If you’re interested in creating or upgrading your website, contact us for a free consultation at service@evilnut.ca or 604.704.6605.

 

 

How to Design a Homepage that Converts

You Want a Converting Homepage, Huh?

It’s a fact: First impressions matter and make a difference.

Go to an interview dressed in a t-shirt, jeans, and sandals? Don’t be surprised if you don’t land the position. Talk only about yourself on a first date? Don’t be surprised if they don’t call you back. Have a lackluster homepage cluttered with text? Don’t be surprised if your bounce rate is abnormally high.

For practically everything in life, first impressions really matter, and that’s applicable even to your website and homepage. When visitors land on your website, the first thing they’ll see is your homepage – and because of this, your homepage really needs to pack a punch if you want visitors to continue browsing through your entire website. If you can’t make visitors stay for the homepage, you’ve got a problem. So, how do you go about creating and designing the mastermind homepage that converts? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back with exactly how.

1. Simplicity is Vital

For your homepage, simplicity is key. Having too much text, images, and overall clutter are way too distracting for visitors. In fact, all the clutter tends to be overlooked more than anything – which you definitely don’t want!

The most effective home pages have clean, minimalistic, and simple designs. Now, that’s not to say that it should be basic (that’s a no-no too), but it shouldn’t be chaotic for the eye. Your homepage should only have what needs to be there. As for all the content and images you have, it’s fine to include it in your website, but don’t pack it all onto your homepage – spread it around on different tabs.

2. Load Time & High-Quality Images

Have you ever been on Google searching for an image and then found one you like? However, when you clicked it, the image takes forever to load and is just a blurry mess, so you just look for a different one? Yup … I think we’ve all been there. Both the poor quality and load time of the image were deterrents for us to stick with it. If people are this impatient for an image, imagine how impatient they would be for a website. Visitors clicking out on your website are going to soar your bounce rate, which is never good.

Also, while it’s great to have images, make sure you don’t overload your homepage (or any page) with them. For one, they’ll slow down your page’s loading time – and we already know how impatient people are today. People are all about that instant gratification and if your website doesn’t deliver, they’re out. Two, having too many images doesn’t actually help your homepage convert. For this, you need a happy balance of having just the right amount of images, like Goldilocks. 😌

3. Make the Call-to-Action Obvious

Let’s be real: The truth is that most people are lazy and if anything takes more effort than they’re willing to expend, then it’s not going to happen. This is the same with the call-to-action on your homepage. Your call-to-action needs to be clearly visible.  If visitors need to search for your call-to-action, then you might want to consider rethinking where it’s placed.

While a call-to-action is great, make sure you don’t overdo it – one is more than sufficient to be effective. In fact, having too many call-to-action buttons actually works the opposite way you want it to and instead, becomes confusing as visitors won’t know which one to click on.

With your call-to-action, you also need to take into account the wording of it. It’s best to have a call-to-action that is clear, action benefit-oriented, and tells you exactly what happens when you click on it.

4. Mobile-Responsiveness

Today, it’s a given that people are always on their phones – it’s definitely more compact and convenient than bringing a laptop everywhere. In fact, people are on their phones more often than they are on their computers or laptops with 52.2% of website traffic coming from mobile phones in 2018. With just over half of the global traffic on mobile, if you don’t have a mobile responsive website, you’ve gotten yourself in a pickle.

Without a mobile-responsive website, you’ve already lost a huge chunk of visitors who don’t have the patience to continue browsing through your homepage, let alone your website.

So, keep all of these points in mind when you’re designing your homepage if you want to see positive results on your business’ conversion numbers.

Interested in designing your homepage with Evilnut? Contact us at service@evilnut.ca or call us at 604.704.6605.

The 101 on Front-End, Back-End, and Full-Stack Developers

Have you ever been on a website and wondered how does all this happen? How does the click of a button lead to a different web page? How am I able to chat with my friends on a website? How am I able to listen to music and watch videos? All of these features you take for granted are thanks to the work of talentedly skilled people called developers.

For those of us who don’t have much (or any 😅) experience with codes, programming languages, and computers in general, websites seem like an enigma – mysterious, puzzling, and difficult to understand. To be fair, websites are an enigma, even for the most talented developers at times, but that’s part of the fun. 😜

In the world of web developers, there are three different (but intertwined) kinds of roles – front-end, back-end, and full-stack. Firstly, we’ll talk about front-end and back-end, and then finish off with full-stack developers.

Looking at the Bigger Picture of Web Development

Before we dive into the specifics of what each role comprises of, we’re going to look at the bigger picture with a metaphor. Front-end and back-end developers are a tad bit different, but have their own respective similarities. In fact, there are some connected responsibilities between the two.

Let’s visualize it with a simple metaphor. Imagine your head. Yup, you heard that right.

If we’re looking at your head, then your face is the front-end because it’s the part of your head that interacts and communicates with people and the outside world around you. And if your face is the front-end, then your brain is the back-end because that’s where all the information you receive from your surroundings is stored and sent from.

Makes much more sense now, right? You’re welcome. 😉

Front-End Developers

Now, a little bit more into the specifics of what front-end entails. Front-end developers create the code for the things on the website (or application) that you see – hence, why it’s called the client-side of things. You’re referred to as the client and everything that you see and interact with is created by the front-end developers.

These front-end developers are responsible for everything that you see and play with when you’re navigating around the Internet. If you see it, they code it – fonts, colours, banners, dropdown menus, sliders, and more! In fact, they’re the ones who take the design and code it to create a functioning website. Talk about skills!

The key programming languages front-end developers use are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Back-End Developers

Back-end developers are slightly different than front-end developers. Unlike front-end developers, their work is primarily focused on the things that you can’t actually see in the browser, like the database and server – hence, why they’re called the server-side of things. Their responsibilities involve a strong focus on data as they need to be able to work across several databases and servers from different service providers.

While front-end and back-end developers constantly need to be able to work together in a mutually supportive relationship, back-end developers work with front-end developers specifically to make their code work within the website and over all front-end.

The key programming languages back-end developers use are PHP, Ruby, and Python.

Full-Stack Developers

Last, but not least: Full-stack developers. These developers are considered to be a hybrid of the two we talked about earlier and are familiar and work with both the front-end and back-end of a website. Because they need to be acquainted with both ends, they tend to be familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and one or more back-end programming languages.

Full-stack developers are responsible for the entire flow and experience on a website from its design, responsiveness, interactivity, structural composition, loading time, and more. That’s quite a load of work for one developer – and it is. But full-stack developers don’t necessarily work on all the functions and components on their own, they just have the experience and fluidity to be able to so they can get their hands dirty wherever they’re needed. Flexibility is a full-stack developer’s middle name. 😜

Now that you know about the different types of developers, are any of you motivated to become one yourself? 😜