Why Hire a Professional in 2017

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iStock_000003571298LargeWhy Hire a Professional in 2017

We’ve visited this topic on more than one occasion as our website, business, and industry have evolved. Once again we find advancements in web technology bring more options and questions than ever for business owners looking to elevate their online presence. On one hand, services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace attempt to lower the barrier to entry for non web professionals. Conversely, evolutions in the way we search the web and view websites influence how sites are being built, adding more complexity to the web development landscape. Now more than ever, if a website owner ignores standards and best practices, their efforts for getting noticed online could be for naught. Here are some of the more critical reasons for hiring a web professional to build your site.

Expectations vs. Reality with Site Builders

In fairness to the web building services mentioned before, you can use them to rapidly deploy a web presence. You can also take advantage of their features to build a high end user experience. You just can’t do both at the same time. Many web builder demos will showcase beautiful visuals and compelling interactive elements, but don’t indicate the amount of customization and experience necessary to achieve those results. If you’re busy running your own business, and try to build a site yourself, you’ll likely find yourself settling for theme defaults and minimal customization.

Services like Squarespace and WordPress can be beneficial if you intend to maintain your site after it’s up and running. Hiring a professional web developer first, to build and deploy your web presence within that framework, will ensure a more satisfying result in a shorter time.

business man in blue suit working on pda or smartphone

business man in blue suit working on pda or smartphone

Mobile Friendliness is No Longer Important. It’s Mandatory.

A couple of years ago, the web was besieged with the phenomenon labelled “Mobilegeddon”. Less scrupulous web professionals led a campaign of fear, claiming that hard earned search engine rankings would be decimated if sites weren’t rebuilt to be mobile-friendly. In truth, there was no consequence to having a site that didn’t perform well on mobile, but there was a slight ranking boost for sites that were.

Currently, however, we may be in the throes of “Mobilegeddon 2.0”. Google is splitting its search indexes into mobile and desktop iterations, with the intention that users will receive search results optimized for their platform of choice. To be found on both indexes, your website must be adaptable to just about any screen setting. Given the percentage of web users who now use search primarily on their mobile device, that is not a market to ignore.

What to Do When Your Site Loads Slowly

Statistics are proving more strongly every day that a slow loading site will discourage users to the point where they navigate away in short order. The wide variety of internet connectivity options and hosting providers makes managing website load times a complex and frustrating experience, and is only emphasized when using potentially bulky web frameworks and content management systems.

There are many options, such as image optimization, page caching, and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that can improve website performance. If you’re inexperienced with such technology, it can be quite time-consuming to manage and provide disappointing results. In the hands of professionals, these solutions can greatly improve your website’s performance, and consequently its traffic.

Website Security as a Best Practice and a Ranking Factor.

iStock_000000195558SmallWebsite Hacking is a constant, serious issues, with even massive companies like Yahoo! And major retailers like Home Depot having their sensitive data compromised. We all know what a secure site looks like by now; an address prefaced with https: instead of http:, and a lock icon showing up in our browser windows. Just a few years ago, only E-commerce providers and financial institutions were considered to be the only kinds of sites that needed SSL, also known as Secure Sockets Layer or Digital Certificates, which indicate all data going to and coming from the site is encrypted in a way that it can’t be stolen. More recently, any site that had users submitting potentially sensitive data (such as email addresses) were securing their sites at least to dissuade users’ fears. Google has been working toward giving a ranking advantage to web addresses starting with https:.

Do you know what level of encryption would be adequate for your site? Do you know how to install a digital certificate? Improper use of SSL will lead to wasted time and money. Web development professionals can guide you through your options, as well as the setup process.

Knowing What’s Important for Search Engine Optimization

Google is constantly rewriting its web search algorithms to find the most relevant websites to suit users’ needs and situations. Practices that used to be crucial for search engine success may not affect your site at all today, while previously insignificant web design elements are now major rank influencers. Are you still using “keyword” meta tags? Do you know the impact of having your business address on your site? Are you optimizing images in ways that help rather than hinder search engine performance? These are just some of the many issues to face when attempting to use the most current SEO best practices.

It’s a web professional’s job to stay in touch with the latest search ranking factors. By hiring the right provider, you can avoid falling behind the curve and letting your search engine positioning slip.

 

With every new advancement in web technology, the likelihood increases that your website is the first impression a potential customer gets of your business. It’s more important than ever – and more challenging than ever – to make that first impression an impactful one. It’s worth entrusting this facet of your business to a professional web developer to avoid missteps and make the most of your online presence, allowing you to focus on other ways to help your business grow.